Located in a designated area along the bank of the North Saskatchewan River, Scout Village offers guests the opportunity to try their hand at a selection of the outdoors skills taught to each new generation of Scouts, including sawing logs and hammering nails.
Beavers, Cubs and Scouts from the Prince Albert area camped out at Scout Village in tents over the weekend, which fell near the birthday of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell.
“The entire week is a lead-up to celebrations of Baden-Powell’s birthday, which was … Feb. 22,” Fourth Black Eagle Scout leader Frank Guger said.
“So we like to come out and have our torchlight parade in memory of that, just get out in the public and have people come and see that Scouting’s still alive, and we’re still doing the same things that we’ve doing for years and years and we’re hoping that we get more and more people come and join us.”
A Scout leader in Prince Albert for 22 years, Guger has fond memories of his own youthful Scouting days.
The skills he learned in the organization as a boy have stayed with him well into adulthood, instilling in Guger a desire to pass on those lessons to new generations.
“When I was eight, nine or so, I was in the Cubs,” he said. “I enjoyed it then, and since then I’ve had my three kids go through it, and they’ve had a positive experience there, so I’m just hoping to get other people’s kids to go through in and come out with learning.
“It’s all about teaching them how to be a better member of society, and if they learn a little bit of campcraft and lore, that’s all the better for them.”
Happy to offer a glimpse of that knowledge to the Herald readership, Guger proceeded to describe each of the various “stations” in Scout Village.
When first approached, the Scout leader was busy preparing a vertical oven, a method of cooking in which meat is hung from the centre of a teepee-style bundle of sticks.
“We’ve got a nice big roast, (which we) hang … in the centre here,” Guger said. “We have quick light briquettes (and) we drop one down in there, wrap the whole thing up in tin foil and hang it down like that, and a couple hours later it’s cooked.”
Next to the vertical oven was a long horizontal piece of wood, which children were enthusiastically hammering nails into.
“It’s amazing how many kids have never picked up a hammer and nail and actually pounded it on things … It’s something to do that they might not ever get to do otherwise,” Guger explained.
It’s all about teaching them how to be a better member of society, and if they learn a little bit of campcraft and lore, that’s all the better for them. - Frank Guger
He added, “If they get a few of them and want to get competitive, well, we’ll get the bigger nails out and make it a little bit more competitive. But usually it’s just to have them have some fun and have the little ones do some pounding on something that nobody’s going to yell at them about pounding.”
With some dangerous tools lying about, it was important for Scout leaders to teach the children basic safety tips prior to use.
The kids caught on quickly. On the other side of Scout Village, Matthew Boeileyne and Cub Scout Kole Vankoughnett, both nine years old, nonchalantly cut through a log with a sweep-saw.
Boeileyne described the activity as “fun,” an assessment with which his companion agreed.
“I won two times in the hammer,” Vankoughnett noted. “But this is funner.”
The 2013 winter festival marked the fifth appearance of the Scout Village at the event and the second at the new River Street location.
Guger described the arrangement as a success for everyone involved.
“The partnership with the winter festival has been good because … we get the draw from the winter festival, and the people come in and see.”