February 21st, 2011, 12:52 pm by Mike Published in The Aquinian, February 16, 2011, by Stephanie Kelly:
Mike Stewart won’t be selling cookies on your doorstep anytime soon.
The 19-year-old engineering student is a scout with the 1st Rivorton Rovers at UNB and says there’s a lot of misconceptions about the group.
“It’s not your grandfather’s boy scouts,” he said.
Rovers are the most senior section of Scouts Canada, for people aged 18 to 26. The Rivorton group started five years ago at UNB and has grown to over 30 members from the UNB and STU community.
The group’s mission is to promote outdoor adventure and community service. They host activities like hiking and camping and reach out to the community with events like their flood relief project.
This past weekend the Rovers held their first annual Winter Adventure Weekend. One hundred students signed up for the event, but the group could only take 50 students for two days of winter outdoor activities at Yoho Scout Reserve.
“The response was overwhelming,” Stewart said.
“This event this weekend is all about reaching out to the student community, showing them the stuff that we do,” he said. “We all love the outdoors and we just want to share.”
Stewart is lifelong Scout. He began as a Beaver when he was five years old and has never looked back.
“Scouting has had a huge impact on my life,” he said.
“I remember getting stuck at the top of a mountain in Cape Breton in gale force winds that were knocking you over,” he said. “People had hypothermia in July, because it was raining torrentially.
“But it was awesome.”
So why, after all these years is he still involved? For Stewart, it’s about acknowledging something that has been a big part of his life for the past 14 years.
“My involvement at this point is all about giving back to scouting, giving back to the community,” he said.
Jen Purdue is newer to the world of scouting. She’s been involved for three years and is thrilled to be a Rover.
“You’re part of a movement, so you have that sense of community,” she said.
Purdue says the public doesn’t understand the scouting community, what they stand for and who can join.
“They have this image that we’re all childish and juvenile and we don’t really do anything beyond giving badges and selling cookies [which we don’t actually do],” she said.
Right now, the 1st Rivorton Rovers is the only group of its kind in New Brunswick. They plan on expanding to Mount Allison University and possibly UNBSJ.