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Scouting Life Blog

3 ways to Support a Better Scouting Program in Canada. Article

June 18, 2024

3 ways to Support a Better Scouting Program in Canada

Scouts Canada has been working hard to uncover wonderful Scouter Solutions to common…

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topsail venturer with displaying food items Article

June 29, 2022

Newfoundland Rovers Help to “Free the Girls”

Shanlee Mitchell and Zoey Healey, Rovers with the 4th Grand Falls Group in Newfoundland and Labrador...

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topsail venturer with displaying food items Article

June 24, 2022

Scouts for Life

Every two seconds In North America, someone needs a blood donation to save their life...

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topsail venturer with displaying food items Article

May 14, 2022

Walking with the World The 25th Anniversary of Jamboree on the Trail

In October 1997, a group of Canadian Scouts went hiking on the Trans Canada Trail...

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topsail venturer with displaying food items Article

April 13, 2022

Topsail Venturers Little Free Pantry Project

If there is a job to be done in their Newfoundland community...

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Max, a senior Scout from 203rd Sherwood Park Scout Group Article

April 1, 2022

Paddles for a Better Community

Max, a senior Scout from 203rd Sherwood Park Scout Group, coupled...

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The 50th Running of the Manitoba Klondike Derby Article

March 22, 2022

The 50th Running of the Manitoba Klondike Derby

In March 1972, the 3rd St. Vital Scouts gathered at Laberrier Park...

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Scouts Step Up for Victims of BC Floods Article

March 2, 2022

Scouts Step Up for Victims of BC Floods

Between November 14 to 16, BC’s south coast saw an atmospheric river that...

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Baden Powell Trail Turns 50 Article

February 25, 2022

Baden Powell Trail Turns 50!

One of Greater Vancouver’s most popular hiking trails celebrated its golden anniversary...

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No Carts left behind Article

January 31, 2022

7 Tricks to Help Beavers Get Dressed for Winter

Lost mitts. Undone jackets. Wet socks. Snow in boots.For the Beaver Colony, these may...

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No Carts left behind Article

January 21, 2022

67th Winnipeg Joins the Bear Clan Patrol

The Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg provides support to citizens in areas...

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Scouting for Life Article

November 23, 2021

Scouting for Life

It’s a typical October day in Vancouver, the heavy rain pooling on the laneway...

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No Carts left behind Article

September 8, 2021

Beaver North Star Award Project: No Cats Left Behind

We’re Keiran and Keagan. We’re eight-years-old twins. We like to catch bugs, ride bikes,...

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2020 Amory Award recipients Article

September 2, 2021

2020 Amory Award recipients Algonquin Provincial Park Adventure

In September 2020, members of the 1st Bolton Venturer...

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70th Group Article

May 29, 2021

Hat’s Off to 70-Year Pin Recipients

You won’t see them hiking steep terrain, soaring down ziplines...

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Brooklyn's Article

May 24, 2021

4th Triwood Venturer Raises Awareness for Type 1 Diabetes Research


Brooklyn Rhead, a 4th Triwood Venturer, is aiming...

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Northern Group Article

May 23, 2021

Northern Group Shines a Light On Community

It’s easy to feel like the bloom on the phrase “everyone is in it...

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60th Winnipeg Article

May 20, 2021

60th Winnipeg’s Yvonne Kyle Scores National Award

The Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers...

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Scouts Canada has been working hard to uncover wonderful Scouter Solutions to common Group & Section challenges by talking to Scouters across the country, learning about their awesome initiatives, and sharing their process for others to learn from through new Scouter Solutions Trail Cards!

We are in the process of scaling up three incredible Scouter Solutions by transplanting them in different regions/provinces and ultimately rolling out the initiatives across Canada for other local Scouting Groups to try as a solution to their own similar challenges. There has been some fantastic results and feedback so far that they are wanting to celebrate and share!

In-Person Scouter Development Days - 27th Guelph Scout Group - Central Escarpment Council The 27th Guelph Scout Group identified that volunteer engagement and morale had gone down significantly in our post-COVID-19 world. They thought about Professional Development Days (Pro-D Days) for teachers, so why not have Scouter Development Days (SDDs)?

Once per season, Section youth programming is put on hold to allow Scouters to spend social time learning new skills together that can be brought back to their Sections with confidence. The SDD activities are intentionally designed to have a fun teambuilding element and to make volunteers feel appreciated and supported while learning together. This great idea has gotten the attention of many Groups across Canada and has already been adopted with successful results in Newfoundland & Labrador Council. The New Brunswick Council is trying a similar initiative with a Professional Development Week scheduled for November 2024.

View the Group Hosted Scouter Development Days Trail Card in Scouts Canada’s Brand Folder, or in the Better Programs group on Scouts Canada’s Network here:

Accelerated Scouter Onboarding - Saskatchewan Council

Saskatchewan Council found that the lengthy Volunteer onboarding (screening/training) process was a barrier to recruitment. They decided to create a streamlined Accelerated Volunteer Onboarding process that has been reduced to only the bare essential safety screening requirements within a 2-week timeframe to be able to participate in person as a Scouter/Volunteer more quickly.

Saskatchewan Council has been refining their process since the start of the year and learning as it continues to add more onboarded Volunteers/Scouters to its roster. This stirred excitement in neighbouring provinces, which were curious to try this pilot idea. Both New Brunswick Council and Greater Toronto Council are currently in the process of trying this initiative (with changes to suit their region) with a small number of pilot Groups in their area! Saskatchewan Council is excited to see this pilot flourish and is happy to share their Scouter Solutions Trail Card with any Council who is experiencing the same challenges and might find the idea helpful!

View the Accelerated Scouter Onboarding Trail Card in Scouts Canada’s Brand Folder, or in the Better Programs group on Scouts Canada’s Network here:

Sensory Box Kits - 23rd Nepean Scout Group - Voyageur Council

Voyageur Council had heard on multiple occasions that Section Volunteers did not feel they had the training or tools available to confidently deliver programming to youth with exceptional needs and behaviour management challenges. Learnings from the opening of a new Section for youth with exceptionalities (Super Kids) and pilot efforts at the 23rd Nepean Scout Group allowed the Voyageur Council team to design sensory boxes, making them available for Groups and Sections to order.

The team sent out invitations to all Groups in the Council to pre-order the Sensory Box kits. These kits were designed to be easy to ship, including a selection of sensory tools and resources, instructions on how to use the items (indoors and outdoors) and information on different exceptional needs they may be supporting. The concept of designing Sensory Box kits that Groups can order is currently in the works of being replicated in Newfoundland & Labrador Council. Other Sensory Boxes have been sent to Groups in Chinook (AB) and Shining Waters (ON) Councils to pilot.

View the Sensory Box Kits Trail Card in Scouts Canada’s Brand Folder, or in the Better Programs group on Scouts Canada’s Network here:





The P.E.C Scout Group is the largest Scout Group in Nova Scotia, serving over 160 youth. For Allan Carrington, Pack Scouter with the Group and the Nova Scotia Council Commissioner, success has meant building a diverse and inclusive Group culture where all members feel welcome and a part of the Group’s community.

“Everyone just wants somewhere to belong,” Allan shares. For him, watching his large Scout Group with matching neckers on a ferry speaks to the importance of this sense of belonging. For Allan, diversity, equity and inclusion are part of a journey that is often marked by pain and length.

“You may get discouraged because the outcome you want to have is not readily seen or readily engaged,” he continues, “Change takes a long time. There is no magic pill, no single document that can elicit change overnight. Words are not enough. We need to hold ourselves accountable for what we do when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion work.”

