Scouts Canada celebrates founder's birthday, looks for more volunteers

For the past 48 years William 'Bill' Taylor has always taken the time to lend a helping hand to the Scouts Canada group in Thunder Bay, Ont. He said he noticed a decline in volunteers over the last several years.

In the 1980s there were close to 50 scout groups in Thunder Bay, today there are only five left

William Taylor has been volunteering with Scouts Canada for the past 40 years. As the current Camp Chief at Grey Wolf Camp, he will be honoured with a special award on Saturday, Feb 24 at Victoriaville Mall in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Friends of Grey Wolf / Facebook)

For the past 48 years William 'Bill' Taylor has always taken the time to lend a helping hand to the Scouts Canada group in Thunder Bay, Ont. 

From being a scouts leader to now a camp chief at Grey Wolf Camp, Taylor said he grew up as a scouts member himself and has also put all his children through the program.

"I went through the scouting movement myself as a cub ... down in Coldwater, Ontario and as I got older and moved up [to northwestern Ontario], I wanted to get into scouting here [so] I started out at the 12 Port Arthur as a troop scout and I stayed there for years," Taylor said.

As a camp chief at Grey Wolf, Taylor said he meets new scout members every summer from all over Canada and the United States. However, over the last 10 years Taylor said he noticed a decline in the number of volunteer leaders.

"One time here up until around 1980, there was close to 50 groups across both sides of the city and outlying areas like Atikokan [and] Kakabeka," Taylor explained.

Today in Thunder Bay, there's only a total of five scout groups and the number of members are only getting smaller and smaller as "families are only two, three children."

Founder of Scouts Canada turns 161

Scouts and Girl Guide members all over the world celebrated the 161st birthday of Lord Robert Baden Powell on Thursday.

Based on learning survival skills through outdoor activities like camping, Baden Powell created the scouts movement as a weekend program for boys until it grew and expanded to the United States in 1910.

On Thursday, scouts members all over Canada wore their uniforms to school to show others the importance of Baden Powell's birthday and to encourage fellow classmates to participate in the program as well.

"Scouting is always changing their program to keep up with the trend of the world," Taylor said, "but we have to start with our Beaver program to get the Beavers up and running so eventually they'll move up ... and make something in the program that's going to keep their interest."

Weekend full of activities

In light of Baden Powell's birthday, Taylor said scout groups all over northwestern Ontario will be hosting various activities and events near their area.

In Thunder Bay, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers will hold their annual race with cars they've built themselves at the Victoriaville Mall on Saturday at 11 a.m.

During the event, Taylor said he will also be honoured with an award from the Scouts Canada group for his 40 plus years of volunteering.

He said he hopes the annual rally car race will draw the attention of those interested in volunteering.

"We only have the one scout camp in Thunder Bay and we're always looking for volunteers down there to come and help," Taylor said.