2023-10-17 COVID is still here; Scouting should be outdoors
COVID hospitalizations are higher now than during most of the pandemic. Scouting should do what we do best: Meet outside.
COVID hospitalizations are higher now than during most of the pandemic. Scouting should do what we do best: Meet outside.
Explore the history of Scouting
Canada has several museums focused on Scouting and Guiding
Speaking with young people about tragic world events
COVID-19 lockdowns may mean Scouting needs to continue online
Year ending August 31, 2019
Here is a summary of Scouts Canada's finances for the year ending August 31, 2019. These are based on the Scouts Canada National Operation Summary Financial Statements, 2019. To create this summary, items which have both revenue and expense, such as fundraising, are shown only as their net amount. The bottom line is that Scouts Canada lost almost $3.5 million during the year, mostly due to employee future benefits. Their expenses are overwhelmingly related to staff and administration.
What does it cost to take a Scouting troop to Europe?
I took my troop to England in 2018 for 15 nights. Here is what we spent.
How the Board of Governors is chosen
What will the phase of the Moon be for your next Scout camp?
What will the phase of the Moon be for your next Scout camp? Perhaps you want a bright Moon to make flashlight-free walking easy. Or maybe you need it dark for stargazing. Whatever you want, this calendar will help you find the ideal date for your camp. Lunar eclipses are also shown.
High-quality flag images for use in badge work
Enough with tiny cut-outs or old photocopies. In preparation for next time your Scouts are working on citizenship, take these files to a copy centre and get them laser-printed in colour onto card stock. It will cost only a few dollars and your Scouts will be able to clearly see the details of each flag.
And how to get the size right
Since the founding of the Scout Movement a century ago, Scouts have worn rolled triangular neckers. Each troop has their own colours. It is important that neckers look smart so that Scouts will feel pride in belonging to their troop and the Scout Movement.
Making interviews an effective part of volunteer screening
The interview is an important part of the volunteer screening process. Good questions are the key to a successful interview. The questions below are a starting point for generating conversation with the interviewee. Interviewers will learn far more from an open-ended conversation then a simple question-and-answer session.
Events for a Klondike Derby
During a Klondike Derby, Scout patrols visit stations (sometimes called "towns") along the route and compete in the various events (sometimes supervised by the "town mayor"). It adds to the derby to give a Klondike flavour to each event. Scouters are each event could be in costume and tell scene-setting stories as patrols arrive.
A one-page summary of a volunteer's duty of care
In its "Screening Level Chart" for adult volunteers, Scouts Canada lists "Duty of Care review" as part of the screening process for all volunteers and parents in attendance at activities (BP&P, Section 3001.2). Nowhere is it explained what this actually means.
Canadian Scout Jamboree 2007 Centennial Sunrise Ceremony
Scouts Canada held a Centennial Sunrise Ceremony on August 1, 2007 at Tamaracouta Scout Reserve, Quebec, Canada as part of the Canadian Scout Jamboree 2007 (CJ'07). The audio files below were played during the ceremony.
A song to celebrate Scouting's Centenary
How to make honours and awards more effective
Effective volunteer recognition is an essential part of a successful volunteer organization. It is one important way that associations show veneration for the efforts of their volunteers. Volunteers who feel truly valued and who feel that their efforts are having a positive impact on the world will be encouraged to continue to give their time and effort. As well, public recognition holds up role models for all to see, encouraging others to follow the lead of those being recognized. The effectiveness of an award is impacted greatly by how it is presented to the recipient.
The Anthem of the Lilly-dippers
A complete list of Scouts Canada's councils and areas
A Self-teaching Guide to Navigation with Map and Compass
The ability to navigate with a map and compass gives one the freedom to venture outside of our urban surroundings and is a satisfying skill to master. It also allows one to take part in activities such as orienteering and geocaching. This guide gives an introduction to using maps and compasses.