For that to truly happen, Scouting needs to acknowledge and learn about communities within the local area and ‘walk the walk’. Simple things, like acknowledging the LBGTQ2A+ flag at an enrollment ceremony, can help to create a space where everyone feels safe to be themselves, and that they will be listened to and heard.

For Allan, being welcoming means having an attitude of listening first. Show an interest in building community relationships by spending time at a cultural center or community center; there may be gatherings that welcome members of the public. Talk to the leaders of the community and get to know them. Acknowledge Indigenous Elders and ask permission for yourself to be in their spaces. Respect will create relationships.

Part of respect also means sharing who you are, and that can include sharing your passion for Scouting with your wider community. Sharing your intentions will also make you more trustworthy and demonstrates your desire to learn from others. For example, if you get asked about whether your Scout Group is diverse, be honest and transparent about its demographics. If your Scout Group is not diverse, state that while you are not diverse, Scouting is focusing on having a mindset of respect and inclusivity and that everyone, regardless of who they are, can learn together. By beginning with the benefits your Scout Group has to offer and acknowledging (rather than avoiding) the areas where improvement is needed, you can better show your Group’s openness to making positive changes in collaboration with diverse communities around you.

It is also important to get youth involved in having a say in the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Reconciliation movement. Youth-led inclusion efforts can bring about creative means to overcome barriers towards inclusion. Consider having youth in your Section brainstorm potential issues to social justice problems and then let your Scouter team activate them.

For some, it can be challenging trying to find a way to introduce difficult topics—like social justice issues and Reconciliation—to kids, but Allan reminds us that youth are capable. P.E.C Scouts recently lost a Beaver Scout, Max, to a fatal car accident. The Beavers wanted to have their Scoutree campaign tied to the memorial of Max. By inviting the youth’s input and participation in the conversation around the memory of Max, the Beavers were able to contribute a meaningful suggestion that might not have been thought of otherwise.

Every Scouter meeting should also have a youth member at it. This helps to support youth input in decision making. If it can’t be said in front of the youth, ask yourselves if it needs to be said. Scouts Canada can help with the regrowth after the pandemic and the economic downturn through using its gift, the youth, tomorrow’s generation. If we uplift our youth, and have them actually help lead us and design our way forward,  we can work together to build our country into a better place for all. 

Be openminded to learning and challenging your beliefs. Make sure to do it with a smile. As Scouts we are in tricky place because we are a very masculine organization and as far as we are concerned men are not supposed to show any kind of emotion in that regard. As individuals, however, we are all humans, we all have emotions. Transformational leadership within our organization will require us to demonstrate emotional intelligence. Leaders need to demonstrate compassion, understanding, and self-awareness. For diversity, equity, and inclusion work to occur we need to be in touch with ourselves, our own biases, and prejudices. Why is Scouting masculine? Where do scouting traditions come from, for what purpose, and for who? These questions need to be asked so we can improve our behaviours. We need to recognize that within this effort, White males have an important part to play in diversity, equity, and inclusion.We need to work together and model a mindset of respect, humility, and listening first. We cannot look at a person and decide who that person is. We cannot inherently know if the person is among the LBGTQ2 community, they may identify as White but biologically are Black, or could be a recent refugee to Canada. They could be all three. This is called intersectionality, and this is also called visible and invisible identities. Assumptions will work against you – the best thing to do is to listen first. It is important to acknowledge that sometimes people are covering who they are because they fear losing the connections that they have. Until we all remember to take a step back, listen first, and even seek out our own knowledge and learning — like reading books or listening to podcasts by people from different walks of life — we will not create an environment in which everyone can belong.

Currently, we are in a watershed moment for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. However, we are at risk for losing this trajectory as senior leaders across the country combat the pressures of the pandemic, racial tensions, and the looming economic downturn. Inclusion is a deliberate choice an organization makes to instill a culture that unites people together, regardless of their background. If your Scout Group is ready to become more inclusive challenge yourselves to think about the following actions:

  • Take the time to genuinely recognize the diversity of voices within your Group.
  • Communicate your work on diversity, equity, and inclusion to all stakeholders – volunteers, group sponsors, participants, families, and the larger community.
  • Hold yourselves accountable for your actions. It’s okay to not know, because it starts with listening first. Be who you say you are.
  • Set target goals for social justice-based efforts. Create a call to action for evidence of growth. 

A world in which we all can belong can be achieved if we all work together. Scouting can be the place in which this work can be catalyzed and then it can be integrated into the rest of our communities. The journey will be long. It will be at times painful. Challenge yourself to see the potential in a world where everyone belongs. 

 4th Grand Falls Group

YVONNE KYLE, Scouts Canada Storyteller with assistance from Zoey Healey and Shanlee Mitchell  – June 29, 2022


Shanlee Mitchell and Zoey Healey, Rovers with the 4th Grand Falls Group in Newfoundland and Labrador, don’t do things halfway. If they believe in something, they march forward and give it their full commitment.  They are not simply members of the Grand Falls Rover Crew, they have also both acted as the Group’s Youth Commissioner, been Scouters in other Groups while away from home at school, and volunteered as National Youth Spokespeople. They don’t just attend world and regional Jamborees, they have served as OOS at the last WJ and are currently part of the team working to bring a Canadian contingent to HarlemJam 2023 in the Netherlands.

Both young women are passionate Scouts. They have found a supportive and comfortable home in their Scout Group, are eager to partake of all of the opportunities Scouting gives them and to do their best to express the Scout Law and Motto in all things. When they embarked on a capstone project for their Canadian Rover Award, they attacked it with the same gusto as everything else.

A mutual friend introduced Zoey and Shanlee to Free the Girls. This multinational non-profit organization provides support to women and girls who have been victims of human trafficking. Free the Girls collects new and gently used bras for women in Mozambique, El Salvador and Costa Rico, and then helps women establish small used clothing shops. The revenues allow them to rebuild their lives and the lives of their children in a safe, supported environment. Shanlee and Zoey organized a donation drive to contribute to the project and they mounted an awareness campaign to highlight the issue of trafficked women and girls to their community.

Discovering the magnitude of the problem made a huge impact on these two women. Shanlee has travelled in El Salvador and had no idea of the extent to which sex trafficking was a concern in that country. Closer to home the two Rovers learned that neighbouring Nova Scotia has the highest rates of human trafficking in Canada, a statistic that becomes more real each time Zoey and Shanlee hear an amber alert or read about another young woman disappearing.

The two Rovers put out a request for bra donations through all of their social media channels. This also gave them the opportunity to share information about the scope of human trafficking and its impact on victims.  During the month-long campaign, they collected more than 200 bras, enough to give a hand up to 10-20 women. Donations, usually one or two at a time, came from friends and family, the Scouting community, and strangers. Local shops contributed some of their unsold product and the Status of Women office helped by receiving donations at their office.

Free the Girls’ offices in Canada closed during the pandemic so once they had amassed a collection, Zoey and Shanless had to get it to the agency’s US depot. Their Scouting community again helped out: they were able to use a Scouter’s professional connections to get the box on its way.

As a follow-up project, Zoey and Shanlee organized a toy drive for the local daycare, collecting enough used toys to fill Zoey’s mom’s Kia. By thinking globally and acting locally, they have made a difference to people in their community, province, country, and world.  They have made people aware of an injustice and have taken steps toward correcting it. Well done Rovers! You are awesome examples of what a difference Scouts make. Thank you.

scouts for life participants

LAURA FLETT, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – June 24, 2022


Every two seconds In North America, someone needs a blood donation to save their life, and one in seven hospitalizations require a blood donation. There is no known substitute for human blood to save someone’s life, but despite it taking only ten minutes to give blood, Canadian Blood Services faces shortages in blood donations (

This past summer Elijah Adrian gave blood for the first time. While giving blood he came to recognize that it would take a community to change the shortages. He saw Scouting as a community that could help ensure that everyone has access to blood transfusions when they need them. The idea that giving blood was an incredibly simple process that could save someone’s life encouraged him to reach out to his Council Key 3. With permission and encouragement of his Council, he began to develop a challenge that would encourage the BC Scouting community to give blood. This challenge became the Scout for Life campaign.

