YARMOUTH, N.S. – It took an hour to give out awards to a group of deserving scouts and guides in Yarmouth County recently, but what brought these boys and girls onto the stage was years in the making.
Scouts Canada and Girls Guides held a Southwest Nova Awards Ceremony at the Mariners Centre in Yarmouth on June 16, which celebrated youth achievements in scouting and guiding.
“These individuals have worked so hard throughout the year to get these awards,” said scouting leader Jeff Little, who said scouts and guides earn badges at all of their respective levels, which includes community and service badges. But the major awards take things a step further.
“It’s a big deal for them to reach these awards,” Little said. “Each of these awards usually takes three to four years to earn.”
This was the first time an award ceremony such as this one was held in Yarmouth. A provincial one takes place in Halifax but the scout troop decided to put their travel plans towards Fantasy Camp instead. So the idea came about for a local awards presentation that included a meal.
Little said scouting and guiding are healthy in Yarmouth County, and those wanting to join can go to the scouting and guiding websites to register. While this season has come to a close, things will start up again in September, he said.
Crystle George, who is a leader and volunteers with the guiding district, said it was nice to have an awards event that included the scouts and guides.
“I want to congratulate all of the youth who are here today to receive awards. I know that a lot of work goes into these awards. They help to shape who these young people are,” she said. “They are our future leaders, many of them are already our leaders. They have developed such great confidence. Guiding and scouting gives them such great opportunities.”
In addition to the year-end awards handed out – both to youth in the Scouting and Guiding movement, along with adult leaders and volunteers – the major awards included:
• Guides: Lady Baden Powell Award: Megan Devine, Alexis Hersey, Olivia LeBlanc, Olivia MacLean, Jasmine Muise, Jillian Surette
• Cubs: Seeonee Award: Noah Barry, Zander Bean, Javen Earle
• Pathfinders: Canada Cord: Teagan Cunningham, Hannah Saulnier, Olivea Sweeney
• Scouts: Chief Scout Award: Carter Higgins, Alex Little, Ryan Nakpil, Lucas Rodney
• Rangers: Chief Commissioners Gold Award and NS Youth Commitment Award: Maria LeBlanc, Emma Little, Madison Sweeney.
Madison Sweeney was also awarded a Gold Thanks Pin and a $500 bursary.
“Madison is a remarkable young woman . . . she has amazing ideas and a wealth of guiding knowledge that she has gained over the past 13 years,” said George, adding from a volunteering perspective she has been a tremendous asset to the district, helping to lead and organize multiple events, always sure to combine fun and safety. “She'll be attending Acadia university in the fall and a very lucky Brownie unit in Canning is going to have an amazing leader.”
Scouter Alex Little served as the ceremony’s emcee. He’s one of the young people from the area who will be attending the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia in 2019. Asked following the ceremony what being involved in scouting means to him, he said, “I think it’s a great opportunity. It really does teach leadership and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a good mix between learning and having fun.”
He spoke of the incredible generosity of the parents and other volunteers who devote their time as leaders and said every minute in spends in scouting teaches him something new that will be helpful and valuable to him in his future.
“It’s just one great big lesson,” he said.