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Battlefields Council Elections

Candidate Statements

Bill Kowalchyk

My name is Bill Kowalchyk and I am writing to request your support in my candidacy as a Council Voting Representative for Battlefields Council to the Scouts Canada National AGM.

I first joined Scouting as a Cub in 1976 in Burlington, Ontario and remained involved through Venturers, earning my Chief Scout's Award along the way. After a 10-year hiatus, I returned to Scouting as a volunteer in 1996 – returning as a Pack Scouter with the same group I was involved in as a youth. This is now my 25th year as a Scouter and through the years I have worked primarily with Pack and Troop, with a few stops at Colony and Company. While maintaining my involvement at the section level, I also recognize the need for volunteer participation and leadership at the Council and National levels. I have been involved behind the scenes as a Group Commissioner, Deputy Area Commissioner, Area Commissioner, and Deputy Council Commissioner. As a member of Central Escarpment Council, I was a voting representative in 2005 and 2006 and I was most recently a voting representative for Battlefields at the 2017 AGM. I recently completed a term as Deputy National Commissioner for Program Services and am now working with 6th Dundas in Battlefields Council where my youngest children are youth members.

At the National level, I was part of the Program Revitalization team for the Scout Section and was a part of the team which developed the Personal Achievement Badge system. While I am a strong supporter and believer in the Canadian Path program, as a Section Scouter I fully appreciate the challenges Scouters have faced in transitioning to that program.  In my role as Deputy National Commissioner, I was part of a team of volunteers and staff that brought forward the Canadian Path Navigator to help groups with their program transition and was also part of the development and launch of the Woggle e-newsletter to help provide tips and resources to Scouters.

I live in Dundas with my wife and three children and have worked in Quality Engineering in the automotive parts industry for over 25 years. I am very excited to be able to share my love of Scouting with my adult stepdaughter (involved in the program through to Rovers) and two sons (one Cub, one Scout) who are active and enthusiastic members of Scouts Canada.

I believe in strong partnerships between grassroots volunteers and staff support within Scouts Canada.  I feel that with my background and experiences in Scouts Canada at both the Council / National level, and most importantly at the section level, I would be a good representative of the members of the Council and would be honoured to serve as a voting member for Battlefields.

Christopher Cleaver

I have been volunteering in scouting now for three years as a Colony Scouter and love every minute of it. Being able to help the youth grow and guide them is a great experience and brings me back to my youth in scouting.

I believe that being a representative for the Council would give a new fresh look and open mind to the bodies. As a newer member that gets out to Colony, Pack and soon Troop meetings I can offer a wide opinion on several matters relating to all sections.

I am a sales representative for a company called Armagh POS Solutions and have been there for 10 years. Before that I worked at Bell Canada for 6 years where I was a sales representative as well as a Union Stewart and served on the board for Health and Safety.

I believe my life experiences, family, work, and scouting would make me a perfect candidate for the council and I look forward to working with everyone to make scouting even better for the future.

Christopher Richards (Youth)

Hi, my name is Christopher Richards. I have been in Scouts for ten years now and am no stranger to the program and its qualities.  I understand the value of compromise and voting towards a decision as I am the oldest and have many younger siblings, most of them are in younger sections and take pride knowing that they are in a great organization that teaches them life skills that they will need later in life. 

I have received many awards in Scouts for being a voice within my community for helping those in need (i.e. Seeonee, Chief Scout).  I have also been involved in many school activities that gave me a perspective on life and the importance of being involved with my peers and being responsible and respectful for myself to everyone I meet.  Examples of these activities are the Faith in action team, Harvest kitchen, the Eco team and the Social Justice team.  I have been recognized with these outstanding groups by proudly receiving the Catch the Spirit Award and my school's Spirit Award. 

I would love to be back in person sometime soon as when it comes to Scouts. I love adventure and the sense of adrenaline that comes with it.  When it comes to finding your voting representatives, I believe that I am the best for the job and that you should choose me. Together we can make Scouts Canada the best it can be for future youth.