The challenge began by setting up a partnership with Canadian Blood Services’ Partners for Life program. The program allows community organizations such as Scouts Canada to initiate programs that encourage their members to donate blood. Elijah challenged the three Councils in BC to make 100 donations of blood in 2021. His promotion  included crests for those that completed the challenge and active advertising on social media and in Council newsletters. In 2021, the challenge brought in 58 donations across British Columbia.  Elijah is already working hard to ensure that 2022 brings in more.

Elijah recognized early on that there were some hurdles for eligible Scouts. Some found it difficult to register on the Canadian Blood Services website. To help he created a video tutorial to walk members through the online registration process. Elijah also recognized that members of the Scouting community were hesitant to donate during the Covid-19 pandemic. He hopes that the Scouting community will be more willing to donate blood as Covid-19 case counts drop and government restrictions ease. Finally, Elijah observed that more rural areas of BC, such as those in Cascadia Council, had difficulties donating blood due to their distance from donation clinics. Despite these difficulties, Elijah is excited to be able to have the opportunity to expand the project to more Councils across Canada in 2022 and to promote the Scouting community by making a difference.

All eligible Scouting members are encouraged to donate blood. To be eligible you must be seventeen or over. Whole blood donations can be donated every 56 days for males and every 84 days for females. Health and other restrictions can be found at:

So, what are you waiting for? Show how much the Scouting community cares about others by wearing your uniform to donate blood!

60th Winnipeg has participating in the Jamboree on the Trail anniversary

YVONNE KYLE, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – May 14, 2022


In October 1997, a group of Canadian Scouts went hiking on the Trans Canada Trail. When they got home, the Troop shared their adventure on the internet. Back in 1997 internet communications were not as instant and pervasive as they are today. Still, other Groups saw the story and a conversation began about a larger hike uniting Scouts not by proximity to each other but by a shared love for being outside and a desire to celebrate Scouting. Like all good ideas, this one spread far further than planners had imagined. On April 25th, 1998, more than 24,000 people in 17 countries walked together in the first Jamboree on the Trail.

The 60th Winnipeg Group was not well-connected to the internet in 1997 but a Scouter in the group saw an article about JOTT in the Leader magazine and primed the Group for participation in the second event in 1999. 60th Winnipeg has participated in all of the 24 annual hike days since. On May 14th 2022, the Group explored the Spirit Sands – sometimes called the Manitoba Desert – to celebrate JOTT’s 25th birthday.

Participation in JOTT does not necessarily require anyone to actually walk. Some 60th Winnipeg events have been by bicycle, often to a nearby nature park where admission is free if you arrive under your own power. They have celebrated JOTT in a canoe with an afternoon paddle down a local waterway. And they have combined JOTT and  Scoutrees , not only joining with their world-wide Scouting family, but also helping to make the planet a little greener at the same time. In parts of the world where there is snow on the ground on the second Saturday in May, Groups might get out their skis for JOTT. Roller blading, kayaking, climbing, and skating are all great ways to celebrate JOTT.

The ‘Jamboree” part of Jamboree on the Trail has always mattered to the 60th and they often share their hike. When the Cubs had a pen-pal relationship with a Group in Sidney Australia, they walked along a Winnipeg creek while their southern friends trekked around Sidney Harbour. A Scouter and her co-worker, both Cub Scouters met for a JOTT hike in a park halfway between their two meeting places. A Scouter’s family reunion coincided with JOTT so they organized a hike, which included the family’s out-of-town Scouting youth and adults, through the Narcisse snake dens, the world’s largest collection of red-sided garter snakes. During Covid, 60th members went walking with their families, keeping themselves connected to others in the Group despite not being able to be together.

In some years the 60th joins local Scout Groups for a community walk. Winnipeg is lucky to have active members of L’Association des Scouts du Canada. English and French-speaking Scouts have connected for many JOTTs. This year 152 youth, Scouters, and family walked together, with Venturer and Rover Scouts travelling about 10 kilometers through the city and other Sections joining them along the way.

Most Scouts will never get the chance to participate in an in-person provincial, national or world Jamboree. But on the second Saturday of May, Jamboree on the Trail gives every Scout in every country the opportunity to connect with the Scouting world in a special way, just by going for a walk.

To get ready for next year’s Jamboree on the Trail – and to get your uber-cool JOTT crest – head to

Rosa Buschau, second from right wearing the navy and green necker.

Rosa Buschau, second from right wearing the navy and green necker.

ROSA BUSCHAU, Guest Storyteller  – April 25, 2022


I had never participated in anything like Scouting in my youth. No Girl Guides, no Brownies and no Scouts.

My husband was a member of the 1st Sun Valley Scouts Group Beaver located in Winnipeg, Manitoba when he was younger. Now our daughter is currently a White Tail Beaver (with the same Group!) and our son will be joining in the next couple of years.

But I joined solely because more volunteers needed to step up or our Beaver Colony would not be able to meet.  

So, I put on that red shirt, and believe me, am I ever glad I did! No regrets! I thoroughly enjoy being a Scouter and helping to shape the youth of today into the great people of tomorrow. I can say firsthand, it's not just the youth who get to have fun, explore and enjoy opportunities; it's for Scouters too! 

As a 3rd year Scouter, I have been given the opportunity to become a part of a team and a family and have made what I know will be lifelong friendships. I have had the opportunity to learn how to plan meetings with large numbers of youth with very different personalities and have found ways to make it work for all involved.

 Recently, my husband and I were travelling to Alberta for a quick vacation and I took the opportunity to reach out to a Scouting Group near where we were staying. A couple days later, I received an email from Scouter Ginger Greenwood of the 253rd South Heritage Scouts Group inviting my husband and I to a linking night with the Beavers and Cubs! We excitedly accepted!

We met with her group in Calgary at the Fish Creek Park where we took a short hike to the Ice Caves nearby.  It was such a great opportunity to join their meeting and to observe and compare how things are done by Groups in two different provinces. My husband and I watched the Beaver Opening Ceremony and took notes for our own Beaver Colony. Then they allowed me to do our Beaver Closing Ceremony, which was also different for them. We also did a Badge Swap, which was awesome!! It felt amazing! It really felt like we were a part of a bigger family. Scouts Canada is Scouts Canada, no matter how far apart!

I have also been given numerous opportunities to learn from the senior Scouters in our Group.  If I ever want to try something new, they are all for it and will help me plan, execute and learn.

For example, I had never camped in the winter before. The first time, myself and a couple of other Scouters went to a senior Scouter's home and camped on his property. He is our quartermaster and has all our Group's supplies and he explained the different types of tents the Group had, and which would be most beneficial. He also gave us some tips on how to stay warm in the freezing temperatures. It was -40C that night and we were very cold but so excited that we were able to do that.

The second time, we told some of the senior Scouters what we wanted to learn, and they brought supplies and taught us lashing and how to build a lean-to. Then those same senior Scouters slept outside with us in the snow (it was only -15C that night).  

