From the Canadian Path to the Trans Canada Trail

Scouts Canada’s revitalized program, the Canadian path, has brought a breath of fresh air to our program and how we do Scouting in Canada. One of the Four Elements of the Canadian Path is “Youth-led” and it inspired me to lead my own adventure; an adventure that would challenge me and help me developed important life skills.

The Youth-led adventure I am talking about consists of Quebec’s beautiful scenery, determined Scouting youth and over 1,500 km of trails. The adventure we developed is the Kawaïi Walk project and it will bring together Scouts from both Scouting organizations in Canada, Scouts Canada and l’Association des scouts du Canada. The walk is planned to start this summer on June 26, 2016 and there are already plans for summer 2017. Just like on the Canadian Path, the youth are at the heart of this project because they basically are the essence of the Scouting movement and its purpose.

The first half of the Kawaïi Walk project will cross 75 municipalities on a distance of 1000 km and last 50 days. The Kawaii project also aims to change the idea that some people have of Scouting. I’ve noticed that it may be difficult for some youth to openly talk about their engagement towards Scouting by fear of being judged or laughed at. By showing people what Scouting is all about, and about how amazing it is, I hope that more youth can openly demonstrate their Scouting pride and help grow our movement.

KawaiiThe project and its journey

It was during the summer 2015 that the idea for the project germinated in my mind. At first, I intended to make this a great expedition solo, and walk 1500 km solo in one summer.

During my sailing and canoe camping summer camp, I had the opportunity to talk about this idea with my Scouters and my friends. This is when they told me that they really wanted to help organize everything and transform this event into a Scouts expedition!

Upon my return, I began to contact the Scouts in the near-by towns to offer them to join our project and I also invited my circle of acquaintances and my friends. I started to do some thorough research and connected with some important contacts. By the end of the summer, I had 12 youth and 2 adults volunteers involved in the project and I already had my first meeting scheduled with Richard Senécal, executive director of the Quebec Council of the Trans Canada Trail!

In September, we had our first meetings and we really start planning. We reviewed the project and came to the conclusion that the project had to be completed in two parts. The walking pace of a group, as well as the size of the event no longer allowed us realistically to perform the full distance in one summer only. Moreover, this walk was much more challenging to organize than our regular activities; both in terms of the nature of the tasks and the long period of time needed to complete them. The tasks were divided into several parts: planning (so many people to call: trails Managers, cities, Scout groups), fundraising, equipment, menu, security, medias, etc.

In December, we were in the thick of the action. We held one of our biggest fundraisers: selling pies and meat pies for the holidays. More than 300 were sold, a great success, but a real puzzle for logistic. Despite the progress of the project, some youth began to find that the project seemed far away and were losing interest. The holiday season was a good time to reflect on our commitment and on our expectations for this project.

The month of March was dedicated to food. We bought more than 300 freeze-dried meals for us and for accompanying groups. In addition, we received support from the National Bank One for Youth Regional Committees contest, for which we applied. We also heard back from equipment sponsors such as Merrell and Sail. We largely planned our accommodation for the nights. Spring was at our door and so was the beginning of the walk as well!

We are now in June, and we are about to embark on our journey. We are in the last stretch of our preparation. The group meets often to go on hikes and we train more physically to be in the best shape possible. The adventure is coming soon after nearly a year of preparation! The organization of such a major event has allowed the youth in the group to develop valuable skills that will be useful in so many ways once the adventure is over. We learned a lot already and we will still learn so much throughout our journey and when we review our feat.

Interesting facts:

The Trans Canada Trail will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017, the same year as Canada’s 150th anniversary! Did you know that 80% of Canadians can access the TCT in less than 15 minutes? That’s right!

Interested in joining?

It is not too late to join our group and to take part in the Kawaïi Walk. Visit our website to have a look at the route and join us in the city of your choice to walk a few kilometers with us. For more information, email me at francois.lepine-cossette@scouts.ca. You can also follow us throughout our journey on our Facebook page and our Instagram account.

transcanada-trail-map

Summer 2016 – Scout Walk Route (Marche Kawaii)

June 26: Day 1 New-Brunswick border to Dégelis

June 27: Notre-Dame-Du-Lac

June 28: Saint-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!

June 29: Saint-Honoré

July 2: Arrival in Rivière-du-loup and ferry to St-Siméon

July 3: Saint-Urbain

July 4-12: Charlevoix

July 14: Baie St-Paul

July 15: Petite-Rivière-St-François

July 18: St-Anne de Beaupré

July 19: Ange Gardien

July 20: Québec

July 21: One Day stop

July 22: Ferry to Lévis + St-Rédempteur

July 23: St-Agapit

July 24: Lyster

July 25: Plessisville

July 26: Victoriaville

July 27: Warwick

July 29: Richmond

July 30: Bromptonville

July 31: Sherbrooke

August 1: North Hatley

August 2: Rockforest

August 4: Orford (Cherry River) :

August 6: Eastman

August 7: Waterloo

August 8: Granby

August 9: Farnham

August 10: St-Jean-sur-Richelieu

August 11: Chambly

August 12: St-Hubert

August 13: Parc Jean Drapeau

August 14: Montréal – End 2016

 

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