This message was sent by email on September 22nd, 2020 to all members of the Scouting community, including parents, Scouters, employees and volunteers.
Scouting teaches youth values — trustworthiness, respect, kindness, helpfulness — alongside the importance of empathy, seeking to understand the beliefs and values of others, and inclusion. Over the last few months, we have reflected on how best to ensure that these same values guide our own actions and interactions. To date, as an organization, we have not pursued inclusion with the diligence and passion we should have. A number of you have rightfully shared this sentiment with us; we appreciate the open dialogue, and we agree. We can and must do better.
Now more than ever, we must lead by example when it comes to inclusion and anti-racism. We must demonstrate for our members and our communities what we stand for as well as what we stand against. We must work diligently to ensure that all Canadians, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, feel that they truly belong in Scouting. We must strive for a Scouts Canada that reflects our communities and is actively anti-racist.
For these reasons, the Board of Scouts Canada recently approved the development of a tangible diversity and inclusion strategy. A newly constituted Committee of the Board will champion this important work. A new staff position, reporting directly to the Executive Commissioner and CEO, will be created with clear accountability for driving development and implementation of a holistic approach to inclusion and anti-racism across Canada.
Our initial steps will include a review of all structures, practices, and policies to identify gaps and opportunities for inclusion — this work will involve external experts and partners.
We look forward to engaging you in this important work. We must listen to you and our communities to better understand your lived experience. We encourage you to push us to do better and to help us build a truly inclusive Scouting Community together.
As a movement and community, Scouts stand together against racism.
We were shocked at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and we are moved by the following outcry against systemic oppression. Moved and determined.
Inclusion and acceptance are at the heart of what we do as Scouts. Our movement is built on a strong foundation of fairness, friendship and equality. At this time, we recognize that we must also reflect upon how we live up to those values and strive to do better.
That is why we are moved to action. We recognize that we must not stay silent in the face of systemic racial injustices faced by people of colour in the United States and Canada. We are calling it out by adding our voice to the public support of this vital cause.
That is also why we are determined to do more. Scouts Canada will ensure our programs continue to help young people learn to look out for each other, to discover and celebrate their differences, and to call out racist language and behaviour.
These are difficult times as families are already facing unprecedented disruption. To support our community, we will be sharing content on social media over the next few days with advice and support on discussing racism with young people.
We are a movement that inspires understanding and the power of community and friendship. There is no place for racism in a vibrant, healthy community. Today, we make a commitment not only to be ‘not racist’ but to be actively ‘anti-racist’.