Scouts seek fair vendors

Scouts Connor Kimberley, Liam Snow, Girl Guide Sydney Snow, and Scout leader Kent Ratcliffe. VOICE PHOTO

Group fundraising for trip to 2019 World Jamboree

BY SAMUEL PICCOLO

Three Scouts from Fonthill’s local troup are fundraising in advance—well in advance—for their 2019 trip to the World Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, West Virginia. The cost for each Scout to attend is $3850, and it’s for this reason that the group is planning so far ahead. The Scouts are currently seeking vendors for a craft show on April 14 at Fonthill United Church.

“They have to raise all of it,” said Kent Ratcliffe, the Scouts’ leader. Assisting Ratcliffe in the fundraising efforts is Erin Snow, whose son Liam is one of those planning on attending the jamboree.

Ratcliffe said that part of the Scouts’ responsibility is to find ways to come up with the money.

“This isn’t about us fundraising for them,” said Ratcliffe, referring to himself and Snow. “This is about them raising money for them. We can facilitate the process, but it’s the Scouts who are really doing it.”

“We’ve already done a bottle drive and raised five hundred and three dollars,” said Connor Kimberley, who is 12 and joined the Fonthill troup after moving from Hamilton.

“We’ve shovelled some driveways, too.”

Liam Snow is 13 and started in the Beaver program when he was just five.

“We started off then just playing games and making crafts, but once I got into Cubs and Scouts I started to spend more time outside and learning survival skills. My favourite thing to do is build structures,” he said.

His younger sister Sydney is in Girl Guides, and their mother said that she has fond memories of her time spent in the Guides. “It’s probably the leadership skills that stick with you most,” said Snow.

Ratcliffe spent his youth in the Scouts as well.

“I still have my mess kit,” he said. “Not my uniform though.”

The World Jamboree will feature 161 national Scout groups representing 223 countries and territories, with an expected attendance of somewhere between 30,000 and 35,000.

“It’s the same basic Scout structure all over. Of course there are cultural differences, and that will be one of the things that will be great for our Scouts to see,” said Ratcliffe.

The Jamboree’s venue in West Virginia, the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, is the permanent host of the American National Scout Jamboree. Spread over 14,000 acres, the reserve is the product of about $100 million in donations. There are ten different adventure areas, with mountain biking, BMX, skateboarding, archery, rifle shooting, and zip lines, among other activities.

“There are man-made lakes,” said Ratcliffe. “The place is like Disneyland for outdoorsy kids—so really nothing like Disneyland.”

Scouts are to attend the event in a nine-to-one ratio with an adult leader. Because there are only three local Scouts planning on going in 2019 (Fonthill is a small troup), the group has teamed up with Scouts from Newfoundland, who will make up the remainder of the troup’s nine. The Newfoundland Scouts have been doing their own fundraising, including, Ratcliffe said, an online auction that Scouts here intend to come up with items for.

“Once we’re down there, we’ll be joined-up to camp with three other groups of ten from elsewhere in the world, and the Scouts will have a real opportunity to get to know each other,” said Ratcliffe.

He expects that this experience will remain with them for their whole lives.

“When Liam was going door-to-door to talk to people about the bottle drive, he ran into a man who had attended the 1955 World Jamboree in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” Ratcliffe said. “You can only ever go once in your life, since it happens every four years and you have to be between fourteen and seventeen to go—no exceptions.”

Ratcliffe said that he hopes the Scouts will come back from the 2019 event and tell current Cubs how great an experience it is. “They’ll be the toe in the water, and then they can convince the Scouts to start thinking about fundraising for 2023 in South Korea.”

The Beaver level of the Fonthill troup is overflowing, said Ratcliffe, with a sizeable waiting list. But there are just a handful of Scouts.

“We’ve tried to resuscitate the program, and we need to have more kids come up the pipeline into the Scouts,” said Ratcliffe. “We need more adults, too.”

Ratcliffe started volunteering with the program when his kids joined it, thinking that it would be a good way to spend time with them in a non-sport context.

Erin Snow said that vendors sought for the fair are primarily purveyors of handmade goods, but she said that anyone will be considered. Those interested may contact her by email at [email protected]

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