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Published: December 4th 2007
Me and Craig Kielburger (photo courtesy Rod Wilson)
Such an AMAZING person. The kind who completely lights up a room with his personality and energy, only he also has an incredible story and vision to share on top of it all. I'm inspired!
It's come to my attention that my blog now pops up as #2 on Google if you search for "Jessica Page scout" and for some reason a lot of people actually have been reading it. The first little bit of this entry is a bit whiny and unflattering in terms of my opinion on the way youth involvement is going in Canada. Please don't read too much in to it--this entry was written after a long two weeks of traveling and Scouting and I was tired. I'm happy with our organization's commitment to youth leadership and, although there is always room for improvement, I'm glad to be the one to help keep our vision at the forefront of the agenda. So, please take this entry with a grain of salt, and thanks for reading!
I thought I'd post one final entry for 2007 since a couple things of note did happen at the Vancouver Scouting Conference, although far less exciting things occurred on a daily basis than in Ecuador.
The meetings themselves were fairly standard Scouts Canada Commissioner's Forums and Youth Forums, although the settings were not. The past SC AGMs I'd attended had been at
At the table (photo courtesy Rod Wilson)
Rob Stewart, CEO of Scouts Canada is on the left and Craig is on the right. Sam Sullivan is just out of the picture to the left of Rob and the multi-billionaire CEO was beside him. I'm not sure who/what we're watching at this point, but I look pretty proud about it. Must have been some kind of inspirational scout thing.
a Scout camp in Oshawa, Ontario, which was nice enough, but the organizers of this event really went above and beyond. They someone managed to round up incredible sponsors which allowed us to stay in a nice hotel, eat amazing meals, and receive gift after gift after gift. I came home with books, backpacks, shirts.... it was really unlike anything else. I must say that despite a really positive session on youth involvement in Scouts Canada I gave to start the precedings off, there was still a fair bit of tokenism and decoration that went on with the youth delegates to the conference. There's obviously some work to be done in our organization again to get all "adults" respecting youth as equal members of the management teams and to get all "youth" respecting those positions and themselves as equals, and treating them with the responsibility and maturity that they demand. I never really thought of myself as an activist before, but I guess that is what I am in Scouts Canada. An activist for youth involvement and respect in the governance of our organization. That's not to say that overall things have come a long way from twenty years ago,
In appreciation (photo courtesy Rod Wilson)
Me presenting Craig with a certificate of thanks (LAME!) from Scouts Canada for being our Centennial Ambassador over the past year. Haha, we look so media savvy. I have definitely posed for a few of these handing-out-certificate photos in my day, and I'm sure Craig has, too.
I just recognize that there's a little farther to come still. (I don't want anyone to get their feathers ruffled here!)
Hands down the best part for me, however, was the lineup of guest speakers that had been arranged. There were really some inspirational people among them including Richard Louvre, who spoke on children's "Nature Deficit Disorder" and the incredible lack of contact with the natural world that kids have these days, and my absolute FAVOURITE, Craig Kielburger, Scouts Canada's Centennial Ambassador. If you don't know, and many people don't which I think says something sad about the way Canada treats our young national heros, Craig first became an activist at the age of 12 when he read an article about a 12 year old child slave who had escaped his factory in Pakistan and was later killed for speaking out against child slavery. Craig, then a Scout, was shocked by this and immediately went to work doing what he could to raise money and awareness against these injustices. At 13--yes, 13 years old--he went backpacking through Asia to see the conditions children were living in first hand. And then, things just sort of fell in to place (there's
a long story here). Fast forward to the present and the 24 year old is now the Founder and Chair of Free the Children, an NGO based on the concept of children helping children through education and leadership, which has built more than 240 primary schools and helped over 1 million children. He is a member of the Order of Canada and Free the Children has earned at least 3 Nobel Peace Prize nominations. His older brother, Marc, is no slacker himself. They now run things together, and Marc is a Havard grad, Rhodes scholar, and holds a law degree from Oxford. Wow.
What am I doing?
Not enough. It's time to step things up. I've been incredibly motivated by some really inspirational young people I've had the great privilege of meeting over the past 10 days, both in Quito and in Vancouver. I already have a grand vision of a strong partnership between Scouts Canada and Free the Children, and who better to solidify that partnership than a youth-involvement activist from one of the aforementioned organizations? It's time to stop letting these great opportunities drop into my lap and start making some opportunities of my own in
The Harper Comparision (photos courtesy Christopher Pike)
Apparently, it's not as clear that they're essentially identical twins to everyone else, but Chris and I SWEAR that the likeness is completely uncanny. Maybe you need to see them in person or something. But let me tell you that Chris photographs Harper CONSTANTLY, so he knows what the guy looks like, and we're telling you they're brothers!
order to really make a difference. Of course first thing's first, and that's exams. I was afraid I would be burnt out on my return, but I think I'm more keen than ever to get these over with, but to put my all in to them.
I had the great pleasure of introducing Craig before he gave the key note address at our Gala dinner on Saturday night. Even more pleasurable for me, I was seated beside him at the head table with a host of movers and shakers, including Sam Sullivan (Mayor of Vancouver) and a multi-billionaire CEO of Concorde, which was a major sponsor of the conference. It was quite a sight to see the way Craig and his team of supporters moved into high gear networking and rekindling old contacts right off the bat. I don't know if I could ever be as forward as that, but he is just SO passionate about his cause that you can't help but be moved. Please do check out some videos. There's a good interview with him and his brother on CBC's The Hour website, plus theres tons of goods stuff on the Free the Children website.
Things will not wind down for me now--they're just getting started.
As Craig would say, "Be the change!"
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