A United Fight for a Better World: Scouts Canada’s Scouts for Sustainability Program

As individuals, it can feel impossible to change the world, but just imagine a movement that includes all of Scouts Canada’s nearly 80,000 members, along with Scouting organizations across the globe, who are working together to make the world a better place.

Scouts Canada is taking a leading role in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Through our new Scouts for Sustainability program, which pilot launches in the fall of 2019 and will be followed by a full launch in the spring of 2020, we are making a global difference to create a more generous society, fairer communities and a healthier planet.

If you were an attendee at this year’s World Scout Jamboree, you may have visited the Global Development Village, which empowered youth with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to play an active role in their communities. This space also highlighted the Goals, known to WOSM as #Scouts4SDGs, with opportunities for sharing, meeting others, and learning new skills to bring back home.

Last year alone, Scouts across Canada led 426,000 hours of community service projects. Exploring the SDGs allows us to recognize the great work our youth are already doing across the country. In doing so, we are honouring our Mission and Vision: helping develop well-rounded youth who are better prepared for success, and capable of making meaningful contributions to improving our world. We are excited about expanding our program to bring more bilingual content around topics such as climate change, peace and justice, gender equality, and reduced inequalities.

“I am most excited to see a connection between World Scouting and The Canadian Path. I think it can be difficult for Section Scouters to think internationally and introduce youth to the bigger picture and impact of Scouting.

I am hopeful that this project will bridge that gap, provide resources and help Canadian Scouts take action for a better world.”

– Rover Scout & Scouter, Kayla Barnard


What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global plan for a better world and a brighter future. Created by the United Nations in 2015, the 17 Goals are a road map for Agenda 2030 – a timeline for making a global difference to eliminate poverty, reduce inequalities, and fight climate change. Although there are now 17 objectives, which may seem like a lot to achieve, the Goals are very interconnected – making it easy to positively impact more than one Goal with every action.

Simply, the SDGs affect all 7 billion people on Earth in one way or another, so we all need to do our part. The more others are aware of them, the easier it is to take action and contribute to making our world a better place.

In-Line With Our Five Priorities

The SDGs are a natural fit for us in Scouting. Through the Scouts for Sustainability program, we can further our Mission, values and priorities.

  • Membership Growth: Engaging new audiences, a program aligned with the SDGs demonstrates that Scouting goes beyond outdoor adventures and camping; it welcomes youth and parents who want a robust, hands-on program that supplements the Canadian Path approach to well-rounded development.
  • Safety Leadership: Being universal and multidisciplinary, the SDGs can highlight safe and secure adventures through suggested activities and topics, in particular in the areas of: Goal 3 -Good Health & Well-being; Goal 4 – Quality Education; and Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities.
  • Program Quality: The SDGs program will help share the quality resources and approaches already available for youth to explore on The Canadian Path. It will better communicate different activities Scouting youth can do to develop sustainability mindfulness while growing their own interests and passions.
  • Volunteer Support: The Scouts for Sustainability program provides Scouters with pre-existing resources, along with professional development opportunities. Created with a Scouts for Sustainability volunteer committee, the program will allow Scouters to benefit from workshops, training modules and a community of practice that will help them connect the dots—integrating the Canadian Path with exciting elements of the Scouts for Sustainability program.
  • Group Capacity: The SDGs encourage our membership to collaborate with local communities to achieve positive change through environmental, social or innovative means. Scouts for Sustainability widens Scouts Canada’s reach and appeal to potential volunteers and parents by engaging those who are passionate about specific SDGs.

How to Get Involved

The Scouts for Sustainability program is the start of a great Scouting adventure! There are many ways to take action on The Canadian Path. As the pilot launch for the program is in the fall, with a full launch in the spring of 2020, a first step in the meantime is to start a discussion with your Group or Section and plan ahead for ways to get involved in the springtime.

Our dynamic infographic is designed to help Groups explore and identify challenges and solutions related to various SDGs, allowing them to implement sustainability mindfulness along the Canadian Path and in their daily lives.  During the program’s first year, the SDG themes will focus on Environment, Society, and Innovation.

At its core, Scouts for Sustainability is a celebration of Scouting youth action in Canada, which will be commemorated by a three-part badge challenge. The badge will be youth-created and youth-led in consultation with volunteers and members of all ages across the country. Adjusting to age and ability, the program will allow youth from our youngest Beavers to our oldest Rovers to rally together for common causes.

Check out the Scouts.ca/SDGs for ideas, resources and stories from across the country, and have the youth choose what they want to pursue as a Section. By participating in Scouts for Sustainability programming, the Scouts Canada community can contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Fifteen years might seem like a long time, but when it comes to saving the world, there’s no time to lose!




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