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Northern Ont. scouts fundraising for summer trip to B.C.

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Pacific Jamboree 2024 is taking place in British Columbia this summer and some northern Ontario scouts and their leaders are fundraising to cover costs to travel and participate in the quadrennial event.

Members of 1st Copper Cliff and 15th Sudbury Scouting selling barbecue scrappers and promoting their GoFundMe page at a Sudbury Wolves game to raise money to go to Pacific Jamboree 2024 in B.C. March 2, 2024. (Gabriel Plante/Facebook)

More than 40 scouts ages 11 to 18 from around northern Ont. along with more than 20 leaders are planning to go, including two of the three groups from Sudbury and one from Temiskaming Shores.

Scouting in Canada

Scouting is an organization open to all youth in Canada, ages 5 to 18 years, regardless of their gender or economic background. The local scout groups are 100 per cent volunteer run and the groups are responsible for all expenses related to their programming – including rare opportunities such as the Pacific Jamboree.

Scouts Canada is different for everybody,” said Gabriel Plante, the fundraising coordinator for 15th Sudbury Scout Group.

"Really Scouts Canada is a lot for people and youths specifically that may not fit in regular sporting activities for example."

He added that youths that "need" scouts usually find them and leaders strive to teach them all kinds of different of skills through experiential learning.

“We teach them, of course, what you would expect from scouting, which is camping and outdoor skills,” said Plante.

"We also focus a lot on community-mindedness."

Members of the 15th Sudbury Scout Group planting trees in Kivi Park in Greater Sudbury in June 2023. (Gabriel Plante/Facebook)

The Pacific Jamboree

The Pacific Jamboree is usually a once-every-four-years event that Scout organizations all over the world look forward to.

Eager scouters arriving at Pacific Jamboree 2019 in B.C. on July 6, 2019. (Pacific Jamboree/Facebook)

The last one was held in 2019 and pandemic uncertainty caused a delay.

This year’s event is scheduled to take place July 6 to July 13 with more than 3,000 youth expected from all over Canada and the world, including the U.K. and Finland.

Upon reaching B.C. by plane, the scout group will travel 95 minutes by ferry across the Strait of Georgia and through the Gulf Islands to Otter Point, west of Sooke, B.C., on Vancouver Island.

There they will go camping, whale watching, swimming and take on various outdoor activities along with older members participating in leadership opportunities.

Fundraising efforts

This weekend, the two Sudbury scout groups held a porketta bingo fundraiser at Trevi Restaurant on Lasalle Boulevard.

Members of the Greater Sudbury community participating in a porketta bingo fundraiser for 1st Copper Cliff and 15th Sudbury Scouting at Trevi's Restaurant on Lasalle Boulevard on April 20, 2024. (Pat Laframboise/CTV News Northern Ontario)

All northern Ontario scout groups involved in the Pacific Jamboree trip have been working hard since September 2023 to raise money – selling fudge and chocolate bars, making and selling barbecue scrapers, holding bottle drives and reaching out to community and corporate partners.

The total cost of the B.C. trip for the northern Ontario group is about $109,000 and the organizations are hoping to fundraise $40,000 to offset some of the expense.

“While our youth and scouters have been hard at work since September, trying to fundraise enough money to ensure as many youth as possible can attend without any financial barriers, the amount of money needed to support all of the interested youth is more difficult to attain than expected,” reads a statement released by the group in February.

“We normally would fundraise for two years however, we were only informed that this Jamboree would be taking place with less than a year to plan.”

Plante said they had raised about $20,000 so far.

The scouts have two major fundraisers planned over the next few months.

First, they will be canvassing and holding a bottle drive at Princess Auto on Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury on May 25.

“Princess Auto will be hosting us for a canvas fundraiser and a bottle drive in the parking lot,” said Plante.

“We are accepting any kind of empties and we will be returning those towards a fundraiser.”

A Scout Day poster for 1st Copper Cliff and 15th Sudbury Scouting's bottle drive at Princess Auto in Greater Sudbury on May 25, 2024. (Supplied/Gabriel Plante)

Then on June 8, they will be participating in the Copper Cliff Community Yard Sale with a car wash fundraiser.

Local Jerky Plus will be setting up a food truck at the car wash we will be doing and donating those proceeds towards Pacific Jamboree as well,” said Plante.

The group is also looking to see if anyone or any local business would be interested in sponsoring the trip.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for 'Northern Ontario Scouts' and the group said they plan to continue to raise money right up until the Jamboree.

An image featuring the link to North Ontario Scouts GoFundMe page for their efforts to raise money to go to the 2024 Pacific Jamboree in Sooke, B.C., in July 2024. (Gabriel Plante/Facebook)

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