More things that I have had the opportunities to learn include snowshoeing, orienteering, building shelters, learning about different fire starters and so much more.  I was able to learn those things because our senior Scouters (we call them our “Elder Scouters” – not because of age but because of experience) gave us opportunities to learn from them.

My best memory so far? I don't think I have one! I have done so much with this Group, the youth and the Scouters that I can't just narrow it down. I enjoy being able to learn new skills myself, teaching the youth new skills and giving the youth the opportunities to grow as individuals and as a team.

Little Free Pantry

Little Free Pantry

Topsail Venturer with a table of food items for the Little Free Pantry Project

YVONNE KYLE, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – April 13, 2022


If there is a job to be done in their Newfoundland community, the Conception Bay South (CBS) Topsail Ventures step up. They make batches of easy-to-freeze cookies and pasta dishes for Choices for Youth and Street Reach, local services for under-housed residents. They help with fund-raisers for Stella’s Circle, a support for new Canadians and young people. They assist with preparing and serving meals, and with clothing and personal hygiene drives for The Gathering Place, a refuge for people with nowhere else to go.  They also participate in neighbourhood cleanups and they work with the younger Sections in their Scout Group.

In 2019, the Topsail Venturers heard about the Little Free Pantry project taking hold in their community. This is a grassroots, “neighbours helping neighbours” initiative. Pantries, essentially big wooden boxes with shelves, are located throughout the community and stocked with food items. Anyone is welcome to help themselves. The pantries are not intended to replace a food bank – CBS has several of these – but rather to provide a quick meal for someone who can’t quite make ends meet.

The Venturers decided to make four new Little Free Pantries, bringing the community total to nine. They approached local businesses and service clubs who contributed money and materials. Youth designed the pantries with help from their Scouters, then learned how to use saws, drills, and sanders properly to build them. Giving consideration to harsh Newfoundland weather, they devised a front door assembly that could withstand strong winds. Coming up with this adaptation proved to be one of their greatest challenges.

The pandemic also resulted in long delays, especially when lockdowns closed their meeting place. Local fish company, Ocean Choice stepped up to provide a safe space to complete construction.

The Venturers installed the finished pantries in well-travelled, highly visible locations around their town. The next step was to fill them. The CBS community has several food drop-off locations and the youth augmented these with food drives especially for the pantries. During Covid lockdowns, they collected from within their family bubbles. They often have a few items in their backpack when they are hiking, biking, or snowshoeing along local trails so they can include pantry-restocking as part of their adventure.

Though most of the contributions to the pantries are non-perishable items, fresh food is also accepted. Valcano Bakery, for example, makes daily donations of bread and pastries to the Little Free Pantry adjacent to their shop. The CBS Cubs and Beavers have a community garden project and the produce they harvest goes into the pantries.

The Little Free Pantry motto is “Take what you need. Leave what you can.” A dedicated Facebook page lets people in town know when a particular cupboard is in need of contributions or when fresh products are available for use. With the Venturers’ ongoing help, the pantries have become self-sustaining; the community takes responsibility for ensuring that there is always something in them to share with those who need it.

Little Free Pantries are special to the Topsail Venturers and they promote and support them as much as possible. The sense of community that has evolved with them is not only rewarding and fulfilling for the youth, it is also a great example of the value of Scouting for all people.


Max showcasing some of his Chief Scout capstone project paddles.

LAURA FLETT, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – April 1, 2022


Max, a senior Scout from 203rd Sherwood Park Scout Group, coupled his passion for painting with his father’s woodworking expertise to make small wooden paddles for his Chief Scout capstone project. These paddles were then turned into paint kits that included paints and a paintbrush. Over the course of three days, Max assembled 120 paddle kits.

Originally, Max’s main objective for these paddle kits was to enable people to paint to improve their mental health during the pandemic. While visiting the local Save-on-Foods to talk about his project idea, he noticed food hampers for sale in partnership with the local food bank. He realized that including paddle kits could encourage incoming donations while supporting the mental health of the donors. Max’s desire to create a difference in the lives of others created a domino effect as his 120 paddles not only improved the mental health of others, but also raised $616 for 123 food hampers for Strathcona Food Bank. As part of Max’s project, he also brought in a family friend who is a mental health advisor to talk to his local Troop about mental health.

Max’s Chief Scout project truly provided hope and support to his community – from full bellies to mental health education and art therapy. Thanks Max and all 2021 top section award recipients for making a difference one good turn (or paddle stroke) at a time!


Cubs preparing to start a small fire

YVONNE KYLE, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – March 22, 2022


In March 1972, the 3rd St. Vital Scouts gathered at Laberrier Park, just south of Winnipeg’s Perimeter Highway, for a day of activities inspired by the Klondike Gold Rush. In March 2022, 40 teams, of over 200 Cubs and Scouts accompanied by dozens of Scouters and volunteers, brought their sleds to Camp Amisk – across the street from LaBerrier Park – for the 50th running of the Manitoba Klondike Derby.

The Klondike Derby concept is simple: youth pull a sled to Dawson City – also known as headquarters – and receive their map. The town “mayor” collects their food bank contributions, confirms that everyone is dressed for the weather and has their team identification and flag displayed, and checks their enthusiasm level.  “Are you READY???” The starting pistol sounds and the team races to their first stop. They return to Dawson City four or five hours later with a sack of gold nuggets earned for achieving goals at the 10 towns on the trail.

Klondike Derby tasks are based, sometimes loosely, on the challenges that faced prospectors seeking riches during the Klondike Gold Rush. “The snow is melting and there is a risk of flooding. Find a way to raise your sled off the ground so it doesn’t get washed away.”  “A member of your team has become lost. Lash together a flag pole to help him find his way back to you.” “Your teammate has fallen and injured her leg. Deal with her injuries and transport her back to camp.” 

Good Scouting skills – the ability to tie knots, read a compass, follow a map and light a fire – contribute to a Klondike Derby team’s success. Some groups build much of their winter Scouting program on improving these skills. Of even greater importance are team work and communication.  When youth encourage each other, work together to solve the challenges, and focus on fun, they finish the course with smiles and a sense of pride in a job well-done.

It is the youths’ smiles that keep the Klondike volunteers returning every year. The mayor and staff at Klondike Derby towns are primarily Venturers and Rovers, the majority of whom ran the course as participants when they were Cubs and Scouts. Almost universally, they report that helping younger youth have the same fun experience they had is what gives them the greatest satisfaction.

One town team did admit that snacks help too. It is not unusual for Klondike teams to offer a “bribe” to the mayor in exchange for favorable scoring. A participating Pathfinder (Girl Guides) team was known for bringing home-baked cookies to each town and anything chocolate is always well-received. While the incentives don’t affect the official scores, they are a big part of the fun and get everyone laughing.  And they let the town volunteers know that the teams appreciate their efforts.

Klondike Derbies are not unique to Manitoba: they occur throughout Canada and the USA. What is probably unique to Manitoba is the March weather. In 50 years, the Klondike Derby has only been cancelled once, by Covid in 2021. Weather has never stopped it, though it has certainly presented enormous challenges. In 1983, 16 teams were unable to finish the course because of rain. Two weeks of unseasonably warm weather in 2000 – it was +17C on Derby day – inspired some teams to add wheels to their sleds. A morning temperature of -39C (not counting wind chill) in 2014 resulted in 29 of 43 teams cancelling. Extra precautions were implemented to keep the survivors safe. Near-record snow fall this year almost brought about the second consecutive cancellation. Hurculean efforts of the Klondike Derby organizers, aided by the loan of some heavy equipment, managed to clear roads and paths to allow the event to continue.

