Scouts do more than learn life skills, environmental stewardship and outdoorsmanship. They also learn to serve their communities.
The Canadian Path program adopted by Scouts Canada offers a special award that can be won by the senior youth in each section. The criteria includes community-service hours.
For the Beavers, who range in age from five to seven, it is the North Star Award, which is available to White Tails, the oldest Beavers age group. To earn the award, a White Tail must complete five outdoor adventure skill stages, and five community-service hours.
“We’ve done a few different things – helping at an animal shelter, bringing the WWF Kids Run for Nature to Scanlon (Creek Conservation Area),” said Scouter Joanne Guay. And earlier in the year, the Beavers visited Bradford’s Helping Hand Food Bank.
This month, the White Tails adopted a new project for the food bank: putting together Birthday Cake Bags for food bank customers.
The food bank provides the basics for families, such as non-perishable food items, augmented with fresh vegetables, milk, eggs and meat, thanks to donations from the community. But how often does it provide something for special occasions?
The Beavers decided to put together Birthday Cake Bags – gift bags containing a cake mix (chocolate, vanilla, rainbow, or devil’s food cake), along with icing, sprinkles, candles, and a special surprise of candies and extra decorations – because, as one Beaver put it, “Everyone needs a birthday cake.”
The project really "resonated" with the young Beavers, and with the community, said Guay.
“We’ve been receiving donations of product or cash or gift cards," she said. “We had great sponsorship from the community. We really appreciate it!”
Thanks to donations from Reali’s No Frills, Foot Path, RLS Accounting, and “some members of the community,” the Beavers and their Scouters were able to deliver 48 of the bags to the food bank.
Guay also issued a challenge to the community at large to make up and donate Birthday Cake Bags of their own.
Everyone has a gift bag or two hanging around the house, Guay said. Just fill it with a cake mix, icing, sprinkles and candles, and “drop it off in a food bank bin” to give a food bank client a happy birthday surprise.