A Warfield mom has started up a local club that teaches kids lifelong skills.
Angela Holmes and her group of volunteer leaders have been running Beaver Scouts in the village since September and the response from the community continues to grow.
Six volunteer leaders put on the program for over 20 kids at the Warfield Hall, after bursting out of their first venue in a portable at Webster Elementary School.
“Scouts Canada builds prime ministers,” said Holmes.
“I think any grown man that I talk to today says, ‘I was a Cub or I was a Scout and I remember everything I learnt – all the knots and all the survival skills.’”
Beavers helps girls and boys – five to seven years old – learn
basic social skills and gain self confidence before continuing onto Cubs, Scouts, Ventures and Rovers.
The program offers an array of activities including games, crafts, story time, as well as special projects introduced by leaders and outdoor adventures like camping or hiking trips.
Warfield mom Katy Dunsmore decided to get involved locally because she believed in the program that was geared toward both her children.
“My son was always really upset that he couldn’t do Girl Guides with his sister,” she said. “Where as Beavers and Scouts Canada in general is for girls and boys, so it’s something that we do more now as a family.
“As a leader, you have to be a little bit on the nerdy side,” she laughed. “You have to be able to jump right into it and be a big kid.”
Holmes said she feels lucky to run a program in a small community, where she knows the leaders well.
She admitted she was surprised by recent news of a convicted pedophile making his mark as a leader in scouting organizations for a number of years before he was exposed.
“I think with any organization that has children in a program, you’re going to have to be very careful,” she said. “We’re very fortunate to have the community that we do to run this program. I couldn’t imagine being in Vancouver and getting a complete stranger wanting to be a leader in my group, I would be very hesitant to let anyone in.”
While the leaders are kept busy with the number of younger kids interested in Beavers, Holmes would like to eventually see all levels of Scouts offered in the village.
“Unfortunately, I find in this generation there is sort of a stigma with being in Scouts,” she said. “I don’t know why hockey is cooler than scouting for the older kids but that’s just the way it is, but my goal is to change the stigma behind it.”
Heather Hamer, who has been a scouting volunteer for over 30 years, was pleased to get a phone call from Holmes in the spring.
“I thought it was fantastic – that was the group my dad was involved in,” she said. “We had to get it reactivated, come on now.”
The new Warfield group is back in action, after closing down about 10 years ago, and joins other clubs in the Beaver Valley, Trail and Rossland.
Hamer congratulated Holmes and her leadership team for volunteering their time toward such a worthy club.
“Scouts is a lot of fun, you learn outdoor skills, to be a leader in the community and to give back,” she said. “You learn to be proud of who you are and respect yourself and everybody else.”
This year, Warfield’s program costs $170 annually, plus $30 for a uniform.
But the non-profit group is already steadily fundraising in hopes that each year the cost may drop for parents wanting to sign their kids up.
“Because we are a new group, we can’t afford to pay any portion toward registration, yet,” explained Holmes.
Beyond fundraising initiatives, such as the group’s recent popcorn sale, Holmes says she looks to secure grants and financial support toward the program, noting that the village donated $500 toward the start up.
The new group is always looking for volunteer leaders as well as accepting new kids into the program that runs Mondays from 6-7 p.m. at the Warfield Hall.
To find out more about Beavers contact, Holmes at 368-3220, or check out www.scouts.ca