Scouts enjoy learning this visual communication method
The first step in teaching semaphore is to make some flags! Make enough that there are two flags for every two kids (or one each, which ever is easiest). Make the flags so that the handles are at least 12" longer than the width of the flag. The reason for this is so they will learn to make the handle an extension of their forearm, and not hold it by a short handle that can allow the wrist to turn and cause the flag to be pointing in any direction.
Report on the World Federation of Independent Scouts meeting in BC
In 1996, some of the non-WOSM Scouting associations met in Laubach, Germany where they agreed to federate as the World Federation of Independent Scouts (WFIS). Six years later in 2002, they held their first World Jamboree in Denmark. There was a contingent in BC that was anxious to attend, decided not to because many members were from cattle producing areas, and Mad Cow and Hoof and Mouth diseases in Europe were in the news at the time. It was shame because it was a real deal financially. The registration fees for the entire Jamboree, including food and firewood, was 800 Danish Krona (about CA$125).
Canned programs are no substitute for Scouting
I received an email from Greater Toronto Council advertising their LAFF weekends. The LAFF program is a series of canned weekend camp programs offered at Woodland Trails Scout Camp north of Toronto. Here's the email and my response to it.
What to do before Scouts Canada tries to sell your local Scout Camp
Scouts Canada has started a process to sell many of the Scout camps in Ontario, a legacy that has taken over 95 years to accumulate. In the middle of the summer holiday they have announced that approximately 40% of Scouting's Real property assets are on the block. A short appeal period has been foisted on the unsuspecting. A national firm has been retained and will receive a handsome commission to flog this property. If there is an actual need to sell there are local firms available and a significant number with Scouting members who would take a special interest in obtaining the best price and charging the lowest commissions.
Scouts Canada's Chief Commissioner offers his understanding of democracy
The end portion of the Scouting in Canada Update session at the Scouts Canada Conference 2004 was a question-and-answer session with members of Scouts Canada's national leadership. Among the questions where questions about how Scouts Canada is governed.
April 17, 2004, Mississauga, Ontario
Scouts Canada, Central Division held a conference April 17, 2004. In attendance were 430 adult participants, 100 participant in the youth program, and presenters. Here are reports from the Conference.
The message is sell, sell, sell
The final session of the Conference was titled "Properties and Camps". Barry Hardaker introduced the session by describing the role of Ontario Council in property ownership. Ontario Council will formally cease operations at the end of August 2004. However, the "Incorporated Body" will continue to exist for the purpose of holding property in trust. Barry introduced Stu Eley who gave a presentation about properties. Stu is a director of the Incorporated Body. Other Directors are Ian Galbraith, Brian Anderson, John Edwards, Kim Derry and Brian Moore. The presentation filled the time allowed, leaving no time for questions.
International Commissioner Tyler Arrell spoke about the Kenya Street Scouts
At the 2004 Scouts Canada, Central Division Conference, the keynote speaker was Tyler Arrell, Scouts Canada's International Commissioner. Scouter Tyler began by speaking about international child poverty. Many young people around the world do not have access to basic needs or the education that will allow them to contribute to society when they are older. AIDS has created thousands of orphans, many of whom now live in the streets.
Julian Celms provided an update on the work of Scouts Canada's Program Department
Julian Celms, a staff member at the National office, gave a presentation about what the program department has been up to. Scouts Canada is cooperating with a Canadian Space Agency's Star Count program. The CSA is asking young people to perform a star counting experiment and compare the results with a similar count done by a Canadian Astronaut. The CSA and Scouts Canada have worked to create links with Cub and Scout space related badges.
An update from Scouts Canada's national leadership
The Update session occurred twice and consisted of some introductory remarks followed by a question and answer period. Panelist were Jeff Smith, Deputy Chief Commissioner for Program Services; Kim Derry, Deputy Chief Commissioner for Central Canada; Mike Scott, Chief Commissioner; and Rob Stewart, Executive Commissioner and CEO. The sessions were moderated by Barry Hardaker, National Field Executive.
2005 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the Eighth World Scout Jamboree
In 1955, the Eighth World Scout Jamboree was held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. This was the first major international gathering of Scouts outside of Europe. Over 11,000 Scouts attended from 71 countries around the world. The Jamboree of New Horizons, as it was called, was held in a tent city next to the recently reconstructed Fort George National Historic Site. Today, nothing marks the spot of this historic event.