The Manitoba Klondike Derby has evolved over its 50 years. The original six towns became 10. Cubs have been part of the event since 1974 and Girl Guides began participating in 1985. A short-lived event for Venturers lasted from 1975-1981. The derby moved to Seine River Provincial Park in 1974, then moved again in 1998 when a highway expansion closed the park. For a while, Scouts used backpacks to carry their gear instead of a sled. As many as 105 teams have competed in a Klondike Derby, though this year’s 40 team compliment is now average. Rope bridge, tire swing and fire lighting towns are part of nearly all courses and youth frequently identify one of these three as their favorite town – along with the lunch stop.  All other activities change each year to keep the event fresh.

Teams all over Manitoba travel to Winnipeg for the Klondike Derby, some from as far as 800 km away.  In 2020, the Klondike Derby was, for many groups, the last thing they did together before the world shut down. The camaraderie and team spirit that carried them through the Klondike Derby also carried them through months of lock-down and uncertainty. When they were finally allowed to be together again, they continued where they left off – friends sharing a common purpose.

Thank you to the amazing team who work so hard to make the Manitoba Klondike Derby happen. It is an incredible event that brings incredible results.

BC floods

KATE MACDONELL, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – March 2, 2022


Between November 14 to 16, BC's south coast saw an atmospheric river that released up to 300 mm of rainfall across the region. This record-setting volume of rain caused deadly mudslides and rockslides and swelled river flows to levels that broke highways, collapsed bridges and undermined critical rail lines. The resulting floods in the Fraser Valley had a particularly severe impact on Abbotsford, home to the rich agricultural zone known as Sumas Prairie, where approximately 1,100 homes and many thousands of livestock had to be evacuated.

In the wake of the devastation and turmoil of the flooding, Scouts and Scouters did what they so often do — they stepped up to help those in need.

1st Cloverdale Group meets in neighbouring Surrey. “We were watching the news and could see what was happening,” says Group Commissioner Cheryl Miller. “So, our Scouters got together with the youth and tried to figure out how to help.” On December 1, a dozen Scouts and Scouters headed to Langley Township Operations Centre. They spent hours filling more than one hundred sandbags made available to local residents hoping to hold back further floodwaters.

The devastating impacts of the floods were not lost on anyone within the region, even as far away as Dunbar, a neighbourhood on the western edge of Vancouver. “We saw the floods happening and decided to get the youth involved in helping,” says Jim Leung, Group Commissioner of 34th St. George’s Scout Group. The Group got thirty young Beavers and Cubs busy making crafts, which the youth completed over the course of several meetings. Together with homemade jam, cookies and items contributed by parents, these were sold at a table outside Stong’s Market on December 12. The sale raised an astonishing $2,199 for the Abbotsford Food Bank.

While neither Group had members whose homes or families were directly impacted by the flooding, they were among a number of Groups who decided to give back to the community in its time of need. “It’s just part of our motto,” says Miller. Whether it’s shovelling snow for elderly neighbours or packing hampers for the Christmas Bureau, the youth of 1st Cloverdale are expected to serve their communities, as are those in Scout Groups across the country. “Whenever there are opportunities, we try to brainstorm about how we can help.”

Baden Powell Trail Turns 50!

KATE MACDONELL, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – February 25, 2022


Baden Powell Trail

Baden Powell Trail

One of Greater Vancouver’s most popular hiking trails celebrated its golden anniversary on Saturday, October 2, 2021. A common feature on ‘Top 10’ lists of local hikes, the stunningly picturesque trail that extends from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver across thousands of meters of elevation to Deep Cove, approximately 44 kms distance away. Just like the trail’s inaugural launch in 1971, the ceremony was attended by local mayors and notables. Taking place on a shaded path near the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre (another Centennial project) and held at exactly the same time and day as the original launch, the event was organized by Pacific Coast Council Commissioner, Cathy Hauen, and Ralph Rinke, a Scouter with the 18th Seymour.

The idea for a community trail across the North Shores was conceived in the late 1960s, as BC approached the centenary of its admission to Confederation. The ambitious pathway, which crosses multiple jurisdictions, was championed by the District of North Vancouver’s Manager of Parks, Dirk Oostindie, and Seymour District Scout Commissioner, Bill Hart. The planned route comprised a series of existing logging roads and footpaths separated by forest and streams. The centennial project involved widening the existing segments, clearing pathways through the forest to connect these segments, and building bridges across waterways bisecting the path’s course.

The trail-building project was one of the largest ever taken on by Scouts Canada. According to historical accounts, thousands of Scouts across the region volunteered to work on the trail during the summer of 1971. Groups were assigned sections of trail as directed by the Centennial Trail Committee and under the supervision of a Rover funded by an RBC Opportunities for the Youth program. Some Groups cleared brush and removed logs from forested sections, while others built bridges across waterways. The goal was to develop an easily walkable path for inexperienced hikers.

Brian Keir, who was working for Scouts Canada at the time, remembers working closely with engineers from the District of North Vancouver. “It was very cooperative, we got surveys and permissions for the route that linked up existing trails and got Troops to do the work clearing the areas between them.” Bruce Corra, one of the Rovers assigned a section near Deep Cove, remembers feeling that he was part of a large project and working on it with enthusiasm. “We spent a few weekends clearing the trail, moving logs and building a bridge over a waterway. It was always fun building bridges as we knew it would be part of a larger trail.”

As envisioned by its creators, the trail has offered a vital and treasured connection between people and the West Coast’s extraordinary outdoors. Over the past five decades, it has hosted generations of hikers, dog walkers and mountain bikers along its length, which is divided into easily scalable segments. It also sees ultrarunners in the gruelling annual Knee Knacker tackle the entire length of the trail in one race. “It’s important that the youth of today know that this trail has a connection to Scouting and Guides,” says event organizer Ralph Rinke. “In doing the anniversary celebration, I wanted them to know that the BP in the name stands for Baden Powell and building it brought people together.”


Beavers demonstrate layering up

LAURA FLETT, Scouts Canada Storyteller - January 31, 2022

Lost mitts. Undone jackets. Wet socks. Snow in boots. For the Beaver Colony, these may be signs that you are running winter programming. Here are 7 tricks to help your Colony navigate the stress when Beavers get dressed for winter!

1) Ensure that you leave plenty of time in program plans for getting dressed and undressed.

Beavers are in a stage where their fine motor skills are developing rapidly. Children at this age may be learning how to zip zippers, tie shoes, and are building hand and eye coordination. What may seem like an easy task to an adult may be incredibly challenging to a child. Adults who become frustrated or overwhelmed by this will not help a child develop independence.

2) Help your Colony develop a system to keep track of their winter gear.

Many Beavers wear similar clothing and gear can easily get confused. Ask parents to put names on all clothing pieces that come to Beavers. Give each Beaver a specific, regular space for their gear. Strategies such as teaching a Beaver to put their mitts and toque in their pocket or sleeve of their coat can help prevent missing items. Have a Scouter demonstrate what putting boots on the boot rack looks like and how to put a coat on a hanger. Setting clear expectations for how the boot room should look helps to set a standard that ensures that clothing dries and prevents gear from getting lost. Encourage parents to add strings to mittens and to loop them through their jackets to help those that often lose track of their gear. 

3) Ensure that the Beavers have enough space to get dressed.

You can move a Beaver’s winter gear to another location and have them get dressed there. This can be helpful for Beavers that are goofing off or distracted, as well as those that struggle to get dressed at the same rate as their peers.

4) Ask them to try first, help second.

If a Beaver knows that they are going to struggle they may ask for help before trying themselves. By encouraging them to try first you teach them independence. If many Beavers are asking for help at the same time, it can be challenging for Scouters to help them all at once. By asking Beavers to try first, you may reduce some of the pleas for help doing up zippers or tying shoes.

