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Presentation of Association des Scouts du Canada Decorations—Youth
Rideau Hall, Friday, April 8, 2011
I am delighted to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall. I am very proud to be able to present you with these honours today on behalf of the Association des Scouts du Canada. It is also an honour to be chief scout and to wear the national neckerchief and the Vanier Medal, two widely recognized parts of the Scouts uniform.
These are symbols, and symbols are very powerful. Canada’s flag is a symbol of our great country. The viceregal lion, which you can see flying above Rideau Hall, is a symbol of the office of the governor general. And the uniforms you wear are symbols of teamwork, of growth and of service. I would like to talk to you about each of these today.
As Scouts, you work together to achieve common goals. You demonstrate teamwork and have learned how to listen and to trust each other.
These lessons will serve you throughout your life. In my former career as an educator, and in my current role as governor general, I know that I am only as strong in my job as the team around me. When we work together towards a common goal, anything is possible.
Allow me also to talk to you about growth. Some of you have been with the Scouts for a very long time. You have developed and learned new skills thanks in part to the support and tutelage of your fellow Scouts.
The journey of self-discovery taken in youth can lead to places you might never have imagined. It can take you around the world to study in other countries and to learn about their cultures. It can take you to the local food bank to volunteer your time to help those in need. Or it can bring you here, to Rideau Hall, to be honoured for the good work you have done in your communities and for the discoveries you have made on a personal level.
These new frontiers—of leadership, friendship and responsibility—are important because they give us a better idea of who we are and what we stand for.
When you wear your uniforms, you embody the call to service that our country values.
In 2017, Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary. I want to leave you with some questions to consider over the next six years as we approach this anniversary. What do you want our country to be? What can you do to create the Canada that you envision? How can we make this a smarter, more caring nation?
I encourage you to keep these questions in your mind as you continue to contribute to the Scouts. The future of this country rests on your shoulders and I am looking forward to learning more about your accomplishments.
Congratulations to all of you on receiving these honours.