How to ensure camps are an asset, not a burden
At the Scouts Canada Central Division Conference on April 17, 2004, Scouters who attended the "Properties and Camps" session were asked to provide input into the process for reviewing Ontario's Scout Camps.
At story about keeping warm at winter camp
It was a fairly good camp, considering that we were out in early February in tents. Twenty-eight Scouts aged 11-15 and with four Scouters went tent-camping in Southwestern Ontario. Friday night had been a little hectic setting up the tents in the dark, but everyone settled down eventually and the camp gradually drew quiet.
Scouters interview Scouts to ensure they have earned their next rank
A Board of Review is a meeting between a Scout and Scouters held after a Scout has finished all the requirements for their next rank. If the Scout passes the Board, they will be advanced.
Policies to help ensure proper stewardship of a Scout group’s financial resources
Scouting is an intrinsically inexpensive activity. Scouters must be able to spend their efforts making great Scout programs, not fundraising and worrying about money. This set of finance policies is intended to ensure that a Scout group's financial resources are used responsibly. Customize them to the needs of your group.
What is the role of youth members in program planning?
Many years ago on my first Wood Badge I course, I was told all about the importance of youth input to program planning. We were taught some techniques for doing this and I returned to my troop eager to try them out.
Every once in a while, something happens that re-affirms your faith in what you believe in
I have three children, Lorelei (17), Wesley (20), and Dustin (23). They were all active Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, and Ventures. As Scouters, we have all hounded our Scouts to Be Prepared, work as a team, think for themselves. We give countless hours, but most of the time we see only glimmers of success for our efforts. Sometimes we see more.
What we can do about membership decline
Membership decline has been a problem for Scouts Canada for over three decades, but what can we do about it? I visited many Scout troops to find out. I found that amid membership decline are many successful troops with healthy and growing membership. This essay examines what makes these troops successful so that we can follow their lead. Topics include the role of badges, outdoor activities, giving responsibility to the Scouts, and the Scout uniform. This essay was written as part of fulfilling my degree requirements at the University of Waterloo.
We can all participate in a mail ballot election
A journal entry from Kandersteg International Scout Centre, Switzerland
Next to international friendship, the biggest draw of Kandersteg International Scout Centre is the mountains. The Scout Centre is located 1185 metres about sea level and in surrounded on all sides by the the Swiss Alps. The highest peak in the area is Balmhorn at 3698 m. Balmhorn is snow-capped year round.
Defining the responsibilities of Group Committee members
A Group Committee is responsible for the operation of all sections of a Scout Group. Below are descriptions of the various positions on the Group Committee. People are far more likely to volunteer for a well-defined commitment. Customize these to meet the local needs of your group.
Scouts Canada’s restructuring focuses on making the membership accountable to the national Board, rather than on meeting the needs of the Scouts
Scouts Canada has recently embarked on a major restructuring process.
Resources for running a Klondike Derby, including a new sled design
Klondike Derby is a winter competition event for Scouts during which patrols will pull their Klondike sleds along a course in the woods. Along the way, they will be tested on Scouting skills at various stations. A derby is usually a day-long event involving a route of 7-8 km and about 20 stations. The event finishes with a formal banquet and the awarding of trophies. Klondike Derbies provide an opportunity for Scouts to apply their Scouting skills in a fun competition. The event can be made to come alive with the use of the lore of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon.
What you need to Be Prepared for a Klondike Derby
A new design for a strong, light, and inexpensive Klondike sled
Dissatisfied with previous designs for Klondike sleds, we set out to make a new design. We wanted a sled that was strong, light, inexpensive, and something that the Scouts could build themselves. The distinguishing feature of this design is that it is held together with rope lashings rather than with metal screws. In this way, the design is not really new. The Inuit have used flexible sleds for much longer than Scouts have been around.
