By Miriam Ostermann, Associate Editor
Over the past decade, the relationship between the 1st Strathmore Scouts and the Kinsmen Club of Strathmore has dwindled.
But that recently changed. Last weekend the service group presented the scouts with a healthy monetary injection in chorus with the annual bottle drive – foreshadowing a lucrative year for the scouts and stronger ties between the two organizations.
The Kinsmen Club of Strathmore has served as the charter sponsor for the 1st Strathmore Scouts for the past 25 years, providing necessary funds for equipment and activities. On Jan. 6, the club provided the scouts with nearly one-third of the annual budget, or $4,000.
“We haven’t been in contact with the scouts as regular as we used to until this year… so we topped them back up so they have funds to operate and get equipment that they need,” said Doug Taylor, director with the Kinsmen Club of Strathmore.
“It’s important to give to everything in the community. The scouts, we have a long-term relationship with them and we want to keep that going and keep that fresh.”
Part of the funds have already been used to purchase a trailer for the transportation of equipment to camps and outdoor activities, while the remainder will be allocated to crafts and camps. The 1st Strathmore Scouts annual budget typically requires $15,000. With the recent donation and their annual bottle drive, the organization will continue to provide its scouting members with services and experiences while keeping fees low for families.
“All these fundraisers are absolutely critical for us, it’s how we can keep costs low for parents and add more participation from all levels of income,” said Perry Lewin, group commissioner for 1st Strathmore Scouts.
“We’ve really stepped up our game for community involvement. The kids just love getting out there and helping, and we do too. It makes us feel good about being part of the community, and I think that we end up seeing better comeback on our fundraising when that happens as well.”
Last year’s two bottle drives averaged $2,500 in profits each. With a total of $2,800 raised over the weekend, the scouts are fundraising to send 26 kids for a sleepover at the zoo in the spring, and 20 kids to a mad science camp. Allison Israels, a scout leader for the 1st Strathmore Scouts for the last five years, said these experiences have a noticeable impact on the kids.
“I’ve been with some of my kids for the whole five years, so I’ve seen them grow up and change, I’ve seen their confidence change, I’ve seen them come out of their shells. I get to see a different personality at camp versus when mom and dad are around so that’s kind of fun,” she said. “They definitely grow and learn. They learn how they affect their community as well. That’s a big thing.”
The 1st Strathmore Scouts is comprised of over 20 beavers – aged five to seven – over 20 cubs – aged eight to 10 – and four scouts. Despite costs of $600 per youth at other clubs, such as in Calgary, Strathmore charges the $215 national registration only. Having reconnected with the Kinsmen Club of Strathmore, therefore, proved a welcomed surprise on both sides.
“The sad part is we haven’t had a very close relationship with the Kinsmen over the last decade,” Lewin said. “In my opinion the scouts really missed it and the Kinsmen really missed that connection, and so this is that celebration of joining that connection again.
“We put that money right back to the kids and having fun and doing really cool things like the zoo sleepover. If it wasn’t for the Kinsmen or the bottle drives that we’ve had, we wouldn’t be able to do it.”
The next bottle drive will take place April 14.