GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – A youth from Grand Falls-Windsor is making history.
At just 14 years old, Liam Gardner is the first 4th Grand Falls Scout who began with the group as a Beaver and is now becoming a Scouter.
“I started as a first-year Beaver,” he said. “Now basically I’m going to be leading the Beavers and Cubs when I’m in Venturers.”
Liam started in kindergarten, has nine years’ complete, and is currently in his 10th year. He is now a last-year Scout, and next year he will be moving up to Venturers.
As a Scouter, he is going to help run the program and be involved with meetings and camps, among other obligations.
“I get to wear a red shirt, which means I am the expendable crewman,” he joked.
“I’ll be enforcing the rules and making sure they have fun.”
Liam is excited to teach the younger groups to become leaders as well, adding it will be nice to have them look up to him and say, “He did it, why not me?”
To become a Scouter, Liam has completed his required 15 hours of online training, and was looking at the possibility of doing even more. He also gave five references, and is prepared for an interview with a Scouter and group commissioner this week.
“After that, you’re in,” he said.
This was the first year he was eligible to become a Scouter. The minimum age to be able to lead Beavers and Cubs is 14.
But why would a young teen want to become a Scouter?
“I’ve always liked working with kids and it felt like a bit of a personal milestone,” Liam said, adding Scouts Canada has been a big part of his life.
“I went to Europe. I’ve been to the Canadian Jamboree in Nova Scotia. You really learn to be a better person. It’s not just all about camping and how to pitch a tent. You learn skills you are going to need, like how to fix a broken leg or what to do when you have a headache. There’s a lot of encouragement and a lot socializing. It makes it fun.”
Liam’s father, Gerry Gardner, has been a Scouter for almost three years. Now, he will be a Scouter alongside his son.
“I love seeing the youth becoming leaders,” Gerry said. “That’s what it’s all about. The program is youth led. We believe in that and we strive for it. To see youth like Liam come up through and want to become Scouters, it makes the long days well worth it.”