A short 161 years ago in Paddington, UK – Lord Baden Powell entered the world. In his fiftieth year, Boy Scouts started, a worldwide organization that has helped, inspired, challenged, and I like to believe changed the lives of hundreds of thousands. I count myself lucky to be one of the individuals who has found a place within Scouts Canada to help carry on the vision.
Without being a Scout, I have no idea where I would be. I would have never met my friends, never mind my husband. I would have never found a place that accepted me for me (here’s a blog post I wrote ages ago on how Scouting helped me with my illness – http://oncearover.ca/2012/12/17/mission-based-healing-bipolar-doesnt-mean-a-pole-short-of-a-tripod/). I would have never started End2End Media – nor started half of the things that are a creative outlet for me.
In the 10 years I’ve been a member, I’ve worked directly with 180+ youth. I’ve watched them grow, have first experiences, and learn more about themselves in our time together than they realize. I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours a year towards Scouts. There have been a few that I’m pretty sure I crossed a thousand volunteer hours (camps are auto 48 for just the event, never mind the prep). I wouldn’t change a single hour I’ve given as it’s given me a reason to learn, grow, and a life time of adventure.
Today is special to me. Scouts is special to me. It’s my one thing that has been with me since everything fell apart. It’s how I get to flex my maternal muscle and have sweet memories I would have wanted to have with my son. I work hard because some of the kids have nothing else – and I know that feeling far too well. I give my all, because I have no idea if one activity sparks a career path or is the moment one of the Cubs trusted in my care needs more than anything else because of whatever reason in their world.
Without BP founding Scouts, I would be lost. I use to play the “what if” game, but it’s become impossible to come up with anything else I want to fill my time with. It’s been challenging the last two months as I have needed to focus more on my health. One of the key indicators of my mental health is when I don’t want to go to see my Cubs and team. When I was first working on a plan of action to regain my footing in the early days of diagnoses, Scouting was immediately slotted in. Because I was accepted. I was encouraged. I was welcomed with open arms.
Some days I can confidently say that Scouting is why I’m still alive and here today. Scouting showed me a new world (literally, I got to go to Australia!). Scouting gave me my new family. Scouting has given me a career and gusto to dabble in entrepreneurship. Scouting lets me grieve in a healthy way for my son who left this world too soon.
Thank you, BP for everything. I doubt you expected the impact that your program for boys would have on people all around the world. From an old, grateful, cranky Akela – thank you.