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Six members of Elmira Scouting group earn Queen’s Venturer Awards

Six venturers of the 1st Elmira scouts received the top scouting award last month at Queen’s Park in Toronto. From left to right: Tyler Elg, Liam Hanley, Cameron McGee, central escarpment council commissioner Dean Post, Chief Justice of Ontario George Strathy, Erik Zinke-Spencer, Max Campbell, Callum Knox, and rover leader Monica Goddard standing in for venturer leader Brian Soehner.

Years of Scouting and countless hours volunteering have paid off for a handful of members of the 1st Elmira Scouts. Members of the Ventures (15-18 years of age) division received the highest Scouting proficiency award last month, the Queen’s Venturer Award.

The requirements for the award are lengthy, including a minimum 50 hours of volunteer service, being certified in a service skill, and demonstrating leadership qualities in a peer environment by being actively involved with a decision-making body.

“I know, personally, I’m really proud of all the Venturers that got this award,” said Max Campbell, one of this year’s recipients. “We did a lot of work to earn it. I know we’ve been part of this group specifically for four years. It took us four years to get the award.”

“I’m very happy about it,” said Erik Zinke-Spencer, another of the recipients. “I’ve been in this organization since I was about six, since the very first year I could do it. So I suppose it just speaks to how long I’ve actually been doing this.”

Campbell, Zinke-Spencer, Tyler Elg, Liam Hanley, Cameron McGee, and Callum Knox travelled to Queen’s Park in Toronto October 27 to receive the prestigious award. It was presented to them by the Chief Justice of Ontario, George Strathy.

The group is involved with a variety of community volunteer efforts, including the current Christmas tree sales at Gore Park, the Woolwich Community Services food drive this past weekend, the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, and efforts with the Elmira Legion Branch 469.

“I certainly am proud of them,” said Brian Soehner, co-commissioner for the 1st Elmira Scouts. “Another requirement is that they have to learn a skill that would be helpful to the community. And in this case, that’s first aid. They took their first-aid training two years ago down at the fire hall in St. Jacobs. As leaders, we try to provide them with the opportunity to achieve those items. And these guys have.”

Recipients of the award are presented with a cloth emblem by their Venturer company and receive a scroll at the region’s annual Youth Recognition Ceremony, as well as a certificate at a ceremony signed by the Governor-General.

Many of the 1st Elmira Scouts noted that it is an award that could aid in future endeavours, such as job résumés, as it demonstrates competencies and skills that will be of considerable use to their community, their company, and themselves.

Another requirement is verification from other sources, such as Scout leaders, that the recipient has the ability and character to be of significant help to the community. Soehner highlighted the importance of keeping track of one’s accomplishments.

“It’s one of those things that requires record-keeping of what they’ve accomplished,” added Soehner. “I’m sure there is plenty of youth that may deserve it, but they don’t keep track of their achievements so they can’t submit it for approval.”

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