5) Make getting dressed to go outside a game.

Play music and challenge the Beavers to see if they can all be dressed by the end of the song. You can also set a timer that all the youth can see and challenge them to beat the clock. Simple statements such as “I wonder who will be the first one dressed today?” can also motivate Beavers to get the job done. For individual Beavers that are struggling, you can break the task into smaller pieces such as “I wonder how long it will take you to put on your boots?” Scouters can also pretend to race against the Beavers to see if the Beavers can get ready to go outside faster than their Scouters.

 6) Practice, practice, practice.

Like anything, learning to get dressed in the winter takes time. You can encourage Beavers to become better at getting ready by providing them with opportunities to practice. Run a game where the youth must dress a Scouter in different pieces of winter gear. Teach the layering system with a relay game: the winning team must have a member with all the items in the correct way. Hold a dress-up night for Beavers to practice zipping zippers and tying up costume pieces. Creating a no-sew scarf can provide an opportunity to discuss winter clothing systems and can help youth understand the value behind the gear that they own. Have youth layout clothing layers on the floor to mimic the layering system or try cutting and pasting clothing pieces onto a paper doll. Storybooks about dressing for winter can also help youth understand the importance of dressing appropriately.

7) Provide leadership opportunities.

White Tail Beavers may be ready to take on mentorship roles by helping other Beavers get dressed or demonstrating how to put away their clothing properly. Encourage White Tails to help other Beavers. Having White Tails be responsible for keeping the boot room is in good condition helps them to practice their leadership skills. Recruit an older Scout to volunteer at meetings that require dressing and undressing. The Scout will learn how to help others get dressed (an Outdoor Adventure Skill!) and Scouters will not be as stressed by the number of Beavers that require help.


The Bear Clan Patrol

YVONNE KYLE, Scouts Canada Storyteller - January 21, 2022

The Bear Clan Patrol in Winnipeg provides support to citizens in areas of the city with high incidence of poverty, homelessness, and addictions. A grassroots, community-minded group, Bear Clan Patrol uses street patrols and outreach programs to help neighbours get to know each other and to provide citizens with familiar faces they can turn to in time of need. Patrols strive to give all people a greater sense of safety and community. 

The 67th Winnipeg Scout Group has a long history of contributing to their community, including volunteering at the local food bank and soup kitchen and organizing garbage clean-ups. When a group contact suggested to Venturer and Troop Scouts that they could invest some time with the Winnipeg Bear Clan Patrol, the youth were quick to take it on.

The role of the youth on patrols varies. On one occasion when the Bear Clan was focusing on youth in the neighborhood, the Scouts prepared care packages with healthy snacks to hand out, primarily to children and families. During a cold winter night patrol, youth helped to deliver blankets to folks on the street. On another evening, they were the lookouts in a search for used needles that their Bear Clan hosts collected for safe disposal.

Patrolling with the Bear Clan has made the Scouts aware of circumstances they had not previously seen first-hand. They knew homelessness was a concern in their city but until the patrol, they had not met anyone without a place to live. The run-down, crowded houses of families they shared their care packages with showed them poverty that is uncommon in their comfortable, middle-class neighborhood, and needles and empty bottles brought home the reality of addictions to the youth.

What had the greatest impact on the Scouts though, was not the challenges but rather the smiles.  Conversations with the people they met did not usually go beyond a simple “thank you” for some fruit or a blanket, but the smiles told the youth how much a small gift meant to them. When Bear Clan members spoke to shy, quiet children, the youngsters opened up and became chatty and friendly. It made the Scouts feel good that the Bear Clan presence allowed children in vulnerable circumstances to feel unafraid. For the Scouts, seeing for themselves the effect of friendly words and simple acts gave them a personal connection with the people they were helping that was more gratifying than any other service work they had done.  

The Scouts who worked with Bear Clan Patrol have some sage advice for anyone not sure how to respond when they encounter people struggling on the street.

“All people deserve dignity.”

“Be kind to them.”

“Don’t assume they’re a bum.”

“Don’t make judgements. People are not in their situation by choice.”

“People being down on their luck doesn’t mean they should be written off.”

“If you have time and opportunity to help your community, you should.”

“We should feel lucky about what we have and not pissed off about what we don’t have.”  

Thank you to 67th Winnipeg Scouts and Venturers Liam Fitzell, Dylan Delaat, Ruby Murphy, Sam Ormiston, Liam Keeney, Kevin Sim and Justin Murphy, and Scouters Judy Brown, John Delaat and Larry Stewart for their help in preparing this story.

Brenda Jew and Ken McFaul

Brenda Jew and Ken McFaul

Kevin Bowers

Kevin Bowers

KATE MACDONELL, Scouts Canada Storyteller  – November 23, 2021

It’s a typical October day in Vancouver, the heavy rain pooling on the laneway adjoining Chown United Church. Spilling out through the Church’s gym doors on this dark, wet Saturday afternoon are the cheerful sounds of conversation and laughter. These belong to a group of people gathering to celebrate the 75th anniversary of 46th Chown Group and the awarding of a 50-year service pin to outgoing Group Commissioner Ken McFaul. Beavers and Venturers collect in tight clusters while seniors in neckers and fully loaded badge scarfs mill around the brightly lit gym. They’re looking at displays, watching slide shows and exchanging the stories that can be heard at every Scouting social event across the country. 

Now in his 23rd year of volunteering, Kevin Bowers is 46th Chown’s Registrar. A retired IT specialist, Bowers started Scouting with his now 29-year old son in Beavers and has never left the movement. “I had never been winter camping before, so as my son was learning about it, I was learning too, learning things we still do together as a family,” he says of his early years. Bowers has since been able to use his professional skills for the benefit of the Group, managing the transition to MyScouts. He also supported Scouting for children from single-parent families, many of whom he believed did not otherwise have the opportunity to camp. “But now,” he confesses, “I keep volunteering because I like the camaraderie of the leaders more than going to the camps.” 

Accountant Bruce Warren joined Chown’s Beaver Colony in 1968. Raised in a Scouting family, he began volunteering for Scouts in university. Being a Scouter took on added significance years later when he and some like-minded parents in Tswawwassen created a new Group, numbering as many as 150 children at one time. “We all believed the important part was to get the kids outdoors, camping, hiking, doing service projects, picking up garbage, planting trees, whatever was the thing of the day, but always outdoors.” The skills learned still serve his children well. “As a young man, I had no fear of going off anywhere because I knew how to look after myself and I can see that in my sons now. They’re 31 and 33 and they can just pick up and go off on camping trips, hiking the West Coast Trail, and I attribute that to Scouts.” He still offers his time when needed. 

Brenda Jew, 46th Chown’s Chair, heard about the Scouting from friends and signed up her sons, now 26 and 29. She’s quick to attribute her sons’ independence and leadership skills to their years in Scouting. “Scouts has prepared them for life.” An administrator at Children’s Hospital, she started volunteering as Group Secretary when her boys were still young. Twenty-two years later, she’s the Group Chair and still attends all-sections camps where she loves to help with the cooking. Even though her own sons have long since moved on, Jew says she has no intention of giving up her volunteer work with 46th Chown. “I can’t quit because they’re like my children. They’re my Scouting family and I’ll stay as long as they still want me around.” 

