Volunteering for Scouts Canada

By: John Wong

As I am retired, many people ask me what I do with my spare time (Ha, what spare time?)  My answer is invariably the same: I was given abundantly during my developmental and working periods and as a result, I have gathered a lot of knowledge (what to do) and wisdom (what not to do) over the years.  So that now I am retired, my mission is to give back to society as in “what comes around, goes around”.  It’s all karma.

When I was young, I had time but no money.  When I was working, I had money but no time.  Now that I am retired, I have both.  Therefore, my main aim is to focus on the youth of today and leaders of tomorrow, especially those lacking money, time, and expertise.  I owe this mindset to my own late Scoutmaster, Ken Lambert.

According to the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), Switzerland Census, there are more than 30 million scouts, youth and adults, boys and girls, in 161 countries.  It is the world’s largest youth organization as well as in Canada.  Many former world leaders, Presidents, and Chief Executive Officers are former Scouts (“Once a Scout, always a Scout”).  Therefore, there is no better place than to hang my hat there to carry out my mission.

I have been in the Scouting Movement since I was 11 in Vancouver.  All four of my kids went through the Scouts/Guides Programs.  I was an assistant leader to a Cub program, an assistant leader to Scouts and Venture programs in West Vancouver, and finally, I am now an Advisor in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, the largest Rover Crew in Canada headed up by John Chow, my old Scouting buddy since we were both 11 years old in the 2nd East Vancouver Scout Troop.  Scouting has taken me a full circle to where I started but now seeing with new eyes.  It is very satisfying to see young people growing up to be good citizens who can contribute positively to society.  As it is said, if we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem in simplistic terms.

The 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group is unique, in that the primary focus is leadership and management training for Rovers between 18 to 26 years old, when our members are either going to a post-secondary institution or looking for a job.  I provide the balance to the leadership and management program by looking after the Integrated Outdoors Program so that we don’t lose sight of our Chief Scout and Founder, Lord Baden Powell’s, original vision of a good body/mind/spirit via an outdoor training program for youths.  This “survival in the woods” program is in fact a parallel to the “survival in the concrete jungle” of urban living and corporate takeovers.  It is more relevant today than it ever has been if done properly.  I believe this is the case in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group, as there are many, many successful and tear-jerking stories from the Crew over the past 6 years, from introvert to extrovert, from depression to expression, and so on.  I always add that ‘the people who say it can’t be done should step aside for those who are doing it.’  We always ask our members, “can we do it?”, and the answer is always “yes, we can!”.  Our determination rings loud and clear in our dynamic group.

Scout Canada’s Scouting Life magazine published a 2-page spread featuring our group.  Take a look at our group from an outside perspective to see if you concur with my observations from the inside.  You can also read more details by clicking through our website, or reading our Viewbook:

John Wong2John Wong has been in the Scouting Movement since he was 10 years old.  As a scout, John eventually rose through the ranks to earn his Queen’s Scout Award – before leaving Scouting in pursuit of his university studies.  After graduating from Engineering at UBC, John volunteered an assistant Scout Leader in West Vancouver.

Today, John is retired and serves as an Advisor in the 180th Pacific Coast Scout Group along with his wife, Hazel.  Within our Group, John is our Outdoor Programs Advisor, in charge of heading expeditions, such as our successful Mt. Baker Summit Expedition.


One Response to “Volunteering for Scouts Canada

  • Mostafa
    4 years ago

    Thank you Scouter John Wong for sharing the insightful story of how you’ve been part of the Scouting movement and how it has helped you grow. It’s amazing that you’ve been a true supporter of the Scouting, which clearly shows your strong belief in the positive benefits that it can bring to our youth today.
    It’s always an honour to learn from knowledgeable and compassionate people like you, who truly lead by example.

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