Youth Led Posts

The Power of Eleven

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, a war that shaped and rocked our society came to an end. Every year we gather, listen to our history, reflect on those who died, and remember. As a Scouter, I’m passionate about taking time to remember – not just WW1, but all wars.

I know that because of the Boer War, Scouts was founded. During the Boer War, then military officer Baden-Powell was stationed in a small South African township of Mafeking. There was a group of youth that supported the troops by carrying messages, which freed the men for military duties and kept the boys occupied during the long siege. Baden-Powell was inspired during the siege by the initiative shown by boys under pressure and realized that realized these youth had huge potential that was often left untapped.

Upon Baden-Powell’s return to the United Kingdom, he was regarded as a hero for successfully defending Mafeking and his book “Aids to Scouting” was gaining traction, which was unexpectedly used by teachers and youth organizations as their first Scouting handbook. As of 1907, Scouting was officially founded at Brownsea Island during the first ever camp with 20 youth.

I have a few program ideas for learning more about the history of Scouting here. I find it’s important to review and think about this – I know the value Scouting has added to my life and the giant impact it’s had as well. After a review from attending a local Remembrance Day service, my Cubs said that it wasn’t a positive experience. They couldn’t hear or see anything – it made it hard to stay focused and ‘absorb’ the event. They agreed it was important, but they wanted a different solution.

In 2016, I shared what we do for our program – you can read it here. Last year feedback came back that the Cubs understood the connection to Scouting and wars, but that was it. I spent the better part of the past year letting that churn in the back of my mind. How could I help the Cubs get a better understanding?

In school, they learn who fought, how many people died, why they fought… but it was their great great grandparents. It’s almost akin to learning about any other point in history – disconnected and not relevant.

The word “relevant” stuck with me. I can’t recall exactly what inspired me, but I went on a journey to explore what we have from a positive perspective. Here’s a list of things I found that is a by-product from war:

  • microwaves
  • antibotics
  • zippers
  • duct tape
  • ballpoint pens
  • instant noodles
  • freeze dry foods (frozen french fries from McDonald’s totally counts)
  • lasers (laser eye correction, CNC machines)
  • house hold cleaners (bleach)
  • fertilizers
  • photocopying
  • radar
  • Disney (morale booster)
  • computers
  • smartphones
  • NASA

Should I continue? All of today’s modern technology is from military advancements, most of which are from scientists trying to find a solution to a battle.

I watched several expressions today that told me that I hit the mark – from youth and parents. From warming up leftover meals, to accessing the internet, it all came at a high cost – millions and millions of lives.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day – I encourage all of you to attend your local ceremony and think about all the different things that pass by you. Ask your self, would I have this luxury/item/choice if someone didn’t die for it?


Video: Scouts in the First World War:

previously, this article said: “On the 11th minute, of the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month…”. This was pointed out by a reader and corrected. 

A Crafty Celebration for Diwali

This year, Diwali fell on our meeting night. Between Remembrance Day program and Diwali themed program, we felt that since we do our own program as close to Remembrance Day as possible that we would do something fun for Diwali.

In the past, we’ve purchased pre-made Diya lamps, added wax and wicks and just had the Cubs paint them. We’ve also purchased an assortment of sweets for the Cubs to try. During our review in 2014, the Cubs indicated that they would have preferred something a bit more hands on. When we mentioned it at Howlers Council, the Cubs wanted to be a bit more crafty. I accepted the challenge and hosted a Cub Scouter Craft night.

We ended up making our own candle holders (so they are reusable) out of flour and water (also eco-friendly and can be composted) and a sweet that took some testing out to get right. Below are the recipes.

The Cubs absolutely loved being able to make things and have requested that we do more ‘cooking’ this year. I’m going to call it a win and success. Originally I was worried that it was going to be too ambitious and that the Cubs wouldn’t of enjoyed it. I am thrilled that wasn’t the case.

DIY Diya Lamps

prep time: 8 minutes
bake time (optional): 20 minutes (otherwise air dry for 1-2 days)
total time:
 10-30 minutes

Easy to make and quick dough to make shapes. This is what we did to make our lamps. Any clay recipe will work.


  • Flour
  • Water
  • Food colouring

Materials needed:

  • Food colouring
  • Ziplock bags
  • Bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Tea lights (1 per Cub)

Special note:

This can be done two ways – baking in an oven or air drying. We have access to an oven at our meeting space so we opted to bake them.
If using the oven, preheat to 350 Fahrenheit (175/under 200 Celsius). It’ll take about 20-25 minutes to bake and then 5-10 minutes to cool to the touch.


This will take some trial and error. I suggest making this ahead of time so that the Cubs have more time to shape their creations. I found that 1 cup of flour to 2/3 cup of water gave a nice consistency.