Working as a team to drive your Klondike sled
Driving a Klondike sled is called mushing and requires the Scouts to work together as a coordinated team. This is one of the reasons why a derby is such a good Scouting activity.
Nineteen Canadian animals and their symbolic meanings
Scout troops are made up of groups of six to eight Scouts called a patrol. Every patrol chooses an animal to be its emblem. A patrol animal is not just a handy way of identifying a patrol. The Scouts should take pride in their animal and strive to imitate its positive characteristics.
Patrol flags are fun to make and help identify a patrol
Scouts may wish to make a flag for their patrol. Deciding on a design is a good teamwork activity, as Scouts will have different ideas which can be put together to create a single design. When the flag is done, it helps the patrol to feel like a team. A patrol flag is normally carried on a staff by the patrol leader. A flag can help the patrol to get organized. Scouts can easily find their PL in a group by looking for a flag held in the air. The flag staff can be put in the ground to mark where a patrol should pile their kit when leaving for camp.
Organizing and participating in a successful event
What a patrol needs for a weekend camp
This is a camp gear suggestion list for a patrol at weekend camp. The gear is packed in a large red nylon duffel bag. Most of this gear can be purchased from Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC).
A journal entry from Kandersteg International Scout Centre, Switzerland
I am sitting in the staff room of the Kandersteg International Scout Centre 95 km South of Bern, Switzerland. A train is just going by on the track outside, having just emerged from the LÃ¶tschberg Tunnel, a 15 km train tunnel which houses the main line between Germany and Italy. The tunnel was built between 1906 and 1912. In 1908, a chalet was built to house the workers and their families. The chalet was abandoned after the tunnel was complete. In 1923, Walther von Bronstetten, Chief Scout of Switzerland, suggested to Baden-Powell that the chalet would make a great international home from Scouts. Impressed by the international friendship shown at the recent world Jamboree, B-P had been looking for a place where Scouts from all other the world could gather on a permanent basis. Thus, Kandersteg International Scout Centre was founded.
A treasure hunt program for Scouts
Many years ago, a band of pirates under Captain Vladimir Rasputin set sail to plunder on the seven seas. Eventually, they spied a Spanish merchant ship. They raised their Jolly Roger and prepared to fight. After the battle, the pirates sank the merchant ship and made off with a great treasure. But Captain Rasputin had been injured in the battle. They sailed to their hideout near Berlin, Ontario where Captain Rasputin died. In accordance with the captain's wishes, he was buried near their hideout, the treasure along side of him.
Six keys to more effective spiritual programs
A Scouts' Own is an important but often misunderstood part of a Scouting program. This article will briefly provide a few hints to help in the planning of Scouts' Owns which are useful and representative of the needs of the young people.
What a Scout needs for a weekend camp
Below is a personal camp gear suggestion list. This is an all-season list. You need to think about the weather and type of activity when choosing what to bring. Talk to your Patrol Leader or Scouter if you are unsure about what you need. You are responsible for making sure that you have everything you need and that it is properly packed. Your parents must not put things into your backpack for you. You need to know where things are packed so that you can find them quickly.
This First Aid/Emergency Kit helps Scouts to Be Prepared
When in the outdoors, every Scout must Be Prepared for both ordinary camp activities like lighting a fire or cutting rope, as well as emergencies like getting lost or severe bleeding. The items below form a good kit to help a Scout to Be Prepared. These items should be packed away in a container that is easy to carry around, such as a waist pack. Carry this kit with you always when in the outdoors. It could be useful anytime.
A clever method for Scouter recruitment
Here's a clever method for Scouter recruitment. It works like a charm, particularly in the Beaver and Cub sections. I call it the Chase of the Trapped Keener.
A story about the 91st Toronto Scout Troop
The 91st Toronto Scout Troop went on an overnight hike one fine spring weekend. That night, the Scouts ate a fine meal of pita pizza pockets cooked in the fire. After supper, they had a spirited game of capture the glow stick, followed by a camp fire, hot chocolate, and toasted marshmallows. By 23:30, the Scouts (and Scouters) were exhausted and climbed into their tents.
