About a dozen eager children gathered at the rail trail off of Van Buren Street in Kemptville last Wednesday to clean up garbage and beautify the path. The Kemptville Beavers, who are the 5 to 8 age group of Scouts, are one of several groups associated with North Grenville Scouting with Scouts Canada. The Municipality of North Grenville provided Pitch In Canada bags to assist in the cleanup of garbage left behind by those who are less environmentally conscious. Although the Beavers are always happy to make a difference, they are also working on earning an Earth Beaver badge by completing several sustainability projects this month. Other activities included planting their own vegetable seeds, making bug hotels, and learning about bee keeping from a guest speaker.
For Wednesday’s clean up activity, the Beavers welcomed a special guest, Mayor Nancy Peckford, who came along to help out. The Mayor did not shy away from getting her boots dirty, as she filled up a bag of trash on her own, and often encouraged the youth who were energetically scrambling up and down the trail sides. The Beavers were very thankful for the Mayor’s support.
“It’s really important to teach youth the importance of being champions of the Earth and how they can do their part to improve and protect the environment,” said Scouter Melanie. “Cleaning up litter gives them the awareness of a larger problem, and the opportunity to easily find a solution. They see immediate results when they see a bag filled with litter and a clean outdoor area, and this boosts their confidence that they can, indeed, make a difference with their own two little hands. We hope that this confidence and stewardship will continue in their day to day lives, with friends, parents and at school.”
North Grenville Scouting has had a rough year with the COVID-19 pandemic, and provincial restrictions that had Scouters pivot away from in-person weekly meetings for much of the season. However, the teams of volunteer Scouters at all levels have worked hard to make memorable gatherings, including cold winter hikes in the dark armed with flashlights, virtual show and tell meetings, or fun games emailed to parents to enjoy with their youth.
“We are starting to get back to a more normal routine now,” Melanie added. “We just want them to have fun, learn about the outdoors and make great memories.”
Many activities within Scouts are youth-led, which means each group can plan their own activities. “For little ones, this can be hard,” said Scouter Morgan. “They don’t know what’s out there, they don’t know what to ask for. So we do a bit of planning, give a bit of direction, and find those fun activities and guest speakers. It gives them more power to come up with adventures as they enter Cubs.”
The volunteer Scouters who lead the groups are often parents of the youth within the program. “We signed up to spend quality time with our own kids, but we get to see them grow and learn along with other youth,” said Scouter Jason, whose two sons are both part of the colony. “The best reasons for joining, as a youth or volunteer, are the laughs, friendships, and silliness,” Scouter Kristy added. “And it’s heartwarming to be a mentor for youth as we adventure together.”
Anyone interested in signing their child, or children, up for a Scouts Canada program, or volunteering for the program, can visit myscouts.ca to register and learn more.