Over the last 12 months, the Board of Governors has been undertaking a review of Scouts Canada’s direction with the goal of strengthening Scouts Canada’s impact and ensuring access to great, safe Scouting adventures for more youth across Canada. At the Annual General Meeting held on November 20th, the Board launched the Strategic Plan that will chart the direction of Scouts Canada over the next several years. With members providing input and feedback during the development process, the goal of the Strategic Plan is to: Engage More People in Scouts Canada’s Mission in Different Ways.
The Strategic Plan is built on 4 Pillars, each with its own focus, goals and initiatives.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed Canadians and although the full effects won’t be known for many years to come, it’s likely that Scouts can benefit from the refocus on family-time, outdoor activities, and social causes. There’s no doubt, however, that the pandemic has accelerated pre-Covid trends around technology, digital content and on-demand virtual experiences, which we will need to continue incorporating appropriately. Scouts Canada needs to be adaptive and evolve with Canadians to remain relevant.
Scouts Canada also needs to ensure that we’re inclusive and welcoming to all Canadians in order to achieve our Mission. Whether it’s through our traditional Scouting programs, or new delivery methods for our Mission, we must leverage our strengths to ensure we’re engaging more members of our communities.
At the heart of our inclusion journey must be a recognition of our origins and genuine reconciliation with Indigenous communities. Scouts Canada’s Board of Governors has committed to a series of actions that will help us begin our Reconciliation journey, and which will provide a great foundation for more broad inclusion initiatives in the future.
There’s no shortage of great ideas for how to help Scouts Canada achieve its Mission, but we are constrained by the resources that we have available to bring these initiatives to life. To grow our capacity, we also need to explore new models to unlock the value of our properties in ways that provide ongoing, dependable revenue in support of the core organization.
Scouts Canada recently held it’s Annual General Meeting and reflected on the many amazing achievements and accomplishments that were realized in 2021 despite all of the challenges. Our volunteers stepped up in amazing ways to ensure youth kept Scouting. The Great 8 Challenge saw over 59,000 unique youth adventures with over 60% of groups participating from coast to coast; we welcomed families to experience and enjoy select Scouts Canada properties with our summer Family Adventure Camp and youth continued to demonstrate their resilience and leadership with initiatives such as the Senate Series and Leadership-in-Training programs.
The Annual General Meeting also saw the nomination of a new National Key Three (NK3) team. Elected for a three-year term, the NK3 includes the Scouts Canada CEO, a National Commissioner (volunteer) and a National Youth Commissioner (volunteer). For this term, Scouts Canada is pleased to welcome Stephen Loney as the National Commissioner and Justin Chenier as the National Youth Commissioner. Stephen and Justin will join Scouts Canada CEO Andrew Price as the new NK3 team serving until 2024. In addition to the NK3, the Board of Governors saw the election of several new members including, Sandi Burns, Kayla Bernard, Rodney Nelson and Erica Saccary. Together with the NK3 and the National Leadership team, the Board of Governors will chart the direction of Scouts Canada over the next three years.
Finally, and most exciting of all, Scouts Canada announced Les Stroud as new Chief Scout. Les Stroud is best known as the Canadian Screen Award-winning producer, creator, director and star of the hit TV series Survivorman. Earlier in 2021, Scouts Canada and Les Stroud teamed up to bring Scouting youth the Great 8 Challenge which saw youth participate in survival-type challenges over the course of eight weeks. Les’ love of the outdoors, passion for nature and natural ability to inspire and challenge, make him the ideal fit as Scouts Canada’s next Chief Scout.
Reconciliation with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) communities lies at the heart of Canadian Diversity and Inclusion across all sectors, including recreation, youth programs, and education. As an organization that is centered around land-based programming and stewardship, and has been identified in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools, we are in an especially distinctive position. Our first steps towards demonstrating our genuine commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in order to be authentic needed to be our Reconciliation journey. In the summer of 2021, our board made Reconciliation this an explicit commitment.
We chose taking a close look at ourselves as our first step on our Reconciliation journey. On December 8 we wrapped up our listening sessions for this fall, which began with listening to our Indigenous/FNMI members first before seeking the perspectives of other members. We heard both optimism and constructive feedback from our Indigenous/FNMI Scouters. Indigenous/FNMI Scouters also spoke to the barriers being faced in Scouting and the meaningful ways we need to transform and improve. More broadly, we heard the challenges around understanding our history, local versus central initiatives for reconciliation, and finding appropriate ways we can be broadly inclusive for all. We are excited to take a closer look at what we have captured and will report what was said in early 2022.
Following our 2021 AGM, our Board of Governors approved our Strategic Plan that places Inclusion and Reconciliation as one of the key pillars for the next few years. This means we can continue to build awareness as we continue on our Reconciliation journey throughout 2022.
One of our next steps is a comprehensive Systemic Discrimination audit being conducted by a third party named Coueraj over the course of next year. This audit will be key in determining where opportunities exist for us to live up to our values and provide an authentic feeling of belonging for anyone who wants to be involved in Scouting.
This audit is being conducted by a third party; however, we need to guide them. The landscape of an over 100-year-old organization with roots in every province is vast to say the least.
We are seeking your insight. Where are opportunities for us to grow to become more inclusive? Where can we improve? Tell us how you think we can do better.
If you would like to contribute please feel free to contact our National Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Around the World in 60 Days Challenge wrapped up just a few weeks ago and it was a resounding success! Youth from coast to coast participated in the 8-week Challenge that saw them virtually ‘ping’ around the world, learning about Scouting in other countries while also gaining knowledge and working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Jennifer has been involved in the Scouting movement since 1983 and has been a volunteer with Scouts for over 35 years. Growing up in a Scouting family, Scouts has had a profound impact on her life and she has passed on that tradition to her son. The importance of a program like No One Left Behind has become even more vital to parents like Jennifer due to the pandemic.
“Although many Scouting Groups are finally back to their more regular in-person meetings and some may feel like the impact of Covid is behind us, I can say that for our family, that certainly isn’t the case. If it wasn’t for the No One Left Behind program subsidies, I would not have been able to register my son for Scouts or camp this summer due to the financial repercussions Covid has had on my work.”
As a volunteer, Jennifer knows the impact Scouting can have on a young person: “Having the chance to see the faces of the kids light up when they figure out how to do something. Or taking kids camping for the first time, seeing how much they benefit from all the learning experiences and connecting with nature. It's priceless! I love being a Scouter.”
Jennifer’s son William joined Beavers when he was five and she has seen him grow and progress through the program as a result. “William has autism and it wasn’t always the easiest for him at school. In Scouting, he found friends who support him and a community where he belongs regardless of his differences. Scouting has empowered him to take on new challenges.”
This year, the No Left Behind Program supported over 2,500 youth in Canada! While Scouting is already affordable, there are stills thousands of youth across the country whose families face economic barriers and need the support of this type of program. Every youth deserves to experience the world of fun, friendship and adventure Scouting offers.
“As a lifelong Scouter, I am so thankful that we were able to receive this financial support when we needed it to ensure that my son can keep participating in his Scouting activities which are so beneficial for his mental and physical well-being.”
Creating a legacy gift as part of will planning is a generous and thoughtful way to provide a lasting impact. Your legacy gift could help Scouts Canada create more exciting opportunities and new programs to help youth discover their true potential.
When you partner with Scouts Canada you demonstrate to Canadians, your community and your customers a commitment to youth, families and the future of Canada. Impact over 75K households across Canada, directly connect with over 56K Canadian youth with a proven media reach of over 30 million impressions annually.