  1. Put flour into a bowl, add water. The dough should be able to hold together on its own – similar to how cookie dough will form. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes so it’ll be solid. Form small balls that are about the size of a golf ball. This will give the kids plenty to work with. You’ll have to play a bit with adding more flour to make sure it’s a good mix.
  2. Place each ball of dough into a ziplock bag. Give Cubs the option to add food coloring (2-3 drops is more than enough). Show them how to squish the dough and incorporate the dye. It’ll be good to give parents a heads up so their youth can wear a spare shirt underneath that’s okay to get some dye on.
  3. Once there’s no more liquid dye in the bag, they can pull out the dough and work it more to get the dye either completely mixed in or get a fancy swirl pattern.
  4. To make the shape, flatten the dough. Pinch the dough together to make a wall. We found that pinching 4 corners worked best to make the shape. Use the tealight to press into the bottom to make sure that it fits and that it’s flattened.
  5. Place on a flat surface. If you’re opting to use the oven, bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until hard. Remove and allow to cool. Otherwise, you’ll need to take them home and let them dry out over 1-2 days until they are hard.

Optional: Decorate with paint, beads, sequins, whatever you have available. Due to time constraints and how we organized the meeting, we didn’t do this.

Other ways to have fun making lamps:

Paraffin or soy wax chips can be bought by the bag from craft stores or online from Amazon, as can ready waxed wicks.

  • Hollowed out oranges make fragrant burners. You can also use coconut or sea shells, vintage tea or egg cups, and jars that can be painted in different colours.
  • Warm the wax and pop the wick into your chosen holder. Rest it on a stand or hold in place using tongs. Pour in the wax and allow to set. This will take longer and may not work out for a meeting but a camp.

I’ve never done any of these methods.

Coconut Laddu Sweets (also know as Snowballs)

prep time: 10 minutes
total time: 10 minutes

No bake coconut laddu (snowballs). They’re the perfect dessert or snack for people who want something sweet made quickly with 3 ingredients.


  • Shredded Coconut
  • Maple Syrup (or Agave Syrup)
  • Flour (or Almond Flour)


  • Ziplock bags
  • Measuring spoons

Special Note:

Using almond flour is highly recommended. You can DIY this by taking almonds and running them through a food processor. Once the almonds are crushed and in a powder like form, it’ll work the same as flour. Just be careful if you have someone with a nut allergy.


I used 1/8 Cup of coconut, 1 tablespoon of flour, and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, roughly. This doesn’t have to be an exact measurement.

  1. Add all items to the ziplock and get the Cubs to mix away. It takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes for the cubs to fully mix.
  2. Take out of the ziplock and make balls with your hands.
  3. Enjoy!

Optional: roll in coconut on a ball to coat the balls.

Extras can be kept in a sealed container (handy those ziplock bags) in the fridge for up to a week.


  • If the dough is too dry, add more syrup and if it’s too watery, add more shredded coconut or almond flour.
  • Feel free to use store-bought almond flour or blend raw almonds in a food processor or powerful blender.
  • I’ve only made this recipe using maple syrup, but I think any syrup will do.

I pre-made a ball and gave small samples to the Cubs before they started their sweet. It gave them a good indication of what it should look like. No one could guess what was in it aside from the coconut. Several of the Cubs referred to it as a ‘power ball’ and have requested that they make it for going on hikes.

Happy Diwali!

Scouter Robots

Inspired by a kickstarter for Little Codr (, a card game that introduces young kids (ages 4+) to the basics of coding, our team at Elsie Roy was able to use the card game to build a team building program that was fun.
Here’s how it works:
  1. Cubs in their lairs make a “team”. Each team is assigned a Scouter to be their robot. Robots can only move along the lines of the gym, and stop where two lines intersect. Each Robot starts in a different spot in the gym. They have a goal to meet.
  2. Each team is given 8 cards and only gets to keep 5. Together, the Cubs must work together to select their cards. They then have to place them in order to have their Robots move towards the goal.
  3. Each card is one action. If the card says “step forward”, the Robot will move between where the lines cross. Any intersection stops a move.
  4. The Scouter leading the activity will have “bugs” that come up in the code, often having the Robot change directions, undo their last movement, turn, etc.
  5. Once every Robot has completed their move, the teams are given another 8 cards and the process is repeated until the Robots complete their objective.
is is a super fun activity and normally takes a full round for everyone to get the hang of it. It quickly became a favourite and is a regular idea on the Howler’s planning sheets. Bonus that it doubles as a STEM, creative expression, team building exercise, and also a leadership exercise.
You don’t have to have the card game to play this, it just makes it a lot easier.
Happy coding!

