Note: Eric Ennis (Youth) has been acclaimed a Youth Voting Representative
Hello, my name is Andy and I’m a Scouter.
I began as a Cub Scout in 1972 (there was no Beaver Scout programme at the time) and worked my way up to Sixer and earned my five stars (there was no sixth star then either) before moving on to Scouts.
I greatly enjoyed my time in Scouting as a youth but took a break during my high school years as I got involved in other things.
About a month into my first year of University, a friend I’d met, when he learned I’d been a Scout, asked if I’d help him with his Cub Pack which was having some leadership challenges. He assured me it would only be an hour a week, so I readily agreed, and worked with Pack and Troop before helping set up one of the first Beaver Scout Colonies in the District.
Eventually I settled in Bolton, Ontario where I still live, and when my oldest son Matt (he’s a Rover now, a Scouter with Pack and Colony and our past Group Youth Commissioner) started Beavers, I joined 1st Bolton as a Colony Scouter. I’ve since worked with all our sections, was Akela for a few years, then Troop Scouter for eight years, and am presently Group Commissioner.
As a Scouter, since 1982, I’ve had a chance to join many great adventures and grow in my Scouting knowledge and commitment. I’m also a licensed Amateur Radio operator, so I got involved with JOTA (Jamboree on the Air) and JOTI (Jamboree on the Internet) and about six years ago the opportunity arose to take on the role of National JOTA-JOTI Coordinator for Scouts Canada. That has been a great way to get involved in International Scouting and to work with our International Programs team helping to provide great opportunities for our Scouting youth and volunteers around the world.
International Scouting led to other great opportunities, like working as part of the leadership committee for the SCOPE exchange between southern Ontario Scouts and greater Philadelphia area Scouting members from Scouts BSA, and as part of the senior management team of the Scout Brigade of Fort George, where we teach living history to Canadian and US Scouts every September.
Then came the chance to be involved in Jamborees. I took my Troop to CJ’13 in Alberta, and in 2017 had the opportunity to run a programme area at CJ’17 in Nova Scotia as part of the OOS Team. Last summer was simply amazing, as I was part of the programme staff of the World Jamboree in West Virginia.
Those who know me personally know that I love to share the words of our Founder, Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell, when he said “The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others” because I think that sums up Scouting for me. Whether you are a youth participant, a youth volunteer, or an adult volunteer, if you keep that one statement in mind throughout your life, you will come close to living the ideal of Scouting.
With all that has gone on in the past, and especially this year with COVID-19, Scouts Canada is greatly challenged and we still do not know where this path will lead us. For those of us who truly believe that Scouting is a model for how we should live our lives in harmony with the world, nations, nature and each other, this is the time we have to make the most important decisions to keep Scouting alive and vibrant and make it grow.
This year we face new challenges. Virtual Scouting is now a thing, and a year ago nobody would even respond to that phrase, let alone consider how we’d do it. They’d rather “keep the OUT in Scout” –and so would I – but these are unusual times.
We face challenges and change this year in how we do Scouting and how we keep Scouting from being swept aside by all that is happening in our “new normal” post-COVID world. This is the time we need to make big tough decisions, and move forward together. This is the time we need to ensure Scouting is still there tomorrow. The next year will be a challenge, but one we can meet head-on!
Scouting is important. Scouting is relevant. Scouting is vital to your well-being, my well-being, and the well-being of countless generations to come.
I pledge to represent that spirit of Scouting as your voting representative for Central Escarpment Council.