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Cub Scouts celebrate 100th anniversary at camp

Centennial camp - More than 600 cubs and 200 leaders took up residence this week at Camp Everton for the Canadian Cub Jamboree and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cub Scouts. The camp has a “Jungle Book” theme. LEFT: Camp chief Nancy Dawson, Cub Xavier Pitman and his dad, leader Matt Pitman, stand at the directional post that shows the distance each pack travelled to attend camp Everton. The total distance travelled is close to 26,000km. TOP RIGHT: Xavier practices shooting toilet paper at the Banderlog Village, one of the camp activities where youth must ward off the Banderlog monkeys (leaders) from a treehouse village at the camp. ABOVE RIGHT: A group plays quidditch. BELOW: The finished crest that each participant will receive by the end of camp.                photos by Jaime Myslik

Cub Scouts celebrate 100th anniversary at camp

by Jaime Myslik

EVERTON - More than 600 youths and 200 leaders and volunteers have taken up residence at Camp Everton for the fourth annual Canadian Cub Jamboree and to celebrate the Cub Scouts’ 100th anniversary.  

Participants came from coast to coast, with representatives from both British Columbia and Newfoundland.

The Cubs and leaders had a shocking welcome on July 24, when Everton experienced one of the few thunderstorms and rainy evenings of the summer.

“I’ve got a couple of kids that are quite nervous about that stuff, but we had a good talk ... we survived it, we’re good and now we’re moving forward so they’re feeling okay,” said 27th Guelph Cub pack leader Matt Pitman.

“Now that’s going to be an accomplishment and a memory - that they remember that storm, like that’s a big deal. It’s all part of it.”

Cubs range in age from 8 to 10 years old and for many the jamboree, which runs until July 30, is their first time away from home for a full week.  

“It’s a big accomplishment for them, for being away that long,” Pitman said. “Especially the younger kids, but they get to see 600 other kids at a camp.

“It’s just a larger scale than anything they’d normally do for the most part.”

Pitman explained one of the fundamentals of Scouts Canada is to build leadership at all levels of participation. At big events like the jamboree, older participants are expected to step up and take a leadership role.

“The third year Cubs, they’re part of the leadership team ... when we plan our campsite there’s always a couple older kids in with the younger kids ... they can help them and teach them about how they’re setting up their stuff ... it sort of passes down so they act as the leaders to the group,” Pitman explained.

The Canadian Cub Jamboree is to get kids prepared and excited for the Canadian Jamboree for Scouts, which happens every four years.

It all began when Scouters wanted the Cubs to take part in a celebration for Scouting’s 100th anniversary in 2007.

“We decided that we wanted to have a Cub jamboree the same time so ... in 2007 there were jamborees held all over the world to celebrate 100 years of Scouting - so most countries had their own country jamboree,” said camp chief Nancy Dawson.

She explained when leaders suggested having a jamboree for Cubs they were told “Cubs can’t do jamborees.” However, they held one anyway and on Aug. 1, the jamboree participated in the sunrise anniversary celebration acknowledging “the dawn of a new century of Scouting.”     

“So we’ve done it every three years and luckily it coincided with the 100 years,” Dawson said.

One of the most popular activities for kids at the Canadian Jamboree is trading crests (badges) with fellow Scouts. The Canadian Cub Jamboree encourages Cubs to experience crest trading at an earlier age.

“The kids have been really keen on finding the other groups and trading their crests and that type of thing,” Pitman said. “Some of our guys only have a certain amount of crests, they’re really keen on finding you know the group from BC or the group from Nova Scotia type of stuff to try and meet them and talk to them and hear about them.”

Some of the packs even developed crests specific to the jamboree. The 27th Guelph pack designed a crest and had it printed in colour, as well as an additional 50 white versions and 50 blue versions. These patches are called “ghosts” because they’re more rare.

Pitman’s son Xavier arrived at camp on July 24 with 10 coloured crests and five each of the white and blue. By the next afternoon he’d already traded three blues, two whites and five coloured crests.

“They’ve been like hot potatoes,” Dawson said. “It’s awesome.”

However, because the boys had to fundraise to receive their crests and some don’t necessarily like to trade, the camp is giving each participant a camp crest with seven additional sections that border the perimeter of the crest.

The youth receive one of the seven perimeter crests each day of the camp and will have a complete set by closing ceremonies.      

“This is sort of like a cool special souvenir with memories of the people and friends you’ve made and ... these are some of the best of the souvenirs to get because they really have the memories attached to them,” Pitman said.

Meals are all catered, and the Cubs and volunteers have set up a small tent city on the Camp Everton site where they are living for the week-long camp.

Throughout the day the Cubs at the camp attend three activity sessions in the morning and three in the afternoon.

The activities range from a daily swim to rocket launching, Cub Olympics, quiddich games and dinosaur digs, for a total of 30.

One of the five days is spent at Bingemans water park in Kitchener and on Wednesday the jamboree held a special centennial celebration.

Kids were able to choose which activities they wanted to participate in or if they wanted to spend the day relaxing. There was a giant celebration cake and in the evening they held a ceremonial campfire.

One of Scouts Canada’s biggest mandates is to help kids experience the outdoors.

“It’s very important in the Scouting movement to get the kids outdoors to get them to learn skills and they’re life skills ... they’re survivor skills,” Dawson explained.

“Maybe they’ll save somebody’s life someday, maybe not - but they’re life skills, they’re learning how to take care of yourself, learning how to cook, learning how to plan because as they go through the program they do more and more of their own planning.”

But the organizers of the Canadian Cub Jamboree are also aware of parental and child anxiety about being separated for the first time.

The camp has its own private Facebook group where leaders are posting photos of the Cubs, and where Cubs can send messages to their parents and where parents can check in and see what their children are doing.

“(The) parents were really excited so I’m having to make sure I post to it because they are all commenting,” Pitman said.

“We have a group as well and stuff so I post it a couple of places, but they all got the link ahead of time so they are all watching what’s going on and they’re excited.”

July 29, 2016


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