The local Beaver, Cub and Scout packs that meet weekly in St. Davids are badly in need of volunteer leaders for each of the three groups.
Kevin Van Veen, who heads the Scout pack, says ideally they should each have three leaders. They require two to hold a meeting, and while they normally do have two or three at each, several of them have been volunteering for decades and are ready to retire, but they need to find replacements.
His kids have gone through the Scout system, and between the pull of his family, with older kids, and work, he is finding the work load overwhelming and would like to take a secondary role. He’d be happy to continue to be involved, but not in charge of the day-to-day operations.
A couple of the Beaver and Cub leaders are ready to retire, and also need to pass the torch, he says.
“One leader has been doing it for 30 years. She’s retired from her job. She’s ready to let go of this.”
Others are having health problems and find it too much, he says — they’re ready for some new, younger leaders.
“We’re ready to move on to the next step, which is having younger leaders who will bring their children into the group,” he says.
If that doesn’t happen, the Scouting groups might have to fold, “and that would be really lousy,” he says.
The St. Davids packs, which meet in the St. Davids-Queenston United Church, are the only ones in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and have about 30 members, both boys and girls — Scouting has been co-ed for decades, says Van Veen.
They’ve tried to recruit parents from within their packs, but that hasn’t helped, he says.
“We’ve asked and asked over and over again. We’ve sent out a recent plea for help, and nothing.”
Although it’s a perfect way to volunteer and spend time with their own children, some of the leaders don’t have kids or theirs have finished with scouting, but their parents have stayed on.
It’s not an onerous work load, says Van Veen. It requires one night a week for regular meetings, and some camping trips throughout the year, with flexible times, for Scouts and Cubs. Beavers might have a couple of sleep-overs a year.
Scouts meet Monday evenings, Beavers Tuesday, and Cubs Wednesday.
There is some training involved, mostly online, and a police check is necessary, and it helps to want to have a positive influence on the lives of the kids, to want to be a teacher to them.
“It’s one of the most rewarding things you will ever do,” says Van Veen. “Parents let us know what a great influence it is for the kids. And it’s good to watch the kids grow up, get to university or college and do well. I’m always really impressed to see them mature and get out in the world. To know you’ve had even a little part of it, in helping them in some small way, feels pretty good.”
If you are interested in becoming a leader, contact Van Veen at email@example.com.