By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A rite of passage took place Wednesday night at opposite ends of Morinville as local Guiders and Scouters participated in special ceremonies at the Morinville Legion and Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The ceremony is an annual opportunity for youth to take the next step in their growth and development.
“It’s where the kids move up to the next level in the Scouting world,” said Mitch Ethier, a leader with 1st Morinville Scouting and Group Commissioner for the Morinville area, “Beavers will swim up to Cubs. Cubs will leap up to Scouts. It’s a fun time for the kids. They get to shed off their old uniforms and put on new uniforms and join a new group or a pack.”
Wednesday night’s ceremony saw five Beavers swim up to become Cubs and one Cub leap up to become a Scout. The Beaver ceremony commenced with the child demonstrating what they had learned as a Beaver. They then entered a tent and crawled under a blue tarp to simulate swimming upstream, emerging on the bank where the Cubs were waiting to instruct them in the signs and ways of the Cub pack. Similarly, the Cub leaping up to become a Scout was put through an initiation ceremony that introduced him to his new level of Scouting.
Ethier explained the rite of passage as scouters move from one branch to another is all part of their growth in the movement. “It’s important for the kids in Scouting because they’re learning new things as they move up, seeing how the different aspects work,” Ethier said.
In addition to the five Beavers and one Cub moving up, three Beaver leaders swam upstream to become Cub leaders. Ethier said the movement of leaders from one branch to the other is largely to allow parent volunteers to follow their children through the various branches of scouting.
Ethier is not alone in moving his troop from one level to the next. On the other side of Town Wednesday night local Guiders held an advancement ceremony of their own. Approximately 30 Sparks, Brownies and Guides advanced to their next levels of guiding.
“It’s to celebrate the girls that are moving from Sparks to Brownies; from Brownies to Guides; Guides to Pathfinders; Pathfinders to Rangers,” said Tamarac Area Commissioner Kathy Batty of the evening ceremony, adding Sparks and Brownies are two year programs; the other divisions are three-year programs. “There is a lot of what we call program in each of the levels. They age out of the group, but they earn a lot of badges and do a lot of program work and a wide-variety of activities to complete these programs.”
One of the programs offered in Guiding is the STEM program (science, technology, engineering and math). Batty said all the Guiding levels concentrate on the same things, but become more advanced with each new level.
Volunteer leaders needed
With the advancement of three Beaver leaders to Cub leaders, Commissioner Ethier finds himself in a position of looking for new leaders, something he hopes will occur as new children join Beavers in the fall.
The situation is similar in Morinville Guiding. Commissioner Batty told parents Wednesday night Morinville may not have a Sparks program next year due to a lack of volunteers. The area commissioner explained many people are of the mistaken belief that leaders are paid. “I urge you to give a bit of time to volunteer,” Batty said to mothers, adding it does take a bit of time commitment. “To have the ability to watch those girls grow into Sparks and Brownies and Guides and Pathfinders and Rangers, and watch them get their Canada Cord or Chief Commissioner’s Gold Award and knowing you had a little bit to do with that girl growing into the fantastic person that she turns out to be – nothing beats that.”
For more information on Scouting in Morinville call 780-939-7561 or visit morinvillescouts.com. For more information on Guiding in Morinville call 780-939-2204.