Scouts Canada had zero transmissions of covid19 cases; continue to run a safe program

By Max Bowder: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With students heading back to school in the fall,  parents are also looking for extra curricular activities their children can take part in.

Parents are  searching for programs that offer social connection, a sense of normalcy and fun in an environment that puts safety first.

Scouts Canada which is a non-profit youth service organization that helps children of all ages get in touch with nature, have great adventures, learn outdoor skills and care for the environment as well as be good and helpful members of their community.

“Scouts Canada is a youth serving organization, each section … is designed for the age group kids get to choose what interests them and then help lead their own adventures,” Andrea McLoughlin, customer service.

Getting Scouters outdoors where they understand nature and lean to care for the environment.

The organization has operated for close to 115 years and  currently has 50,000 youth participating all around Canada supported by 12,000 volunteers.

Scouts Canada did not shut down during pandemic with the exception of putting a short hiatus during emergency breaks and continued to operate while in the pandemic although needing to scale back in person activities, put mandates in place and have virtual programs.

Scouts Canada has had great success in its programs with no reported transmissions of covid-19 cases.

They have ensured the health and safety of the scouting community by implementing a 5-stage reopening plan which provides members and families with clear easy to follow guidelines to ensure safe in-person adventures.

Some provinces are even in Stage Five, which effectively lifts internal restrictions for all Scouting activities while deferring to all municipal and provincial public health restrictions.

Some of the guidelines includes indoor gatherings up to 25 people and outdoor gatherings up to 50 people, cohorts (Patrols) of a maximum 8 youth, and overnight camping allowed in cohorts only, with tents or shelters preferred, Face coverings and physical distancing are required.

Orienteering – learning to use a compass and know where they are in the woods and the direction they need to go – a great Scouting experience.

“Our mission really is creating well rounded youth who are active members of the community, who care about the environment, who have faith and life skills … who can take on any adventure and be prepared for it,” said youth program specialist Siobhan Ward.

Registration for January to December 2022 Scouting opens on September 1 for existing members, with registration for new members starting September 15th. New members who join before 2022 will benefit from free participation in Scouting for the remainder of 2021.

Executives of Scouts Canada worked fast to go in different direction when covid slowed them down in March but when members turned to virtual meetings, they came up with new strategies which they say came organically despite not meeting in person for almost a full year and ran incredible programing.

Scouts Canada also sponsors the Program No One Left Behind which subsidizes costs for families experiencing hard ship.

“Providing a safe environment for young people in Canada to connect with their peers and get outdoors is our number one priority this fall,” said Executive Commissioner & CEO, Andrew Price.

Chopping wood, learning to light a camp fire and how to put it out properly. Before they do that the marshmallows get roasted.

The virtual programs still give children the experience of scouts Canada even from their houses by giving kids exercises and explore their local communities.

Scouts Canada is looking for volunteers to help fill a number of rewarding roles including running Section meetings, as well as positions focusing on finance, administration, teaching first aid and outdoor skills, leadership, communications, fundraising or property management.

Adults of all ages can sign up at https://www.scouts.ca/volunteer, Scouts.ca/Join

Max Bowder is a second year journalism student at Sheridan College.  He is part of a team with the Gazette on the Local Journalism Initiative funded by the federal government.  Before enrolling at Sheridan Max volunteered in a community in Argentina  where he worked with young people.  He is a Burlington resident who helps out on the family farm in Milton.

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