Return to Númenor – A PJ Journey Log

Númenor is the legendary island located in the Sundering Seas to the west of Middle-Earth. Traveling by giant ten person voyageur canoes and then by hiking, the 1st Kimberly Scout Troop rose to the challenge before them to reach Númenor, 564 meters above sea level.

Monday morning they left PJ, their first test was on the bus ride; one of patience and willpower. The 99 verse song of the sirens would have gotten to lesser Scouts, but not these ones. They pushed through and championed on. A spot game of Frisbee during lunch (some of which was foraged) while waiting on the beach of Port Mellon between units brought the collective group together. The previous night’s travelers were heading our way with our future canoes, and the youth eagerly watched them make their way across the inlet.

Once loaded, Eric, our fearless OOS guide, taught us the draw and pry strokes, how to brace our paddles, how to stop (always important) and the importance of matching our strokes together. With final instructions from the safety boat, we were off!

Will our intrepid Scouts make it? Click to find out!

Roverlution – The Teaser

Getting the Right Shit done. Right.

“By Rovering, I don’t mean aimless wandering, I mean finding your way by pleasant paths with a definite object in view”
-Baden Powell

“A Scout is active in Doing good, Not passive in being good.”
-Baden Powell

“The largest Beaver Colony in the world isn’t going to inspire anyone to stay in Scouting.”
-John Simpson,

“Development, Development, Development, Development”
-Me, channeling Steve Ballmer

We all have dreams. We all have ideas. We all have things we want to do.

We all profess to want them, to see them become reality; yet rarely do they all.

As a Youth Development Movement, we should be at the forefront of creating highly motivated, creative, empowered, healthy, fulfilled, professional, and effective young adults; by giving them the experience and know-how to shape the world around them to manifest their dreams.

The ability to get things done underpins all successful endeavors. Unfortunately, this ability is not born natively. The most effective way is by being taught the right way how, getting hands on real life practice, and receiving proper feedback from trusted mentors/coaches. This is something Scouts Canada can excel at, and what the Rover program should be centred around.

The Roverlution is to take our current beloved organization to the point where it is recognized and revered internally & externally as THE organization to get ahead in life; teaching people the fundamental skill of getting things done by using their passions as the vehicle to practice with.

Uniforms: The history lesson you need to understand where we stand today

It’s been a week since Scouts Canada unveiled its new uniforms, the first time in 20 years.  Well, ignoring the Circa and Bring on the Adventure.  Both campaigns that failed miserably.  Circa was supposed to bring a modern look to the movement in Canada, instead it just served as an distraction to a sinking ship that was Scouts Canada at the time.

Back in 2005, a document was sent out to all who had email address on file and would be interested in seeing where scouting should go in the next decade. Not the best system of getting feedback but it was a start.  Slowly we’ve seen the document turn into reality.

We’ve seen electronic training for new leaders come out, so there is less time spent away from home. That can be crucial for getting new parent leaders involved and interested beyond the time their child is in the movement, or even recruiting brand new people to Scouts Canada.

We’ve seen a website that is massively better then previous generations.

And we thought this was good web design? ( around 1998)

Only slightly better. ( around 2004)

Part of that plan is to make camps more usable for scout groups, and I can attest to seeing the results.These sites aren’t only a place to camp, but are building up activities available there for minimal usage cost. Camp Byng for example now has a Frisbee disc golf course, an archery range, and a soon to be high ropes course, among other things. Plus we can make the camps useful for corporate retreats and such. Apparently having a group of adults learning how to work together to climb over a wall is teambuilding. Imagine that!

What I’m trying to get at is that changing the uniform is part of a multi-pronged offensive to get Canadians part of an organization where the core program can benefit all.  Getting rid of outdated ideas and misinformation in terms of getting rid of the stereotypes is part of the reason Scouts Canada is updating.

Let’s talk to Our Chief Scout.

BP on brownsea island, wearing a tie. This guy is classy, ALL the time! Also, not a Zombie.

When Scouting for Boys was published, it was assumed that boys would form troops within other organizations and wear the scout badge on that uniform in addition to the other groups various bits.  Obviously Scouting grew far too quickly for that to work and BP laid out his vision of uniform which was relatively cheap and easy to get.

Which it is now.

So let’s actually compare uniforms shall we?  Continue reading

A Rover Doesn’t Just…

Note: A Rover doesn’t just paint fish onto drains to remind people that those drain run straight into fish habitat.

No, a Rover would find a source of paint, get the entire Area involved, sign up troops, companies and crews, map out routes to be covered, distribute the paint, stencils and routes, organize the press to get involved, and have hot chocolate, a hot dog and a badge delivered to each participant.

A Rover doesn’t just go to camp.

Photo by Flikr user Markeburge with permission

No, Rovers are the type to organize, plan and staff a senior sections camp for both Scouting and Guiding with over 500 in attendance, and wear the most awesome costume for the theme because it is shamelessly ridiculous and singing “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate” word for word at the top of their lungs, while directing traffic and welcoming campers with a smile on their face and in their hearts even though they’ve been up for 30 hours and won’t get much sleep for the rest of the weekend.

A Rover doesn’t just sign a petition for a new park.