Cub Car Camp

Cub cars – probably one of the longest standing traditions of every Cub Scout’s experience in the last 50 years or so. I love how a simple block of wood can be transformed into a hot rod or a banana – it all depends on how creative the Cub is (or, isn’t). My first group I was a Cub Scouter with spent 7 weeks making Cub Cars. From January into March it was nothing but Cub Cars. We always had to be prepared for the one youth that missed the last week’s meeting to catch up. The group didn’t see a point in sending the cars home as next to none of the families had the tools needed to transform the wood. Normally a kit would go home and never return.
When I went into my first role as Akela, I refused to do Cub Cars. I saw it as a giant waste of program and a constant pain. I only get to see the Cubs for approximately 40 meetings – why would I spend almost a fifth of it building the car? Especially when no one wanted to enter the area race?
Enter Cub Andrew – he was a third-year Cub and REALLY, I mean REALLY wanted to make a Cub Car. So, I thought about it and concluded there was a better solution – a camp. Enter the first Cub Car camp.
We held it at the hall we met at regularly, had 8 Cubs, and a great time learning about wood shop tools, painting, cleaning up the local park and having great eats. To think back to what the camp started as to where it is now – hard to believe.
In the second year, we improved the camp and moved it away from our regular meeting space as we had more kids coming out. The third year, we had a group carpentry camp. As great as it was, I felt it was far too much happening in different directions. Managing 18 Cubs and 8 Scouts on 1, yes, 1 bandsaw was a nightmare. Barely was able to finish before the end of camp. The band saw was going till well after 11 pm on Saturday.
That was my last year with that group. When I joined up with my next group, we did the wood cutting in our regular meeting space on a Saturday in about 8 hours (6 Cubs, included meals, no race). That’s how I continued to run Cub Car Camp (day camp edition) with this group.
When I joined my latest group, Elsie Roy, I was determined to return to my home roots and have Cub Car camp return to a full weekend event. I took us back to the camp that I held Cub Car camp at my second year and haven’t stopped. Mostly because I get along great with the ranger and know the site well enough to draw it out for others to see.
With Elsie, I invite 2 other Cub Packs to join us. Not only do we link, but we share resources and overall have made the camp my pride and joy in the past couple of years. From designing on Friday to dropping the bass on Sunday afternoon for the rally, Cub Car Camp is probably going to be a Scouting Career highlight.
When it comes to the schedule, it’s all milestone based. As in, before bed on Friday night, all Cubs must have their designs completed and signed off by the lead carpenter (about a half hour into designing some Cubs are already done so I’ll put on a movie). In the morning after breakfast, Cubs cut their designs out and trace it onto their cars. By 10 am, we enter the “When Machines Run, We Don’t Run” and break off into 3 rotations of an hour. There is only ever 1 rotation doing the cutting, the other two are off doing a different program such as a hike and emergency shelters in the backwoods of the site.
This wiggles a bit depending on how many saws and kids we have. Typically all Cubs get to make the first cut and make the choice to either keep cutting or have the Scouters take over. An hour or so out from dinner we all come back together, have a quick game and get to sanding. Post dinner, we start painting.
So long as painting is completed before bed on Saturday, the rest is cake. In recent years, we’ve been able to get painting done by 8 pm and have a campfire. Sunday is all about the weigh-ins and wheels. Once all Cubs are packed up, they break into two groups – one that are putting on their wheels and the other is doing weigh-ins. I have found that very rarely do Cubs need to have weight removed – normally it’s all about the add. We found that hot gluing the weights on helps make the process super fast (blasphemy to some, but we make the weights part of the design as much as we can).
Cubs that are done both then are kicked down onto the field to play a game as we set-up the track and transform the hall into a race den.

Once lunch is served and everyone is settled behind the rope, I play a song of choice (Eye of the Tiger, Are You Ready to Rumble, Kick Start my Heart) and cut it off before the lyrics start and move to a new playlist that is always playing softly to fill the void when I’m not on the mic.
Below you will see various resources including:
Schedule (Google Sheets, view only. You have to add to yours or download a copy)
Name Tag (PDF) (fill in the name and print, page 1 is Cubs and page 2 is for Scouters)
Signage (PDF)
Template for Scouts Canada Cub Cars (wheels are in different position, blacked out space for no cutting)
Car theme playlist (link to YouTube playlist)
Car themed movie playlist (Google Doc, view only)
Cub Cars Rules and Regulations (Scouts Canada PDF)
Image gallery from camps past – click on an image to see full image:

The Blind Cub Scout

English_braille_sample from WikipediaEnglish_braille_sample from Wikipedia

Sample of English Braille from Wikipedia

How do you teach Cubs about how lucky they are to be an able bodied person? Why, over two meetings to expose them to different forms of communication and have them go blind for the night. For the month of January, the Concrete Jungle Pack explored the world of the disabled.

Making A Six

There are 16 Cubs running around, and you have to break them into smaller groups to help manage them a little easier. You know that Johnny and Sam are good friends and play well, but you’ve noticed that they’ve taken a shining to Frankie. Harry is a bit of a trouble maker, and Sally is proud and independent. It’s not easy to divide Cubs into Six’s, but here are my general rules of thumb.

A Six from 1st Maple Scouts

A Six from 1st Maple Scouts