The New Voice in the Room

totem2It’s his first time in charge of opening and I can see he is a little nervous. I smile and nod at him to go ahead. The meeting room is full of noise as he calls out “Pack”. Nothing. We exchange a look and I suggest he try again. A little louder this time does the trick and the noise dies as faces turn towards us. There is a more than a few confused looks as he barks out “Pack pack pack” but routine takes over and the Cubs race into the Pack circle. A few minutes later as he puts them into Pack squat and its done. He is beaming by now, the first time is always the hardest and now it’s past.

In 11 years I’ve done this little ritual quite a few times. First timers leading the opening for one section or another while I shadowed off to the left and a few steps back. That’s where my mentor stood for me, just out of sight but still close enough to offer a forgotten word. That first time leading the start of a meeting is both exciting and frightening at the same time as you bounce between the pride of being trusted and the fear of forgetting something.

But this time it was different because the person standing just ahead of me was a second year Cub that had no idea he was going to lead opening when he walked into the meeting hall tonight. He also conducted closing and was busting with pride as he told his mother what he had done during the meeting at pick up time. It was a good milestone for Pack as we started a new journey in Scouting.

So what was this new path we have tentatively started blazing? My Scouting Group has been chosen to be a “pilot” group for the new program revitalization for Scouts Canada as it makes the first significant changes since 1968 to the program. While we feel that it’s an honour to be accepted it does come with challenges too, but Scouting is a movement which needs to keep moving forward. So forward we go!

The first phase of the pilot involves changing how a group thinks and operates. Included are Adventure, Program elements, Plan Do and Review, and Youth Leadership. While we have always included the youth input in the program, we will now be challenging them to start taking over former Scouter roles as well as program planning. As you can expect, it’s a bit of shock for all parties involved.

Overall this was just a tiny first step on a path which we will be exploring for the next year and a bit. I plan to share our/my journey as we go along so keep watching for updates, but for now I have to say it was exciting to hear the new voice in the room. Interesting days ahead!

So how do you handle youth leadership opportunities in your section?

Until next time…

Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

How to make a fast pinewood derby car

It’s Kub Kar (Pinewood Derby for those of you below the 49th parallel) season! Gentlemen (ladies too!) start your engines! Boys’ Life online has some good tips for a winning car plus links to several other great articles including photos of cars from previous years to use for inspiration.

Good reading!

Until next time…

Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

Follow the Yellow Fish Road

(cues the Munchkins) Follow the yellow fish road, follow the yellow fish road, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow fish road! (OK I’ve had my fun)

Being serious now, the “Yellow Fish Road” is a very worthy project that any Scouting Group can help with. Founded in 1991 by Trout Unlimited Canada, Yellow Fish Road has help build awareness on how pollution can easy enter our watersheds through urban storm drainage systems. It serves as a visual reminder that at the end of the storm drain there is fish who are dependent on clean water to survive.


Painting the fish with lots of helping hands!

The program has two parts to it. First there is a fish-shaped door hangar that raises awareness to homeowners in the target neighborhood. The second part (and fun part) is painting yellow fish using a provided stencil beside storm drains. This past week my Scout Troop and Venturer Company joined the 1000’s of other Canadians that have helped paint the Yellow Fish Road.

In a little under an hour, our six Venturers painted approximately 30 storm drains and delivered the door hangers to the houses on the two streets assigned to us. We even had the chance to explain the program to people out walking in the neighborhood. It always pleases me to see the smiles of strangers when they meet a group of working Scout youth.


The 2nd Bramalea Venturer “Road” crew!

The program is available across Canada. In our Group’s area, the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority is the sponsor, but you can visit the Yellow Fish Road website to find out who to contact in your city. This program makes for a great environmental service project and it’s fun too!

So until next time…

Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

2013 Mountaineering Camp: Rogers Pass

Check out this awesome adventure the 5th West Vancouver Mountaineer Scouts had this past summer! A unique camp for a unique Scouting Group (very envious). It makes me wish I lived on the west coast. I’m hoping to explore this program more in the near future so stay tuned.

Keep up the great work!

1st Mountaineers

June 28-July 5, 2013

2013 Mountaineering Camp

10 youth:  Half guys; half gals – Half Scouts; half Venturers – Ages 11-18.

One week at the Alpine Club of Canada’s Asulkan Hut (7,000′) in Rogers Pass, Glacier National Park, B.C.

Three days of mountaineering training then……climb Youngs Peak (9,341’/2,847 m)!

This is their week in pictures…


We owe a very special “Thank You” to Parks Canada for allowing us to have this amazing week in Glacier National Park.


Vérèna:  Thanks for believing in this project!

Note:  Click on any photo below to start a full-screen slide show with captions.


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BiPoLar AdRenaLine Edition

If you want to see all those photos (and more) blasted past your eyes to the tune of some rocking music, then give this video a…

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