All fun and no learning is not Scouting
In the past couple of years, Scouts Canada has started offering two new programs, ScoutsAbout (ages 5-10) and Extreme Adventure (ages 14-17). The new programs are intended to help "Scouts Canada reposition itself and expand its products" (Scouts Canada 1999:17). The programs are intended to "increase membership and involvement in Scouting". They are not "intended to compete with existing core Scouting programs, which will continue."
An important item for your BP Kit
This document is a PDF file which will print emergency phone number cards for your BP Kit. The cards are oriented towards Ontario, though most of the phone numbers function in all of Canada. The file prints ten per page, doubled sided onto standard do-it-yourself business card stock.
A ceremony to start and end the day
The Flag Break ceremony is usually conducted at the opening of a Scouting meeting, camp, or other event as well as every morning at camp. Flag Down is done at the closing of these events and every evening at camp. Packs and Colonies have their own ceremonies and do not generally break the flag.
Questions to help the Rover Adviser Squire prepare for their responsibilities
Before knighthood, the Rover Squire will undertake the Vigil. This is a time for them to quietly think out what is going on in their lives. Likewise, the Adviser Squire must prepare themself for the responsibilities they are about to undertake.
An analysis of the Rover Vigil as ritual
At the turn of the twentieth century, Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell saw a need to create a youth organization in which the youth could grow up to be a productive, responsible citizens within their communities. He created the Scout Movement, which has spread all over the globe. Certainly Canada is no exception. Through the aid of a resource, Rovering to Success (Baden-Powell 1922), Rover Scout communities have developed all over this country. The Rover Scout movement is based not only on Baden-Powell's proposed knighthood theme, although it is the most common. By employing the methodologies of Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner, it is the intent of this paper to explore a certain ritual in the Rover Scout Community, the "vigil," and to assess its potential to promote change within the Rover Scout community which values it.
Common words and phases used in Scouting in Canada
A Scouts' Own is an important part of the spiritual life of any Scout section
A Scouts' Own is an important and often misunderstood part of a Scout program. Most of the Scouts' Owns that I have seen are essentially distilled church services which do little for the spiritual life of those present, particularly those who do not regularly attend religious services. This essay is intended to help Scouts and Scouters run effective Scouts' Owns by providing a definition of Scouts' Own, some things that follow from the definition, and examples of how this can be put into practice. While I will use Scouts section terminology for this essay, Beavers' Owns, Cubs' Owns, Venturers' Owns, Rovers' Owns, and Scouters' Owns are important parts of their respective sections.
Scouting is fun with a purpose, directed towards helping boys and girls become happy, healthy, useful citizens
Scouts Canada’s new program potentially to be operated by paid leaders
Recently, Scouts Canada has been quietly taking some initial steps down a new path. Those of us who read the Scouts Canada web site in detail ran across the mention of a project to develop a "play with a purpose" program in minutes of the May 1999 national meeting. I spoke on the phone with Ian Mitchell of the National Office who provided me with some details about the Structured Play program, now a pilot project in Toronto. This new program is in a new direction is two major ways. First, the program does not use the Scout Method and therefore is not a Scouting program. Second, there is the potential for the program to be delivered by paid leaders, rather than by volunteers. This essay, which is based on my August 1999 conversation with Ian Mitchell, will describe the program and offer some commentary.
How the Scout Method is put to use at a residential summer camp
How and why Scouts Canada opened its doors to everyone
This article was published on November 4, 1998 as a letter in the Ottawa Citizen and on November 28, 1998 as a guest column in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.
It all starts with an official Storm Warning
I was standing in the Ranger's Cabin at Camp Manitou near Burlington, Ontario checking in for a weekend camp with the Scouts. The weather radio enunciated, "Environment Canada has upgraded the storm watch to a storm warning." Looking out the window, I couldn't blame them. Already several centimetres of snow had fallen and more was coming down fast, the snow sparkling as it passed under the lights outside the cabin.
