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Presentation of the Association des Scouts du Canada Decorations—Adults
Rideau Hall, Friday, April 8, 2011
I would like to welcome you to Rideau Hall today and to tell you how very proud I am to present these decorations on behalf of the Association des Scouts du Canada. It is an honour to wear the national neckerchief and the Vanier Medal as chief scout.
For more than a century, Scouting has been closely tied to the office of the governor general, since the days of then-governor general Lord Grey. He was an ardent supporter of this organization; that has been true of every subsequent governor general, all of whom were able to meet with and honour not only Scouts themselves, but also all those who have supported and volunteered for the Scouts throughout their lives.
Since becoming governor general, I have proposed we imagine Canada as a smart and caring nation stressing three things: supporting families and children; reinforcing learning and innovation; encouraging philanthropy and volunteerism. Thanks to each of you here today, I see all of these pillars being strengthened, and a smarter, more caring nation emerging.
Today, I would like to talk to you about vision. I have been asking Canadians to think about their goals for this country as we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. This benchmark in our history is a perfect opportunity to take stock of who we are and what we want to become.
I have long held the belief that if we support our young people and impart to them the benefit of our knowledge and experience, we will ensure a bright future for this country.
Conversely, I believe that our country’s youth have something to teach us. After all, as humanitarian Jean Vanier once said, “In the hearts of the young a fantastic call exists, a desire for peace, a desire for tolerance, an openness, and a compassion.”
In youth, we see a reflection of ourselves. This is true of parents, certainly, but also collectively as a community and a country. We want this reflection to show a society that is dedicated to service, to creating a smart and caring nation.
By 2017, some of our young people will be in a position to enter the workforce; some may even be ready to assume leadership positions. Certainly, all of them will be contributing to meaningful change in their communities.
Today, you are honoured for mentoring young people and for helping them on the journey of discovery we all take when we are young.
You are the backbone of the Association, volunteering to ensure that the next generation of Scouts have the same opportunities that you did as youths. I am grateful for your contributions and for your continued support of young people in this country.
Congratulations to all of you on receiving these honours.