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Local scouts say one Good Turn Week deserves another

KELLY CORMIER Fredericton Daily Gleaner
April 30, 2014

Local scouts are heading to Mexico, but it’s not for a vacation in the sun and sand.

Nine people from the Fredericton area are meeting up with 22 scouts from Vancouver to travel to Puerto Vallarta for a community project as part of the 5th annual Good Turn Week.

Mike Stewart, a Rover Scout who also sits on the board of governors for Scouts Canada, said the group will be working on international development projects. “Basically we’ll be doing two different projects,” said Stewart. “One of the them is we’ll be working with the local primary school in a poor region of Puerto Vallarta, actually in an area that used to be a garbage dump, they then built a school there,’’ he said. “We’re working with local youth and we’re going to be doing some English literacy stuff. We’re going to be reading with them and that sort of thing.’’

Stewart said they will be building an extension on the school.

“We’re going to be putting an extension on the building that will have a kitchen for them to do their lunch programs, a bodega for storage, and an awesome office space as well. That’ll be about a week of our trip. And then we’re also doing some work at a local scout hall. “The local youth scouts have a new building and we’re renovating it; we’re going to be doing some painting, providing furniture and that sort of thing so they can get set up as a group in Puerto Vallarta.”

Stewart said the group of Rover Scouts leaves for Mexico on Thursday and returns May 15. “This is all part of Good Turn Week, it’s a national campaign where scouts from across Canada try to spread the goodwill by doing everything from holding open a door for someone or doing something as large as a two-week service project in Mexico. It’s really just about doing good turns of whatever magnitude and spreading it across Canada to more than just scouts.”

Most people think of Puerto Vallarta as a resort town, he said.

“You’ve got the resort area where it’s a tourist area that’s very affluent. And then right outside that you’ve got a very abject poverty rate. It’s that sort of contrast, and we’re going to be seeing both sides of that.”

Clara Simpson, a Rover Scout from Fredericton, said she’s never done anything like this before. “I like travelling and this seemed like a good thing to do,” said Simpson. She’s not sure what to expect, but hopes to help in any way she can. “I’m pretty excited, yeah. I like helping people.”

Olya Kozun, an international student from Ukraine studying at the University of New Brunswick, is also going on the trip. “This is something new for me,” said Kozun, who’s new to scouting. “I used to go around the world but I’ve never been on a volunteering project. In my country where I’m from it’s not that widespread, being a volunteer and helping others. It seemed to me to be interesting and I’ve never been to Mexico. I’m actually interested in the real Mexico where real people live and how different it is from the tourist area.”

Kozun said she has enjoyed her experience as a Rover Scout so far. “I’ve met some people and we’ve done a lot of outdoor activities which is very interesting.”

Katie Beers, council youth commissioner, said the trip is a good example of what Good Turn Week is about. “Good Turn Week takes place April 26 to May 4 and it’s all about giving back to the community and paying it forward,” she said.

“It’s about doing little deeds or big deeds to help encourage the community to become more caring. It’s not just for scouts, it’s for all of Canada and we encourage people to open the door for somebody or buy a coffee for the person behind you in line; just basic stuff like that. But we also sponsor 10 projects across Canada that scouts are doing in relation to Good Turn Week. I know in Nova Scotia they are buying $2,000 worth of groceries for a food bank, so this is just another part of that.”

Beers said it’s all about the little stuff. “Say you open a door for somebody, and then you ask please pay it forward, then it’s all about starting the cycle of good turns and making Canada a more caring and happy place. As Scouts we take a commitment to community service, so this is just another way of giving back to our community.”

About Scouts Canada

Scouts Canada is the country's leading co-ed youth organization with more than 100,000 members nationwide. Scouts Canada offers programming for children and youth aged 5-26 in more than 19 languages, reflecting Canada's multicultural landscape and communities. Kids in Scouts have fun adventures discovering new things and experiences they wouldn't discover elsewhere. Along the way, they develop into capable, confident and well-rounded individuals, better prepared for success in the world. For tens of thousands of children and youth across Canada, Scouts is the start of something great. For more information visit  


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.



Scouts Canada, the country’s leading youth organization, offers challenging programs for boys, girls and youth age 5-26 in thousands of individual groups in most cities and towns across Canada.


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