Making a meaningful start to Scouting
The investiture ceremony is the time when a Scout, by means of the words of the Scout Promise, publicly announces their commitment to the Scout Law. At the ceremony, the Scout makes the Promise to the Scouts and Scouters of their troop and to all the Scouts of the world. It is once the candidate has made the promise that they is a Scout.
Tips from an Old Scout on how to get started with Rovering
Rovers is a program for adults aged 18-26 designed to emphasize the enjoyment of the outdoors, service projects, and personal development. Rover are organized in small groups called Rover Crews. This document will assist you in starting your own Rover Crew.
A proposal for an addition to the Venturer Program
The current Venturer program lacks a means for recognizing Venturers who have displayed outstanding leadership in the younger sections of Scouting. To remedy this, I propose the addition of a new award that will be "fourth route" to the Queen's Venturer Award. This new award will be granted to Venturers who are involved in the leadership of the junior sections (Beavers, Cubs, Scouts).
A little rain, a little sun, and lots of the Scouting Spirit
I was filled with excitement as we left Ottawa for Camp Camfield in Quebec. It was a sunny Friday evening. With six Scouts in my van (the LiamMobile, as the Scouts call it) and more in another Scouter's care, we drive north to camp.
How choose which necker to wear
Many Scouters have several neckers and sets of shoulder tabs and are confused about when to wear which. Here I will present a simple set of guidelines which make logical sense. The basic principle is that you wear the shoulder tab and necker combination of whatever section you are representing at the time.
Bring the jungle to your pack
Scouting embraces diverse spiritual expression, theistic or not
One of Scouting's three Principles is titled "Duty to God." This statement has been interpreted in many different ways, some of which have lead to religious discrimination, a violation of Scouting's fundamentals. What does Duty to God really mean to Scouting? Duty to God is about the development of the spiritual values of life and is not a statement about any required beliefs about the material world. This essay is based on the World Organization of the Scout Movement's (WOSM) document Fundamental Principles which contains "the only authoritative statement agreed upon by more than one hundred member organizations of WOSM" (WOSM 1992:1). All quotations in this essay are from that document.
BP’s challenges for Rovers
Rovering is the carrying out of Scouting into every department of a person's life. It aims at creating nobler citizenship by introducing the Scout Promise and Law into daily life.
Most Rover Round Tables formalize their organization in writing
Here are sample bylaws for a Rover Round Table. These are based on the bylaws of the National Capital Region Rover Round Table from when I was a member. These could be adapted for use by a Venturer Square Table as well as Rover Round Tables.
The Rover Squire will quietly think out what is going on in their lives
The Rover Squire, with the aid of the Questions drawn up by Lord Baden Powell, will quietly think out what is going on in their lives.
Recognizing a new Scouter at the front of the horseshoe
In this ceremony, a new Scoutmaster takes the place of the old. The two are referred to as Scouter New and Scouter Old in this description. The Officiate is usually a senior member of the group or a Commissioner, but any member of Scouting can be the Officiate. Adaptations of this ceremony can be used to install people into other positions within Scouting. This ceremony best takes place at an opening of a meeting or camp.
Loan uniforms to those who cannot afford them
The Scout uniform is too expensive for many people. In order to ensure that no one is deprived of Scouting due to financial considerations, the Uniform IOU was developed. A Scout and their parent/guardian will sign the form and be lent a Scout shirt until the Scout outgrows it or leaves Scouting. Scouts are encouraged to buy their own sash and, if this is not affordable, the group will buy it for them. This is done because a sash is a personal record of achievement and should not have to be returned. Here is a sample Uniform IOU.
Some Venturer Companies formalize their organization in writing
Here is a sample bylaw for a Venturer Company. This was the one used by the 32nd Ottawa Venturers when I was a member.
Ensuring everyone is and feels safe
Minutes are a record of what happened, what was decided, and what actions will be taken
The minutes of a meeting are a record of what happened, what was decided, and what actions will be taken as a result of the meeting.
Most Rover Crews formalize their organization in writing
Here is a sample bylaw for a Rover Crew. This was the one used by the 32nd Ottawa Rovers when I was a member.
The basic ideas underlying the Scout Movement