Scouting: Why it matters to me. 20 years on

This was originally written in response for the Reginald K. Groome Scholarship for Scouts Canada youth pursuing post-secondary education.  The scholarship asks to “Attach a typed statement, no more than 200 words, on the value of Scouting in your life.”

Obviously 200 words is crazy hard to fit 20 years of Scouting into, heck I can barely fit a favourite memory into 140 characters. I’ve done most of my post-secondary schooling and I’m not really interested in the money.  I am however interested in what I as an individual have learned from the movement, 20 years after my grandmother (my family can easily go into triple digits of Scouting years and is a whole ‘nother post), an Akela helping with a little camp known as Camp LogJam dragged me along to a workbee, and being told to sit and colour and drink my juice.

So it begins.

I’m not going to tell you how being able to light a fire in the rain with two matches, or have the skill of tying six knots in one piece of rope became the most useful thing I learned in Scouts. Fact is nearly everything I learned in Scouts- from making a picture frame in beavers to camping with my crew in snow caves on the side of a mountain are skills I could have learned  else where.

Except my friends.

(RoVent 2008, left to right Jeff, Kit, Me, Christina and Adam. We purposely made it harder, if you’ll notice, we’re all in the air)

I was not a popular kid in high school, and up until my graduation, I had very few people in my life that knew when my birthday was or more importantly cared. However, going to Venturer and Rover social camps around Vancouver, I met some fantastic people, and then got to know them at these camps every four months or so. At PJ 2003, I met one of my best friends in the world and cemented friendships and relationships far in to the future. When it came time to move out from my parents, I moved into a house full of Rovers, friends from Richmond, Ladner and North Vancouver. None of whom where in my group in Vancouver, and none I would have met outside of Scouting.

Scouting’s life skills have had a lasting impact on my skill set and way of life, but my friends are my moral compass and grounding rod for my life. I might have compass and map in my bag, but without my friends,who I met through Scouts, I’d be lost.

-Mark Burge
1st South Vancouver Crew
East Vancouver Area
Pacific Coast Council

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