One lucky local Scout is joining 6,500 youth, leaders and volunteers for the largest scouting experience in Canada this weekend.“I decided to go on it because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience pretty much unless I go back as a Venturer or Rover to help out. So, there’s only one opportunity to be an actual camper there,” said Elmira’s Annie Straus, 11.
A part of the 1st Elmira Scout troop, she is heading to Alberta with her uncle’s troop from Burlington, the 13th Burlington Scout Group. From July 6-13 campers from all over Canada will meet for the Scouts Canada 2013 Canadian Scout Jamboree at Camp Woods, Sylvan Lake in Alberta.
For the Elmira Scout this event reaffirms her love of adventure. After a year with the Girl Guides left her wanting more freedom, she joined the Scouts this year for the first time. Annie enjoyed the activities and challenges of being part of the troop, showing that this 11-year-old is a tough cookie.
“At Girl Guides I found they didn’t really let us out into the nature. All of our camps were sheltered in a building. In Scouts you go out and camp in tents, they let you smash cars with sledge hammers and a whole bunch of other stuff.”
For the Scout who is not afraid to try new things, the Jamboree is just the latest adventure. On her list of new experiences is one item she is a little nervous about: “It’s kind of nerve-wracking and stressful because this is my first time flying, so it’s just kind of scary,” she said.
She concedes that a Scout has to try new things and face their fears. In fact, Straus is no stranger to new challenges.
“I just decided to join the Scouts because I had a couple of friends that did it and they said it was pretty cool. I decided I’ll give this a try,” she said.
At the Jamboree, participants will enjoy camping outdoors, whitewater rafting, canoeing, snorkeling, hiking, zip lining, rappelling, archery, orienteering and raft building among other activities. Scouts will also visit Alberta’s attractions such as the Calgary Stampede and something Strauss is looking forward to exploring: the West Edmonton Mall. Along with activities, the Scouts will have a chance to get to know our neighbours to the west.
“Scouts are known for helping others,” Andrew Price, chief commissioner and chair of the board of governors for Scouts Canada, said last week. “We will have thousands of youth and adults coming to Alberta in just under two weeks, and we want to lend a hand where we can during our visit to this great province.”
Most of all, Strauss is looking for some time away from her immediate family, and a chance to spend time with another family member, she said.
“I’m thinking it’s just kind of some more time to spend away from my siblings and more time to spend with my uncle. He lives up in Burlington so I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like to.”