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Do a good turn daily

The last glorious concussion swept over the crowd and the swirls and bursts of light faded from the spectacular fireworks display.

The last glorious concussion swept over the crowd and the swirls and bursts of light faded from the spectacular fireworks display.

So ended the 40th anniversary of Montreal’s La Ronde Amusement Park on Ste. Helene’s Island a week ago, and the large crowd moved away.

Tens of thousands headed for the nearest Metro station to catch the subway home.

At our stop, the Papineau Metro, crowds jammed the entrances and slowly funneled down two flights of escalators to the platform level.

Metro police shepherded the crowd into the subway cars as new trains arrived. In our crowded car a young man immediately got up and offered his seat to an older person as she got on.

Where did he learn to do this? Who taught him to freely make a gesture such as this?

By holding a door open for someone, proffering a “good morning” to passerby on the street, taking the time to answer the query of a stranger or any of a scores of other daily acts we make our society more civil.

It doesn’t take extra time or effort really. It does, however, take a willingness to see ourselves as part of a community.

Yesterday a temporary community of nearly 8,000 people who had spent the last week tenting on 40 hectares of land around Lac Tamaracouta broke camp.

Located in the foothills of the Laurentians about an hour and a half north of Montreal the Tamaracouta Scout Reserve, the oldest active scout camp in Canada, has been the site of the 11th Canadian Jamboree.

This gathering served to mark as well the 100th anniversary of the worldwide Scouting movement.

Youth and leaders from every province, territory and nine countries from as far a field as Kenya and Taiwan, came.

We had six young people from the First Porter Creek Venturers down. They formed part of the corps of 200 youth volunteers.

Arriving a couple of days prior to the jamboree, they participated in the training needed to run the camp. Our Yukon contingent each raised $1,400 for the privilege of volunteering to help staff the canteens and provide logistical support to campers.

Our Yukon Venturers form part of a national organization, which sees over 78,000 young people from five to 26 years of age experiencing the scouting program here in our country.

Scouts Canada in turn is part of a global movement with over 28 million youth participating in scouting activities in 155 countries.

A sunrise ceremony marked the centennial of Scouting on August 1st at the jamboree.

Similar events around the world opened to a deep sound blown from an instrument made from the long twisted horn of a kudu, an African antelope.

The long ago recorded voice of Robert Baden-Powell, the movement’s founder, lead the thousands of uniformed scouts, 10 to 15 per cent of whom are now girls or young women, in a recitation of the Scout Promise.

Mohawk elder Albert McArdle followed by made offerings to the four directions. In doing so he reinforced the key linkage in scouting between duty to community, service to others and the responsibility to safeguard the environment.

“Over 100 years, the faces that represent Scouting may have changed” noted Hollie Fletcher, the young woman serving as the deputy camp chief, “but its key principles endure.”

I don’t know whether the young man on the Metro had been a scout or not. His simple action suggested that he somehow learned that by doing a good turn he could help create the kind of world that ultimately will bridge the gaps between cultures, religions, genders and generations.

Scouts understand this. Have you done your good turn today?

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