|Tom Spackman of Scouts Canada|
Scouts Canada, a non-denominational co-ed organization, is returning to Pincher Creek after a 15 year hiatus.
Pincher Creek Scouts Canada Area Support Manager Tom Spackman addressed Pincher Creek's Town Council during their regular meeting on Monday evening May 11. He was requesting free-of-charge meeting space for Scouts Canada at the Central Gymnasium, which is located next to council's chambers, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings starting September 1 for Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts.
Spackman's proposal received a lot of support from council. When he asked who if any of the councillors had been involved with Girl Guides or scouts every council member held up their hand, with Councillor Doug Thornton later volunteering that he had been the first Queen's Scout in Pincher Creek, the highest youth award achievable in the Scouting.
Spackman said he was invited to the recent mass registration night hosted by the Town of Pincher Creek recreation department in March. Spackman said that 40 youngsters joined up and 10 adults joined as leaders. The three Scout Canada youth age groups include Beavers (5-7), Cubs (8-10), and Scouts (11-14). Spackman said he anticipated there would be approximately 20 kids in each age group.
Spackman said the gymnasium "is the ideal spot to start our meetings." He explained that most meetings are held outdoors, but it would be good to have a place to gather during inclement weather. He compared the $190 fee for joining to other organizations and activities children can join. "Scouting is affordable. We have a policy with Scouts Canada that no one will ever be denied access into scouting because of finances." According to their website, Scouts Canada's No One Left Behind (click here) policy "helps to ensure, through fee subsidization, that every child has an opportunity to experience a local Scouts Canada program".
Councillor Thornton wanted clarification as to which, if any, religious groups were sponsoring the group. "The Legion is working on being our sponsor," said Spackman. "This is non-denominational."
Mayor Don Anderberg said that the gym facility is very busy. Spackman said that he had talked with Town administration, and at the time of that discussion there was only one scheduling conflict, in November.
Later during the same council meeting councillor Mark Barber said "I'm totally in favour of this, by the way, but I am also worried about other groups, and we have been charging them." There was discussion about the added pressure on the gymnasium space since the MD basement chambers at their former location became unavailable, and that the pressure may continue to grow with the likely upcoming loss of the smaller St. Michael's School gym, as that structure is slated to be demolished as part of the imminent St. Michael's renovation project.
The request was put to a vote, and council unanimously agreed to allow Scouts Canada free use of the gymnasium, to be reviewed annually, and requested administration's assistance to find workable time slots.