Scouts Canada is the country’s leading youth organization, offering seven challenging programs (Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts, Venturer Scouts, Rover Scouts, SCOUTSabout, and Extreme Adventure) for both boys and girls ages 5-26 in thousands of individual groups in most cities and towns across Canada. It has great history and even greater potential for reaching millions of young lives across the country and around the world. Over 74,000 young people enjoy Scouts Canada’s programs, which are provided by 23,000 caring and dedicated volunteers. Scouts Canada’s national office is located in Ottawa.
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 (WOSM). John Estrella is the current National Commissioner, the head volunteer in the organization.
Scouts Canada regulates itself by way of its ByLaw, Policies and Procedures, managed by the Board of Governors. The Annual General Meeting of the Corporation of Scouts Canada is typically held during the second last weekend in November of each year.
In the spring of 1908, just months after the book Scouting for Boys was published in England, Scouting came to Canada. Robert Baden-Powell wrote to Earl Grey, then Governor General of Canada, in 1910 to ask him to organize Scouting in Canada. Scouting was carried on as part of The Boy Scouts Association Overseas Department until The Canadian General Council of the Boy Scout Association was incorporated by an Act of the Canadian Parliament on June 12, 1914. The Canadian General Council continued to be a branch of the Boy Scout Association until October 30, 1946, when it became an independent member of the Boy Scout World Conference, now the World Organization of the Scout Movement. A subsequent amendment to the Act of Parliament changed the name to Boy Scouts of Canada. In 1976 the Scouts Canada logo was introduced and the organization, by its By-laws, adopted the name Scouts Canada. In 2007 The Boy Scouts of Canada legally changed its name to Scouts Canada.
In 1972, Scouts Canada began accepting female members as part of its Rover Section. This was expanded in 1984 to include the Venturer Section. In 1992, co-ed Scouting was an option for all program sections and became policy for all sections in 1998.
Scouts Canada is divided into twenty Councils, formerly called Regions, each representing a whole province or large part thereof. Each Council is headed by a Council Commissioner appointed by the Executive Commissioner and CEO (the top staff member reporting to the Board of Governors). Councils are divided into Areas, formerly called Districts, each headed by an Area Commissioner appointed by the Council Commissioner. At each level there is what's known as a "Key 3" relationship.
Canada is the only country with more than one Scouting association separately recognized by WOSM. Scouts Canada and L'Association des Scouts du Canada are divided by language. A number of other countries also have more than one Scouting association that may form a national federation to receive joint WOSM membership. Scouts Canada and L'Association des Scouts du Canada send a joint delegation to meetings of the World Organization of the Scout Movement; this is coordinated through the Board of Governors' Committee on Cooperation.
Prior to the installation of His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada (who has been given the title of Patron Scout), every Governor General since Earl Grey has been either the Chief Scout of Canada (prior to 1946) or Chief Scout of Canada (after 1946).
Today, more than 28 million youth and adults, boys and girls, take part in Scouting programs in 155 countries and territories worldwide.
- Newfoundland and Labrador Council
- Prince Edward Island Council
- Nova Scotia Council
- New Brunswick Council
- Quebec Council
- Tri-Shores Council
- Battlefields Council
- Shining Waters Council
- Toronto Council
- Central Escarpment Council
- Northern Ontario Council
- Voyageur Council
- White Pine Council
- Manitoba Council
- Saskatchewan Council
- Chinook Council
- Northern Lights Council
- Cascadia Council
- Fraser Valley Council
- Pacific Coast Council
Scouts Canada offers five full-time programs, which it states are open to males and females:
Beaver Scouts is a Scouting program aimed at children between ages 5–7. The Beaver Scout uniform includes a bucket hat, a neckerchief, a neckerchief slide, and a vest. Activities include crafts, games, sports, music, hikes, and camping. Spiritual fellowship is also an activity in the program.
The Cub Scout program is a program intended for 8 to 10 year old children. Activities of the program include hiking, camping, and what the organization refers to as "water activities", such as canoeing and kayaking. The program's states that its purpose is to encourage members to "try new and more challenging activities." Its motto is "Do your best".
The scouting program of Scouts Canada is a program aimed at children between 11 to 14 years old. Activities include outdoor activities, camping, and hiking, as well as participation in youth forums. It claims that its purpose is "having fun while gaining value leadership skills and self-confidence. "
The Venturer Scout program is a program intended for teens between 14 to 17 years old, with a stated aim to "offer exciting, real life, hands-on experiences for youth." Its activities include hiking, camping, and training programs.
Rover Scouts is the final youth stage of Scouting, aimed at teens and young adults between 18 to 26 years old. Activities include what the organization describes as "adventurous activities" and "helping in local communities".
- Medical Venturer Scouts/Medical Rover Scouts (Medvents/Medrovers) is a new program that consists of Venturers and Rovers that learn and provide first-aid. Medical Venturers have been credited with saving lives in Toronto by using an Automated external defibrillator to assist a patient in cardiac arrest.
- Fire Venturers learn basic fire fighting skills while working with fire departments
- Police Venturers learn firearm safety, crowd control, and similar skills while working with police departments
Scouts Canada also has programs designated as Part-Time Programs.
ScoutsAbroad is a program which was created to support the Canadian Brotherhood Fund. Scouts in wealthier countries like Canada help Scouts in developing countries help themselves on the road to self-sufficiency. The Canadian Brotherhood Fund provides through grants, “seed money” for many community development projects. Groups of Scouts in developing countries develop and carry out projects to improve their own lives and the future of their communities. In some cases, members of Scouts Canada participate in travelling abroad to assist in carrying out portions of a project.
The SCOUTSabout program aims to fulfill Scouting's mission with those children who are not members of a Scouting organization. SCOUTSabout is implemented in 3-month long modules, often after school, to appeal to those families who do not want or can not commit to year-round activities. Theme based, the focus is on structured play and learning by doing without uniforms, badge programs and ceremonies. SCOUTSabout is for children between 5 and 10 years old.
Extreme Adventure offers the opportunity for young people aged from 14 to 17, to plan and participate in a variety of short-term adventure-based activities. Example activities are: hiking, long-term camping and travelling abroad to participate in humanitarian projects. The program seeks to realise Scouting's mission with non-members. There is no uniform and are no ceremonies associated with this program. It is designed to include development of leadership skills and self-esteem and the participation in community projects that is also offered through the ordinary programs. Extreme Adventure is based on the Venturer Amory Adventure Award concept.
- Canadian Brotherhood Fund