Keiran and Keagan Daeninck

Story Submitted By KEIRAN AND KEAGAN DAENINCK  – September 8, 2021

We’re Keiran and Keagan. We’re eight-year-old twins. We like to catch bugs, ride bikes, tell stories, play Nintendo Switch, and spend time with our family. We started Cub Scouts with the 163rd Winnipeg Group this spring and before that we were Beaver Scouts. Our favorite things at Scouts are camping, having adventures, and earning badges like the Pet Care Beaver Badge. We really liked the Great 8 Challenge, especially making water filters because we got dirty. 

Our family has three cats named Super Nova, Merlin and Pungee. Super Nova and Merlin both came from Rescue Siamese, a cat rescue shelter in Winnipeg. Merlin is a “foster fail.” We fostered him during the pandemic and then we fell so much in love with him we adopted him. He is so cute. We love cats and we keep asking for another one.    

If you get a rescue cat, you’re giving an animal a second chance. We wanted to help more cats and we know Rescue Siamese always needs money to look after the cats that come to the shelter. So, for our Beaver North Star Award project, we decided to raise money for them. We called our project “No Cats Left Behind, like the Scouts No One Left Behind program – they help kids in Scouts and we help cats. Our slogan was “Be a Cat Hero!” Our goal was to raise $1000.00. 

We made a poster and thought up a commercial. Mom helped us record the commercial and she posted it on the 163rd Winnipeg and Rescue Siamese Facebook pages. If people donated money or supplies to the shelter they could send us a photo of their pets. We would make a drawing from the photo. Mom took pictures of our drawings and sent them to the pet owners. Sometimes along with a realistic drawing of the pet, we would make a fun surprise like a Batcat and a dog with a unicorn horn. The drawing we liked best was the rainbow bridge. The donor’s cat Lucy had passed away – the owner said she crossed the rainbow bridge – and they missed her. Our cat Behr died when we were younger and we miss him too. We drew Lucy on the rainbow bridge and Behr on the other side so they could keep each other company and not be lonely. Lucy and Behr both came from Rescue Siamese. 

Our favorite parts of No Cats Left Behind were seeing all the different pets and helping the shelter cats. We really liked making the pictures and seeing how they turned out. And we had lots of fun surprising people with our drawings. We did have a few fights along the way, mostly when we couldn’t remember whose markers were whose, but mostly we worked pretty well together. 

We did about 70 drawings and we made a lot of money, like $900.00. We were a little disappointed we didn’t reach our goal but then somebody donated another $100.00 to make $1000.00. We were pretty happy.  

You could “Be a Cat Hero” too. Give a cat a second chance by adopting it or by donating money or supplies to Rescue Siamese.

Written by Keiran and Keagan Daeninck with help from Tara Baxter-Daeninck and Scouts Canada Storyteller, Yvonne Kyle.

1st Bolton Venturer recipients

Story Submitted by Venturer Scout ROBERT MILLIKEN,  - September 2, 2021

In September 2020, members of the 1st Bolton Venturer Company completed their Duke of Edinburgh Award Adventurous Journey requirements after months of activity restrictions due to COVID-19. A joint trip was carefully organized by eight youth: Robert Milliken, Erik Mumford, Tom Hedley, Alexander Lee, Christopher Dunn, Isaac Soward and Daniel Quintal. The trip took them on an exciting four-night canoe trip through Algonquin Park including through eight beautiful lakes and involving 13 portages.

 Although planning a four-day camping and paddling expedition takes a lot of thought and organization in regular times, this team was faced with developing their plans during a pandemic. The team was required to incorporate many new practices into their plans to ensure everyone’s safety and to be ready to go when conditions opened to allow camping activities such as this. The group quickly began organizing virtual meetings and discussions which were facilitated remotely via Zoom and Discord. Everything from planning the lightweight equipment needed, watching paddling safety videos, reviewing maps and establishing a route to planning healthy meals, as well as creating packing lists and transportation plans were done virtually in advance of the trip.

The group also used these meetings to map out how to ensure that they met all COVID-19 safety protocols such as social distancing, masking, sanitizing, etc. This led them to review the way equipment was handled ensuring that not only did participants maintain good hand washing/sanitizing practices but also that everyone handled their own materials (tent, paddle, PFDs, packs, gear etc.) Everyone identified their own personal belongings with uniquely coloured paracord to ensure items were easily identified to limit accidental handling. Masks were worn throughout the trip and everyone slept in an individual tent which was kept with the rest of their gear to ensure social distancing and allow for sleeping without masking.

All the planning was well worth it; it allowed the youth to experience the beauty of Algonquin and prove to themselves what they are capable of doing, especially on the long portages and through the rain… lots and lots of rain (and some hail!) The team’s effort was rewarded with being selected as the Scouting 2020 Amory Award recipients recognizing their initiative in conceiving, planning and executing an outdoor adventure activity.

Special thanks to their advisors Scouters Derek Mumford, Karen and Dwight Matson, Andrew Soward and Rover Ethan Mumford whose guidance, patience and expertise was invaluable in making this a trip of a lifetime.


70-Year Pin Award

 KATE MACDONELL, Scouts Canada Storyteller – May 29, 2021

You won’t see them hiking steep terrain, soaring down ziplines or bunking down in a tent at camp, anymore. They go about their business a little more quietly these days, often behind the scenes in a Group or Council committee. Yet three recent recipients of 70-year pins have, between them, donated more than two hundred years of service to Canadian youth. Two hundred and ten, to be exact. That’s an astonishing two centuries (plus a decade) of their collective time, attention and caring. 

Their names are Mina Heinbecker (1st Hamilton West Mountain), Wayne Godfrey (11th Westminster Sault St. Marie) and Art Fletcher (Cascadia Council). Over the past seventy years, they have held a wide range of roles, from Troop Scouter and regional Scout Master to Provincial Commissioner and Honours and Awards Committee member. While each has built lifelong friendships through their volunteering, what truly unites them is their drive to serve Canada’s young people through the Scouting movement. In their own modest words: 

I can run the games now, even if I can’t get down and play them. I get along with people but the kids are more important. Some of them have never been away from home before, or they don’t get quite enough attention at home. The things we do are small but so important to the child. The youngsters take a lot of it in and most of them will come back and say, ‘I remember when we lit that campfire and I nearly burnt the house down.’ One of the youngsters couldn’t skip worth anything and so we learned to do it together. These are the things they wouldn’t have learned if they weren’t in the Group. – Mina Heinbecker, Pack Scouter 

I’m 89 years old and can’t keep up with them but am still active in the Group. I have kept involved because I enjoyed the movement, dealing with the leaders and the boys. You learn something new every day from the kids. It’s unbelievable what they can show you. I tell new leaders that it’s an experience you will never get from anywhere else. It also gives you the opportunity to teach the younger generation what life is all about. I have a knack for knots and don’t know how many boys I taught to tie knots. When you do it for 65 years, there’s a lot that go through and learn from you. – Wayne Godfrey, Group Committee member  

I can’t get out as much as I used to but am prepared to do what I can to assist Groups here with honours and awards. I started volunteering in 1949. I’d had a pretty happy experience as a Scout and was 18 years old and wanted to give back. I was headed into teaching and it’s just another form of teaching. Beyond things like the ability to take care of oneself in the bush, and cooking, it builds leadership in youth. It has enhanced my life because of my involvement, the personal satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping youth. That’s what keeps us all involved, knowing that we’re helping kids to develop. – Art Fletcher, Honours and Awards Committee member 

Congratulations to all of you and a great big thanks from Scouters and youth across this country! 


Brooklyn Rhead

Brooklyn Rhead

LAURA FLETT, Scouts Canada Storyteller - May 24, 2021

Brooklyn Rhead, a 4th Triwood Venturer, is aiming to raise $5000 for type one diabetes research as part of her Queen’s Venturer Award. Brooklyn is inspired by her and struggles with type one diabetes since her diagnosis in February 2020. Her aim is to raise awareness while fundraising for research towards a cure.  