Ethan Coudenys (Youth)

Dear fellow scouters,

My name is Ethan Coudenys, and I am running for Council Youth Voting Representative and Council Voting Member. A little information about me, I have been the Council Youth Commissioner for Battlefields since 2018 and will be leaving the role in November. I have also worked as a Group Support Scouter, Area Youth Commissioner, and as a Group Commissioner over the years. I have served as Council Youth Voting Representative for the past 3 years and have worked hard to represent the volunteers and youth of Battlefields Council to the country.

My number one priority will be to promote youth leadership in the organization, and engagement of youth in the leadership of the organization. As a youth-led organization, I believe that the organization should have strong and vocal youth leaders driving the organization.

Second, I will work to promote the development of program materials and support programs for scouters. These programs will help alleviate stress and anxiety around planning and executing programming at the section level. These resources would include resources around the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Youth Leadership Training, and other program materials.

Finally, I will work with the organization to return sustainably and successfully to scouting after COVID-19. I would do this by ensuring that accountability and openness would be the cornerstone of the reopening plan for scouting here in Battlefields.

I hope that you will support me in running to represent you as Council Voting Representative for the upcoming year. Thank you for your continued support of scouting in your communities.

Russell G. Kelk

I was a Cub, Scout and Rover in the 66th Toronto. In my second year as a Rover the Cub Scouter asked if anyone from the crew would volunteer to help in the Cub Pack. That was the start of my history as a Scouter.

Over my years in Scouting, I have served as a Scouter in all five sections, in the 66th Pack, 74th and 7th Agincourt Scout Troops, Greater Toronto Region, 6th Peterborough “Venturers”, and 1st West Grimsby Scouts and Venturers, 2nd Grimsby Cubs and 1st North Grimsby Cubs and Rovers.  In Toronto my section seldom met indoors. We put the out in Scouting. We travelled by streetcars to get to various parks and buildings like museums etc. When a couple of Scouters visiting from Australia wanted to visit a Cub Pack, our commissioner sent them to us at the 66th Toronto because of the outdoor meetings, hikes and camps we did.

While I was in Peterborough, I was part of the team that introduced a new Scouting section for youth aged 14-16. I helped to develop the program for what came to be known as Venturers. When I moved to Grimsby in 1967, I formed one of the first Venturer companies in Fruitbelt and was asked to help introduce Venturing at training sessions in the former Niagara Region. When our Area Commissioner died suddenly I was asked to take on the role of Area Commissioner for Fruitbelt. Since then, I have also served on Area, Regional Councils and Provincial service teams. Have also been the Group Commissioner for 1st North Grimsby and Area Commissioner, for the former Fruitbelt Area. In that role, I was part of the Niagara Region Council and then Battlefields Scout Council.

When I became a Rover Advisor at the Kings Own Knights Rover Crew, I started to go with them to the events being run by the Niagara Regional Round Table. I went to many Rover Moots and while many advisors played cards, I hung with the Rovers. Not to long after I was asked to become the advisor to the Niagara Region Round Table and shortly after that started to attend meetings in Toronto of the Ontario Round Table. The Rovers of the Province must have liked me as a year later they asked me to become their advisor. Two years later they asked me why we had to meet in Toronto for an hour or so then leave. I replied why do we? They decided to move the meetings around the province so off we went monthly to many locations in Northern and southern Ontario. We were then known as The Ontario Rover Community.

I hold Part 2 Woodbadge in every section of Scouting including Part 2 Canadian Path. Have also taken Working with Groups and other advanced training courses offered by the Ontario Provincial Council... Because of those experiences, I have also been a trainer and course leader on many Wood Badge courses. I am currently a mentor for several Scouters in my own and other Scout Groups who are working on PT 2 Canadian Path.

Aside from Scouting, I have been a member of several church councils and the chair of the former Undermount Region of Hamilton. While in that role the members decided that they wanted to do something together instead of just reporting what they were doing in their own parishes. After discussion we started putting together an environmental program for them to work on. When the Diocese of Niagara heard about it I was asked to be part of a Diocesan committee to work on it and a year later it was offered to the Diocese. The Greening Niagara Award program at Bronze Silver and Gold levels was then offered to parishes in the Diocese. It is still operating and many Parishes are now at the Gold level. Because of this I was asked to be a member of Synod Council and also awarded the Order of Niagara.