A recap of the projects and power of Good Turn Week 2017
The first question I am asked in every interview and conversation about Good Turn Week is always “what is a good turn and what does it look like?” To address this query, I find it is easiest to simply point to the projects envisioned and brought to life by the Youth of Scouts Canada during Good Turn Week. Across Canada, from April 29th – May 7th, 2017, these projects not only strived to make the world a better place through small acts of kindness, but creatively and generously made a positive lasting impact on their communities.
Throughout Good Turn Week, Scouting Youth were encouraged to put their heads together and come up with ideas for good turns that would set an example for their communities. The Youth answered this challenge enthusiastically, initiating a range of projects that helped the homeless, the environment, less fortunate youth, and addressed many other issues our society faces.
Since the implementation of the Canadian Path has encouraged Scouters to foster a more youth-led program, many of the Good Turn Week projects were driven by Scouting participants and address what they see as an act of kindness in our modern world. With that in mind, it is awesome to see the generous and compassionate spirits of the Youth reflected in their planning and project choices, some of which were truly remarkable.
One of these fantastic projects was the Scouts’ Knit-a-Thon for those in need, which took place in Mississauga on April 30th. This initiative was created by a 1st Sandalwood Cub Scout who wanted to see her Group knit 100 scarves for people in their community in need of warm winter clothes. This was a unique and exciting project which highlights the growing youth awareness of homelessness and poverty fostered by Good Turn Week’s many events.
Another project that addressed the less fortunate in our communities was the Youth-to-Youth Caring Project, which was constructed by the 215th Strathcona’s Cub pack “A”, and was specifically centred on having the Cubs themselves build care packages to be distributed to less fortunate kids. The Cubs decided which issue they wanted to deal with and child poverty was their number one concern. I had the benefit of working with this Group and I know first hand how enthusiastic the Scouters and Youth were about this project. It was led by the Cubs from beginning to end, and the care packages they constructed will certainly make a difference in the lives of several young people in their city.
Some groups decided to work on helping not just other people, but the four-legged members of their community as well. The 23rd Elsie Roy Scout Group did this by having each section create care packages for their local pet foodbank, Charlie’s Foodbank. Donations included toys, food, and treats for dogs, cats, and other small animals whose humans need a little help to get them the things they need.
Other groups decided to go a different route and look at issues around the environment. One of these events was the Bee Houses for St. Albert. The entire 2nd St. Albert Scout Group implemented this initiative that built bee houses to improve the bee populations in their city and protect their local plant and insect life. It was led by all members of all ages. It was a large project that had all five sections working as a team to design, construct, and place the bee houses around the city.
These are only a few examples of the many Good Turn Week projects that took place across the country. To read about more of these inspiring Good Turn Week events, check out the website at Scouts.ca/goodturnweek, and social media platforms (#goodturnweek).
To really get a grasp on just how amazing the Good Turn Week events were this year, I would recommend that you look at the Scouts Canada Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages to see photographs and commentary on the projects. As Youth work on projects like tree planting and food drives, the smiles on the faces of Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts are bright and contagious.
Many of the good turns you can see include work with Scout Trees, our initiative to raise money and plant trees in deforested areas. The participation through Scout Trees is doubly powerful, as Youth can tackle tree planting and Good Turn Week at once, highlighting both projects in one big good turn towards the environment.
While the local Scout groups worked on individual projects, on a national level Scouts Canada worked tirelessly to promote these projects, emphasizing the fabulous job all the Youth and volunteers have done to make their good turns a success. Youth Spokespeople helped with the promotions by giving interviews and working with programs to advertise the campaign, while creating their own regional good turn week initiatives.
Overall, Scouts Canada has really gone out of their way to make Good Turn Week 2017 something spectacular, spreading awareness on both a local and national stage. Through each act of kindness, the event instilled in Youth the drive to follow in the footsteps of Baden-Powell, who believed that we should all try to make the world a better place, one-step at a time.