This article was originally published in OPSEU’s newsletter In Solidarity and is reprinted with permission. Lisa Bicum is a Petrolia Scout Leader.
If you’re like me, you’re likely to get cynical once in a while. You likely see disagreeable behaviours in people and begin to lump groups together. You find yourself saying things like, “Young people these days…”, or “I can’t believe how entitled the younger generation is…”, or “Those baby boomers are all stuck in their ways. They really need to retire.”
Face it. We are turning into our parents. I get pretty cranky when someone doesn’t hold a door for someone coming behind, and I often pass judgment to the younger generation.
However, I witnessed something recently that snapped me out of my crankiness. This event restored my faith in youth and left me feeling reassured that there are young adults around us who are making a difference in their communities. More importantly, these youth will carry on their service and will live community-oriented lives.
You see, I attended a Scouts Canada youth recognition ceremony in my area. My daughter received her Chief Scout designation, and as a proud parent and Scouter, I attended.
The place was packed. There were 75-100 youth being recognized in our region (Chatham, Windsor, London, Sarnia), and the auditorium was electric. These youth were receiving Chief Scout, Queen Venturer, and Medal of the Maple awards—all the highest honours in their respective levels of Scouting.
The place was electric because these youth are electric. They exude enthusiasm. They live adventure. They think of people other than themselves. Their service often doesn’t stop with Scouting awards. Many of these young adults have received or are working on Duke of Edinburgh awards—incredible.
These awards are a culmination of service-based activities. These youth have devoted countless hours to working with all sorts of service groups, at camps, and with the disenfranchised. They’ve built community gardens, have run community programs, have planted trees, cut wood, cleaned up, painted…you name it. They have set and achieved personal challenges and have become well-rounded young adults.
These 75-100 youth were living proof that purpose-based living is alive and well, and in this case, the Scouts Canada organization happened to be the vehicle. Are they the coolest kids in town? Nope. But I could count on any one of them if I ever needed anything. I would spend any Saturday knee deep in adventure with these youth.
I will continue to support the Scouts Canada movement—and it could use your support. Scouts Canada has gotten a bad rap in recent years, but it really is a solid organization which encourages skill building in areas cut through curriculum changes and over-protective parenting. So if you have an hour or two, check out a local Beaver Colony, Cub Pack, Scout Troop, or Venturer Company. Offer to teach them to macramé, whittle, or cook—whatever your talent may be.
You’ll be glad you did.