Scouts for Sustainability equips youth with awareness, tools and competencies to explore global issues and leave a positive footprint in their communities
Youth Sustainability Panel, featuring Stella Bowles, Naila Moloo and Vishal Vijay, amplifies young voices to engage and inspire the next generation of sustainability leaders
Ottawa, ON – September 27, 2021 – Scouting and sustainability have long gone hand in hand, with youth members leading countless environmental and social initiatives to benefit their communities – from planting community gardens, building bee hotels and shoreline cleanups, to food drives, assembling care kits for individuals experiencing homelessness, and supporting the production and distribution of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.
Scouts Canada is taking sustainable action to the next level with Scouts for Sustainability, part of an unprecedented global youth effort by 57 million Scouts from National Scout Organizations around the world. Scouting’s action-oriented approach to education introduces children and youth ages 5-26 to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), starts the conversation about global issues and helps them take positive steps towards the shared goals of eliminating poverty, reducing inequality and fighting climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) new report calls for urgent climate action, and UNICEF’s 2021 Children’s Climate Risk Index finds that one billion children globally are at extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change, underscoring that sustainable action is more important than ever.
From October 4 – November 28, Scouts are taking part in an eight-week sustainability-themed challenge called “Around the World in 60 Days” and are inviting kids across Canada to join in. Through fun and engaging activities rooted in sustainability, children and youth will connect virtually with Scouts from different countries and embark on exciting story-driven adventures set in each destination.
The activities will introduce topics such as inequality, food security, melting icecaps, and mental and physical heath; and encourage creative problem solving and reflection to drive awareness and development outcomes. With 265 hands-on Scouts for Sustainability activities available, youth can explore their interests, take what they’ve learned a step further and make an impact that is meaningful to them. The challenge will be available for FREE at scouts.ca/around-the-world, with a new video released every Monday to launch the weekly activity.
Plus, Scout Groups that complete the challenge will be entered into a contest for a chance to win a $2,000 prize to launch a sustainability project to benefit their community.
“As Scouts, we are committed to doing our part to make the world a better place,” said Siobhan Ward, Youth Program Specialist at Scouts Canada. “Working together as active global citizens, Scouts will discover they have the power to make a big impact – no matter their age.”
Scouts Canada’s Youth Sustainability Panel, on Sunday, October 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT is free with registration at scouts.ca/around-the-world. Amplifying young voices to explore youth leadership and sustainable action in Canada and inspire the next generation of sustainability leaders, the panel features:
- Stella Bowles’ (age 17; Bridgewater, NS) river testing for fecal contamination influenced a $15.7 million government project to clean the LaHave River in Nova Scotia and earned her the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal and the Order of Nova Scotia.
- Naila Moloo (age 15; Ottawa, ON) designed transparent and flexible solar cells utilizing nanomaterials and is currently trying to develop a more sustainable bioplastic from duckweed.
- Vishal Vijay (age 19; Oakville; ON) co-founded EveryChildNow, a youth-run national nonprofit that focuses on youth empowerment and child poverty alleviation, that has impacted more than 500,000 people and helped to uplift families out of the cycle of poverty.
To enhance the challenge experience, expand perspectives, and connect it to home, Scouts Canada is also partnering with 4H Ontario, Canada Learning Code, Earth Rangers, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, Kids Help Phone, Ocean Wise and Zero-Waste Canada to offer interactive webinars.
Scouts contributions to making their world a better place are immeasurable. While many of these good deeds are not tracked by Scouts Canada, their impact can be seen in some of the following ways:
- 9,244 service projects have impacted over 2,000 communities since 2018
- An average of 50,000 Scouts practice Leave No Trace each year
- More than 80 million trees planted across Canada since 1972, potentially absorbing up to 3.6 billion pounds of carbon annually, while also creating animal habitats, producing oxygen and offering protection to surrounding land
- Volunteer Scouters contribute an estimated 450,000 community service hours per year
- 265 Scouts for Sustainability activities help youth learn about and contribute to the SDGs
- Scouts spent 57,000 hours learning about and participating in sustainability-themed activities during Scouts Canada’s Great 8 Challenge in 2021
- 57 million Scouts globally are making the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to the SDGs
- 2 billion community service hours have been contributed by Scouts worldwide toward the SDGs since 2015, halfway to a 4 billion hour goal
Scouts Canada is grateful for the participation of TV’s Survivorman, Les Stroud, and seven National Scout Organizations who helped inspire the storyline for each week’s activity by contributing fun, informative and motivating videos to help Scouts kick-off each week’s challenge – Scouts Australia, Scouts de Argentina, Egyptian Federation for Scouts and Girl Guides, The Danish Guide and Scout Association, Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Scouts Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Korea Scout Association.
Registration for Jan. to Dec. 2022 Scouting is open now at Scouts.ca/Join. New members who register before 2022 are eligible to participate for FREE for the remainder of 2021. For youth from families facing economic barriers, Scouts Canada’s No One Left Behind subsidizes membership fees and related costs. For more information visit Scouts.ca.
Scouting safely continued throughout the pandemic through a mix of virtual, outdoor, and indoor programming with no reported transmissions of COVID-19 cases. To ensure the health of the Scouting community, Scouts Canada implemented a successful five-stage Return to Scouting Plan that scales activity levels in accordance with the current direction of governments and health agencies regionally and provincially. For more information, visit Scouts.ca/Covid19.
Scouts Canada is looking for volunteers to help fill a number of rewarding roles including Scouters (volunteer leaders), as well as positions focusing on finance, administration, teaching first aid and outdoor skills, leadership, communications, fundraising or property management. Volunteers receive training, personal and professional development opportunities, and support from a dynamic team; make a meaningful contribution to Canadian youth; and have as much fun on adventures as the youth they support. Registration to volunteer is open now at Scouts.ca/Volunteer.
About Scouts Canada
Kids and young adults in Scouts chart their own path of discovery. Through a variety of fun experiences with friends, outdoor adventures and contributions to their community, Scouts build resilience and skills that set them up for life. Scouts Canada is the country’s leading co-ed youth organization, offering programming for children and youth aged 5-26 in multiple languages, reflecting Canada’s multicultural landscape and communities. For more information, visit Scouts.ca.
Scouts Canada is a not-for-profit organization (Charitable Registration No.10776 1694 RR0028) and a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.