A Wider Perspective

By: Brandon Ma

This past weekend, I had the privilege and honour of representing the Pacific Coast Council as an elected voting member at the Scouts Canada Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. While voting for members of the Board of Governors was an important part of the weekend, I was also able to participate in the National Conference and the weekend festivities. From the breakout sessions on topics such as volunteer support and international project to the awards ceremony to the socials to the AGM itself, every minute was packed!

Doug Reid – Deputy National Commissioner of Scouts Canada

By far, my favourite part of the experience was connecting with the people from all across the country who are driving change and progress for Scouting. For example, I was able to meet the infamous Mike Stewart from the 1st Rivorton Rover Scouts in New Brunswick. Mike is the President of the second largest Rover Scout Crew in Canada and has been involved in driving key projects for Scouts Canada, including social media and Rover Scout program among other things. Mike and I had exchanged a few emails before but it was great to have the opportunity to finally meet him face to face. Another new face for me was Michael McKay, our new CEO. Not only did I listen to Michael during an open Q&A on Sunday, but I also had the chance to briefly chat one-on-one with him. Besides starting new relationships, it was also great to reconnect with others like Cindy Mei, our local Council Youth Commissioner and Doug Reid, the Deputy National Commissioner for Program.

Craig Kielburger – Free the Children founder

Another highlight was definitely Craig Kielburger’s speech during Saturday’s lunch. Craig founded Free the Children (FTC) when he was only twelve years old. FTC is currently best known for their We Day events where he’s shared the stage with world leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Bill Clinton to empower youth to effect change. Craig is an energetic speaker and certainly showed it when he spoke about the importance of Scouting in Canadian society to the crowd. His message about staying relevant while maintaining our core values certainly resonated with me.

What made this weekend particularly meaningful was the celebration and appreciation for Steve Kent and Dylan Reinhart, the outgoing Chief Commissioner and Chair of Board of Governors, and National Youth Commissioner respectively, whose terms ended this AGM. Under their leadership, Scouts Canada experienced 4 consecutive years of membership growth for the first time in over 20 years, rolled out a new updated uniform, and improved youth engagement among other accomplishments! While these are big shoes to fill, I am confident that Andrew Price and Kaylee Galipeau will be able to continue the good work that Steve and Dylan started.

As I left Ottawa, I felt a renewed sense of purpose to help grow Scouting. There was a tremendous level of energy throughout the weekend, even though I knew many only had a few hours of sleep each night! Having not gone to a National event as a volunteer, it was eye-opening to learn about the moving parts to Scouts Canada that I wasn’t necessarily exposed to locally. There are a lot of initiatives coming down the pipeline and passionate people at the helm of each of them. If we can properly execute on these projects, there is no doubt in my mind that Scouting in Canada will achieve new heights.


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