Community Papers

Scouting keeps old fashioned skills in vogue, says Tsawwassen leader

A chilly night camping on a snow capped Seymour Mountain was one of the recent activities for the 3rd Boundary Bay group. - Contributed photo
A chilly night camping on a snow capped Seymour Mountain was one of the recent activities for the 3rd Boundary Bay group.
— image credit: Contributed photo

In today's world where a myriad of interests—from sports to the high-tech games—vie for the attention of youth, one activity proudly marches onwards.

Scouting remains an option for many youngsters, including those in South Delta who will be celebrating Scout-Guide week with a special dinner event Feb. 20 at South Delta Secondary.

"I think the primary thing that keeps Scouting popular is the emphasis on and focus on outdoor activities," said Brian Martin, Group Commissioner, 3rd Boundary Bay. "There is so much out there now from organized sports and kids spending time on the Internet and that sort of thing. We're kind of an old fashioned group in the sense that we are out in the woods, parks and on the water teaching old fashioned skills and giving kids experiences they wouldn't necessarily get any other way."

Among those activities with the Tsawwassen group is a sailing program, four season camping—the latest was on a snowy Seymour Mountain—and Cub skills days in local parks where older youth put on demonstrations for the younger members.

Over in Ladner, Grant Edwards, Group Commissioner for 1st Kirkland Ladner Scouts, said his view on Scouting's enduring appeal rests with the nature of the organization.

"It's a less competitive environment and more cooperative one, than say sports," Edwards said.

And that allows youngsters to participate in activities at their own pace.

While the numbers in Tsawwassen show a slight decline in members, Martin said that has more to do with an area's demographics than the appeal of the group and their activities.

"The population in Tsawwassen, for example, just has fewer young people and the population generally is getting older. That's played on us," he said.

But Scouting tends to go where young people are.

In Ladner last year, a 30 per cent increase in numbers was owed to a commitment to raise the group's profile in the community.

"We had people saying to us when we were at public events like the May  Days parade, 'Hey Scouts, you guys are still around?'"

Edwards said the exposure paid dividends.

"We had people asking us for our flyers."

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