32nd Scouting Movement alive and well at St. Matthias
First and most importantly, thank you, the Community of St. Matthias, for your on-going support of Scouting activities in this area. Your generous offering of safe meeting space continues to make a real difference in the lives of area youth. We continue to be an outdoor-focussed group. Here is an update of our program so far this year and a glimpse of some of our plans going forward
By the numbers, currently:
The Beaver Colony (youth aged 5-7) has 20 youth registered.
The Cub Pack (youth aged 8-10) has 28 youth registered.
The Scout Troop (youth aged 11-14) has 17 youth registered and is one of the larger groups in the city – our newest recruit joined in January.
There are 22 registered adults delivering activities each week.
Chuck Spelay continues to keep our books and us in order as our Registrar and Treasurer.
Helen Dowd our long suffering “Cookie” provides support across all groups.
This year, at the broadest organizational level mandatory training for leaders and improved program standards for youth has been our focus. Leaders continue to devote countless hours, beyond the weekly program, to training and certification. We boast one of the fast growing Scout Groups in the area which is in no small measure due to the quality and diversity of our leaders and their boundless creativity. Keep in mind, in 2003, the 32nd St. Matthias Scout group at 7 youth and 4 leaders total!
We have just completed our 5th annual bottle and spare change drive in the neighbourhood surrounding St. Matthias. This is our sole source of supplementary income and we managed to raise $1,700. This fall we hiked into a remote alpine lodge then climbed Mount Marcy, the biggest mountain in New York State. We attended a weekend “area” camp with about one hundred other Scouts near Westport, Ontario. We have completed several day hikes into cabins in Gatineau Park. The group has benefited from several guest speakers, including a World War II veteran for Remembrance Day who regaled the youth with his stories of being shot down…twice! We heard from Canada’s oldest Scout (now into his 90s) and still active as the Curator of the Scouts Canada Museum.. We have also been scuba diving and for the first time, participated in a film festival on canoeing. The kids enjoyed spooky hayrides at Saunders Farm. The area offered a day-long leadership camp and we had very good representation from our group. A few weeks ago we went winter camping at Otter Lake, Quebec which included building snow shelters for sleeping. In the coming weeks we will be training for Klondike days, which is another area event involving hundreds of Scouts. Our plans for this summer include evening, weekend, canoe trips, culminating in our week-long remote canoe trip in Northern Quebec.
The 32nd Beaver Colony enjoyed a great first half to the 2012-13 season. In addition to the ever-popular trip to the Preston Street Fire Station, the Beavers took part in several other out-of-pond activities such as linking up with the Scouts at the Central Experimental Farm. We are regular visitors to the Arboretum and for wintry hikes on the Mer Bleu Bog boardwalk. The Colony also revived its participation in the Apple Day fundraiser, and distributed many apples in and around the Hintonburg Community Centre and gathered several hundred dollars in support of Scouting activities. The beavers were also very excited and engaged in a visit from Constable Andrew Milton from the Ottawa Police Service. Beavers continue to work on their Law, Promise, and Motto in preparation for their investiture ceremony. The Beavers are also planning a sleepover, “Among the Trains”, at the Museum of Science and Technology.
On the horizon we have the ever-popular Kub Kar races and this year we are hosting the 96th Ottawa Scout Group.
Planning for our Cub winter camp and week long summer camp is underway, not to mention a return to the still waters for Quebec for a multi-day extended canoe trip in July that will end the current Scouting year.
That, in a nutshell, is a small sampling of the activities we have been involved with. Through fresh air and challenge, our hope is that these activities further build the confidence and character of these youth, helping them to become productive and self-sufficient citizens. All St. Matthias Parishioners deserve a mighty Beaver Tail Slap of appreciation for it is your contribution that allows us to keep the OUT in Scouting!!!
