When I agreed to go to Belize with the 123rd Ottawa Venturer Company, I did not know what to expect. I agreed to go on the trip as an extra Scouter since I knew the age group and I knew the youth in the group and what to expect from them. It seemed like a great opportunity, and I had always wanted to do a development project with Scouts Canada, so this seemed like the perfect chance. What I didn’t expect was how much this trip would change how I thought about World Scouting and how much growth I would see in the Venturer Scouts themselves.
We went to Belize with two main goals: to run a FOCUS course for the Belizean Scouts’ National Leadership Training, and to help them rebuild the training centre at their National Camp, Camp Oakley.
Our Venturers worked tirelessly to redevelop the FOCUS modules to ensure that they were relevant to the Belizean Scouts and that they were ready to present them. Going into the course there were so many questions surrounding the course. Would it work? Would the sessions go well? How would the Scouts react to the course, especially since many of them were older than their 14-17 year old trainers?
Both the course delivery and the reception were unbelievable. The Belizean Scouts took so much away from the course, and they taught us as well. They welcomed us so warmly to their country, and really reinforced that Scouting truly is a global community.
After the FOCUS course, we got straight to work on rebuilding the Scouts’ training centre. When we got there, the centre was a concrete base with a cinder block frame, and some wooden roof supports. After four days of hard work, long hours and crazy heat, we left them with a building with screened windows, a full roof, and electricity. We painted the building purple (for world Scouting) and yellow (for Cubs, since the building was originally built for use by Cubs). There should be pictures of it in a later blog post, but unfortunately I don’t have any right now!
The most amazing part of the trip was meeting so many new people and immediately having a connection with them. On the first night of the FOCUS course, I was pulled into a series of photos with a girl named Lisa, since she was a Queen’s Scout and I was a Queen’s Venturer. What started as forced smiles for the camera turned into a real friendship, and by the end of the weekend we had traded our awards with each other and realized that despite the difference in country, the Queens Scout and Queens Venturer awards were the same award; just another connection between two people in the same global community.
In the past six months, I went from knowing nothing about Belize Scouting, to being called “a true Belizean” and realizing that I truly am part of a global community. Are you looking for your next great Scouting Adventure? Why not plan your trip of a lifetime and go on an adventure.
Visit Scouts.ca/international-projects to learn about how you can be a part of an International Development Project. You can also view past projects for inspiration!