International friendships were made on June 5, when the 10th Tsartlip cub scouts played host to visiting cub pack 4490 from Sequim, Washington.
“The youth from the two packs had the opportunity to learn that even though they are from different countries, scouts from all over the world share common values, including a love of outdoor adventure,” said US cub pack leader, Doug Jensen.
The two cub scout packs spent a full day together visiting Michell Air Park, Heritage Acres and finished off with some raft building, games, and a barbecue at Island View Beach.
“We had a lot of fun today. My favourite part was riding the little trains [at Heritage Acres],” said US cub scout, Sean Webber, 10.
Jensen was pleased with the reaction from his pack. “Some of the kids haven’t even travelled to Seattle. This trip up to another country was huge for all of them and hopefully something they will remember for a long time.”
Scouting is one of North America’s leading youth organizations and offers programs for youth age 5 to 26. Cub scouts are generally aged 8 to 11. Often, scouting exchanges and trips are reserved for older age groups in the organization, but not in this case, explained Canadian cub scout leader, Norm Healey.
“International scouting trips are a long standing, worldwide tradition of older youth,” he said. “When Doug contacted me about doing a trip up here, we agreed it would be a great way for both the US and Canadian cubs to get a taste of international travel opportunities that are available for those that stay involved with Scouting.
“We lose a lot of members right after they age out of cub scouts so this is a way to try and keep them engaged in the program and show them what sorts of things they can do with scouting as they get older.”
The Canadian cubs hope to arrange a trip to the US to visit cub pack 4490 and the US cub scouts hope to make their trip up to Vancouver Island an annual event. “It took nine months of paperwork and emails back and forth with Norm,” said Jensen of the trip. “It was definitely worth it to see the kids having so much fun.”