Yours in Scouting, Steve Mihorean, 32nd Group Commissioner
We are busy preparing for the upcoming Scouting year - if it isn't hectic it isn't St. Matthias 32nd scouting! We have marshalled a very able and committed stable of volunteer leaders ready to deliver outdoor-focused programming to area youth. All sections of the 32nd Ottawa Scout Group will begin meeting during the week of September 12, occupying their usual times: Scouts (ages 11-13) on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm; Cubs (ages 8-10) on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm; and Beavers (ages 5-7) on Thursdays at 6:30 pm.
The Scout and Cub sections are already at or close to the maximum size for our meeting space; but, as our main intake group, we will be looking to recruit more youth for the Beaver "Colony".
Current planning includes plenty of camps and outdoor activities. Early in the year plans are already crystallizing for a return hiking trip to Lake Placid New York. Last year ended with a week-long canoe adventure up the historic Rideau canal for Scouts and a week-long area camp for Cubs. We’re hoping to try a new initiative and have the budding young journalists/authors in each section give you some first- hand reports about 32nd Scouting events in future St. Matthias newsletters.
This is also a year of transition. I will be moving to the role of Group Commissioner and Chuck will be taking on the task of Group Registrar and Treasurer. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask either of us.
As always, we remain grateful to Reverend Joan and the Community of St. Matthias for offering area youth a safe haven to meet. It is making a real difference in the lives of kids for which you should share enormous pride.
Yours in Scouting: Steve Mihorean, Chuck Spelay
The 32nd St. Matthias Scouting movement continues to be a very vibrant and outdoor-focused group. Again this year, all sections are fully subscribed, with waiting lists. In total there are nearly 70 youth aged 5-16 who come to St. Matthias weekly for Scout programming. We also have 15 adult leaders who are supporting the programming across the Beaver Scout (ages 5-7), Cub Scout (ages 8-10), and Scout (11-14) sections.
The latter section has more than tripled in size this year, largely due to the adventurous programming being offered. For example, the fall began with a couple of hikes - including a weekend climb to the fire tower in Gatineau Park – which helped prepare them for our most ambitious venture yet: climbing in the Adirondacks, in upper New York State. Thanks to the advance logistical work of Scouter Dan (Gates), we sailed through the border without any problems. We had set a goal to get every single one of the Scouts in attendance to the top of two mountains over two days - and that goal was accomplished! The kids responded admirably to the 8+ hours of hiking each day, providing encouragement for those who faltered, and, on occasion carrying the loads for others. They learned a lot that weekend, not only about mountain climbing, but about the importance of teamwork, eating proper food for fuel, and maintaining a positive attitude.
The rest of the fall has been spent teaching the Scouts skills that will see them through the next few years, with some early application at our camp in late November on the shores of Christie Lake just west of Perth. The theme of this camp was "self sufficiency" - meaning each Scout was expected to carry all their own gear, food and shelter to the remote camp, set up the camp, cook their meals and break down the camp at the end of the weekend. Once again, they completed their tasks with enthusiasm and a growing sense of independence.
A sure sign of the evolution and popularity of our program is evidenced by the presence of our first full-time paid (in please and thank you’s) camp cook (Helen Dowd)! She reports that, the St. Matthias kitchen has been the planning headquarters for the 32nd Cook Crew since the autumn of 2009. In that lovely, large space volunteer cooks have hatched plans for the feeding of Cubs, Scouts and their fearless leaders at various camp locations. We've been to Camp Legewade, Camp Awacamenj Mino and lately Camp Opemikon. With each camp, I have appreciate more and more, the perseverance of our ancestors who made do without cars, running water, indoor plumbing, electricity and cell phones. Each camp has been an adventure and learning experience, but as the meals are served, we are rewarded by that great moment when the 'silent salute' is given, those precious few seconds when people are too busy eating to talk. From Cubs and Scouts, that is high praise indeed!
The Scout Group is looking forward Scout Sunday in February, followed (possibly) by a 32nd Scouting open house for all Parishioners. The entire 32nd Group remains grateful to Joan and the Parish of St. Matthias for their unwavering support and use of space. We could not deliver this important and successful program without you!