Photo by Flikr user Taekwonweirdo under CC

No, A Rover would be the one organizing the effort, rounding up people to get signatures, pushing the media for more attention, getting university students to figure out the economic impact of the addition of the park, pushing politicians and calling bureaucrats, presenting the final stack of signatures before the city council, and then holding the feet of the decision makers to the fire once they decide to go forward.
Oh you better believe there’s more ?

One Year Anniversary for!


This started one year ago, today. From something that first started as a small flicker in my mind, became reality within days, and has grown into the influential site that it is now, I am humbled by the response. God forbid it goes too long between updates, and suddenly I start getting bugged about when the next article is to go up. The year brought everything from fierce dashes of activity (five posts in a week), to dry spells (Summer for example). For one stretch I even had a regular schedule, but life is such that it’s always changing.

While it has been slow for new posts lately, there has been a steady increase in views of older posts; particularly those dealing with Rover structure and organizing were quite consistent. I like to think that some posts are timely, only speaking to those living that moment, while others are timeless. Those last type fill a niche of knowledge that one sees rarely elsewhere.

To date there have been three authors on this site, but the goal for Year Two is to expand that roster by quite a bit. Imagine ten authors each posting once a month, creating a vibrant atmosphere of dialog and knowledge sharing. Let us not get too lost in the potential of the future, for tonight we celebrate the accomplishments of the past!
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Latest Version of the New Top Rover Award – Your Thoughts

All right folks, it’s time to step up to the mic, and have your voices heard. The team has been hard at work designing the new top Rover Award, and we need your input.

Photo by Flikr user Hidde De Vries

Questions, comments, wording issues, complete disagreement with sections or requirements, requirements being not hard enough or too easy, something we missed all together; you name it, we want to hear it.

The award is broken down into six sections, which we are recommending are made into separate badges a Rover is required to earn before receiving the final Award. One option on the table is to combine sections into larger badges (Service & Leadership, Physical & Personal Development) so that there are four sub-badges before earning the top award.

Have at it! This is your award!


  • All projects must approved by the individual’s crew (or appropriate body) prior to commencement.
  • Upon completion, each individual requirement will be evaluated and approved by the crew (or appropriate body).
  • All requirements must have proof of involvement. Trip logs, reports, photographs (with captions), newspaper articles, thank-you letters, and play programs are some examples of appropriate proof.
  • The major projects should not be used for more than one requirement.
  • Two (2) reports on projects of your choice must be shared with a different Rover crew or scouting group, in addition to your own crew.
  • After the crew has approved the completion of all the award requirements, the Rover Award shall be reviewed by a higher body. Each Council should develop a youth adjudication procedure for the final award that fits their situation. If possible, the award should be reviewed by a sub-committee of a council or area Rover Roundtable, consisting of past award recipients – from various crews – and an Advisor.

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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

G’Day Mate!

Hello from Australia

Many of you know, but perhaps not all, that I am currently down in Australia for OZ Moot and Surf Moot. OZ Moot is the Australian National Moot (think jamboree but for Rovers) which this year is in Adelaide. You can follow me along with my GPS tracker as I gallivant across the country side. I’ve already uploaded some pictures and made short comments about my trip to date. To sum it all up, OZ Moot has been a blast.

Today is day 11 of the camp, Toga party night. I’m headed off to a Zoological reserve in an hour, then it’s back for dinner and the inter-contingent challenge cup. The bar opens at 7:30 and won’t stop till the early morning. Canada really needs to get off this whole dry events stuff.

More photos and posts in the days to come.


The North Star Award & other thoughts

Following up on the last post, I’ve done some chatting with some fellow Rovers and would like to share what I have so far. I’m not going to reiterate what was posted there, only what was audibly discussed off-line.


  • Whatever the final product is, it should be treated like a Masters. You go before a board of distinguished senior Rovers (and Advisor) and present your work. Now this work won’t be all new to the board, since a proposal was made to them some time before in order to check that the work would clear the standards. The senior Rovers are not adversarial, but are looking out for the best interests of the applicant. The board’s job is to push the applicant beyond their current abilities. The award should be judged at the council level, ideally by the Rover Roundtable.
  • A National archive of what Rovers have done to complete the award would be amazing. Pride for the individual, as each Rover’s work is celebrated. Exposure for the movement, as we showcase our finest to outsiders. Inspiration for younger members and Rovers, looking to one day complete the award themselves. A general ability to keep standards high across the country, due to transparency. Imagine talking to the media, and having a large reservoir of mind blowing stories of what our organization does at our senior section.
    • eg. This year alone we had 20 young adults travel to Mexico to help their counterparts re-forest 200 hectares of land, a group hiked the trans-Canada trail giving workshops along the way, a third spearheaded the planning and building of a new park in Manitoba, an international youth conference for over 600 participants was planned and executed, and another group put on a successful theatre production that sold out their entire two week run. All of these examples and more can be found online at our site …..

    See more suggestions and the North Star

New Major Rover Award

A recent monthly bulletin from our Chief Commissioner announced the opportunity to join the team developing a new award for Rovers in our country.

Which means there will be a new top-tier award for Rovers, akin to the Chief Scout and Queen’s Venturer!

So naturally I applied (on the last day possible)?.
B.P. must have been smiling down on me that week, because I was accepted onto the team of eight from across the country.

But enough about me, lets talk Rover Award!

So what is this new Award?

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