Brooklyn’s efforts have included reaching out to friends and family, community leaders, community foundations, news networks, and Scouts Canada. She has also plastered posters throughout her Calgary community and she has spoken about her project on Global News Radio. She is hoping for more opportunities to continue to spread awareness and funds for her project in the coming weeks.  

Prior to her diagnosis, Brooklyn suffered from symptoms that included extreme thirst, hair loss, fatigue, inability to concentrate and weight loss.  Even though symptoms varypeople diagnosed with type one diabetes will show symptoms of tiredness, shakiness, confusion and in severe cases, loss of consciousness.  

 Understanding the signs of an undiagnosed and untreated type 1 diabetic could be lifesaving. This means giving the individual sugar as soon as possible. Sugar can include jellybeans, skittles, or juice. According to Brooklyn, “If the individual is unconscious, it is important to call 911.  

Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It is not caused by lifestyle or sugar levels, but instead occurs when the body attacks itself. The cause of type one diabetes remains unknown. Individuals with type one diabetes do not make any insulin, and so they need to monitor their blood sugar levels carefully. Unless there is a cure, Brooklyn will need to remain aware of the impact of her lifestyle choices and be ready for complications at any time. 

 As Brooklyn finishes her journey as a Venturer Scout and a high schooler, she has begun to look forward to her next steps in life: 

 “Having diabetes encouraged me to really explore who I am and what I want. This exploration confirmed my desire to pursue a profession in healthcare where I envision evolving research and medical discoveries leading to prevention, treatment and cures to diseases like diabetes. Now I want to embrace this energy and drive within me as I pursue a Bachelor of Nursing degree and then specialize in diabetic care. I will be most likely attending the University of Lethbridge. It is exciting to think of the possibility of living on my own, especially with type one diabetes. Being diagnosed so recently, I know it will be a big adjustment, but I am excited to pursue independence.”  

 If you would like to support Brooklyn’s campaign to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for type one diabetes or to learn more about this disease, you can find more information here.




Beaver colony

KATE MACDONELL, Scouts Canada Storyteller – May 23, 2021

It’s easy to feel like the bloom on the phrase “everyone is in it together” has faded. That’s unless you live on the shores of Temiskaming Lake in Northern Ontario, where the newly launched Temiskaming Shores Scout Group has been meeting officially since October 2020. It’s still limited to a Beaver Colony of about 16 and a Cub Pack numbering 11 youth. It doesn’t yet have a single tent to its name. It doesn’t even have a regular indoor meeting space. Yet this Group is already knocking it out of the park when it comes to understanding the value of community and service to others. 

The Group came together through the drive of Group Commissioner Bethany Marques, a public accountant and single parent of two young children who moved to this northern community eight years ago. The daughter of veteran Scouter, she wanted to provide the same opportunities to her son that her daughter enjoyed in Guides. “We’re a big hockey town but hockey isn’t for everyone. Scouting is even more about community and teambuilding, as well as getting youth outdoors so they can enjoy and learn skills in our amazing natural environment. I wanted my son and other kids in town to get to experience this.” 

With the support of her small but growing Scouts Canada network, Marques took the training to become Group Commissioner. Her initiative was matched by the local community, which gathered in support of her vision. Not having assets of any kind, the Group received $2,000 for pandemic-related safety gear and supplies from The Temiskaming Foundation through their For Kids Sake grant program. Temiskaming Anglers and Hunters Association provided operational support. The local Nordic ski club provided trails where the kids could meet and pursue programming when not in lockdown. And permission was given for campfires in a field next to the Quality Inn.  

The opportunity to return these and other acts of generosity wasn’t long in arriving. On a Thursday in early March, a flash flood shut down the business providing financial support for the Northern Animals Rescue and Sanctuary. Group leaders met on the Sunday evening and within a few hours had organized a bottle drive. Leveraging Marques’ professional network, they elicited enormous immediate community support through radio announcements, use of a local realtor’s trailer to hold the bottles, public space provided from the municipality, a truckload of donated pet food and supplies, and cash donations.  

What comes next? The Group has just received a $5,000 donation from the Frog’s Breath Foundation for the purchase of camping gear. Another item on their list is creating a Scout Troop for graduating Cubs and to meet growing demand. Finally, they hope to hold their very first investiture and distribute the Group’s brand new necker, designed in consultation with the youth. “What we’ve done so far has not just been about the volunteer time or community support, but the youth. They’re getting excited and wanting to participate. And being our first Group, they’re the ones responsible for getting us up and running. We want to have a big ceremony for them as soon as we can get back together.” 



Yvonne Kyle and 60th Winnipeg youth Group

(click to enlarge picture)

KATE MACDONELL, Scouts Canada Storyteller – May 20, 2021

The Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers is awarded for performance of “significant, sustained and unpaid contributions to their community.” This aptly describes recent Medal recipient Yvonne Kyle’s 44 years of work on behalf of Canadian youth Group Commissioner and Scout Trooper for 60th Winnipeg, volunteering for Scouts runs in Kyle’s blood. “We’re probably at about 130 years of Scouting now, as a family. My great uncle was a Scouter in the UK with Baden Powell. And my daughter has a Wood Badge 2. She would be the fourth generation in our family to have it.” 

Originally trained as a teacher, Kyle worked in social disability services before starting a fire alarm services company with her husband in Winnipeg. She started as a Cub leader after she aged out of Girl Guides and channelled her passion for teaching into Scouts. She has helped generations of children and youth to learn how to camp, cook, light a fire, and look after themselves. “There’s absolutely nothing a kid can’t learn in Scouts and shine doing it. We have to acknowledge that shine and make sure we help them grow. And let them try out being a leader as well as a follower, because that is important too.” 

Finding the right balance between respecting that they’re young while pushing them to try to learn new skills has been one of the cornerstones of her success. She refers to her skill in making youth feel confident enough to believe they can go out and do something. “One of my kids said that he was grateful that I had pushed him as hard as I’d done. He was ready to quit more than once and I’d said ‘No, you can do this, we can figure it out.’ And when he accomplished something he was so, so proud of himself and so grateful that he had gone through with it.”  

Kyle has had equal success in developing youth in her Group into what she calls “lifers.” She attributes this to making volunteering as enjoyable as possible for the adult leaders. “The Scouters need to have as much fun or more than the kids. If not, they won’t stick around.” Events like potlucks and barbeques, or just getting together online to check in with other Scouters, are scheduled regularly. Pre-pandemic, she also counted on lots of good chats with Scouters around the campfire. “When the kids are asleep, we bring out the hot chocolate and make secret smores, the ones with Tim Tams.” 

Where Scouting and Guiding were once what kids did without question, Kyle notes the many extracurricular options now available. “They do Scouts one year and then gymnastics or hockey the next. Team sports are good and they will develop and learn but they’ll learn in one area, they’ll learn hockey skills. But if they do Scouting they learn in a whole lot of areas. They learn to be good citizens, good people, good outdoorsmen and women. They grow into rounded people and if you’re part of that development you feel really proud of yourself.” 

Kyle is honoured to receive the Sovereign’s Medal, saying she was shocked and humbled by the acknowledgement. And how does she plan to celebrate? With her Scouts, of course. “I haven’t received the medal yet, but I’ll celebrate with my kids and Group. They’re hinting that they’re going to plan something when allowed to. It will probably be outdoors and they’ve hinted there will be canoes involved which is very appropriate because we’re a canoeing Group. But I will definitely celebrate with the Group.”