Presentation of Decorations of the Association des Scouts du Canada and Presentation of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers
Québec (Quebec), Sunday, October 2, 2016
I am delighted to celebrate service and excellence in Scouting with you, as well as to honour our most caring Canadians with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
As governor general and chef scout, I’m proud to wear this new national neckerchief, which I just got this morning.
I still remember back in 2013 when I officially declared the 14th World Scout Moot open in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Thousands and thousands of scouts from Canada and around the world were reunited together on one hill. I could feel the energy in the air. The pride of being enrolled in this organization was palpable. You should be proud to wear this uniform and neckerchief.
It’s a symbol of the ideal to which you aspire as scouts and as supporters of Scouting in Canada.
And what is that ideal? Put simply, the well-being of our children and young people.
I can think of few more worthy goals for any organization. The means by which you pursue this goal helps explain why Scouting remains relevant more than 100 years after its inception.
Adventure, outdoor experience, leadership, friendship, collaboration and the learning of practical skills—these are timeless and wonderfully effective ways of building confidence and ability.
Young people have such energy, curiosity and resolve to change the world for the better.
As the great humanitarian Jean Vanier put it:
“In the hearts of the young a fantastic call exists, a desire for peace, a desire for tolerance, an openness, and a compassion.”
As a father and grandfather, I know how much we can learn from children and young, and I know what they can learn from more experienced Scouters. That’s what makes Scouting such a wonderful experience—the learning is constant. It’s fun and practical, and it builds a sense of camaraderie that is very precious.
I’d like to thank the members and supporters of the Association des Scouts du Canada. Your efforts have allowed a whole new generation of leaders and activists to engage in our society.
You’re building what I like to call a smart and caring nation.
Scouts and scouters, the work you’re doing today is strengthening Canada and the world of tomorrow. And that’s why I’m so pleased to recognize your efforts with these awards and decorations, as well as with the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, which shines a light on those with a generous heart.
I would also like to take a moment to put out a call for nominations. The Medal for Volunteers is not being presented by accident: it’s the result of a nomination process begun by those who know our recipients best, and who know how worthy they are of recognition.
So I ask: who inspires you in your communities? Honour them, and help us celebrate and encourage those who seek to make a difference.
Congratulations to all of you on what you have achieved. I look forward to hearing of your contributions for years to come.