Each month International News profiles a Scout from overseas:
Kaylee Galipeau, Canada
First Scout Promise: My Beaver Scout investiture when I was 5 years old – September 1996. I was with the 9th Hermitage Scout group in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Current Scouting Role: National Youth Commissioner, Chair of the National Youth Network, and an officer of the Board of Governors.
In the real world: I live in Grande Prairie, Alberta and I work in Municipal Government Administration, with aspirations of becoming a CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) in a municipality. Outside of work I spend lots of time outdoors with my partner David, and spend time with our pets Harper the Hedgehog and Nancy the Ball Python.
On youth engagement in decision making:
In Canada we work in a “Key 3” system. This means that at every level (group, area, council, national) there is a staff member, a volunteer, and a volunteer under 26 that work in an equal partnership to oversee the operations at their level. This includes everything from training to screening to program. As the National Youth Commissioner I work in equal partnership with our National Commissioner, Doug Reid, and our CEO, Andrew Price. The three of us are in constant communication and collaborate to run things at the National Level of Scouts Canada.
All three of the National Key 3 sit on the Board of Governors, but there’s also a requirement that 3 members of the Board of Governors be under 26. Youth involvement is such an important part of what we do that myself and the other youth members aren’t seen as just “youth members” or asked our opinions on just “youth issues.” Being a part of the Board has been a great learning experience for me, but I also have lots of opportunities to meaningfully contribute on all matters that come to the board.
On a funny Scouting memory:
As a Cub Scout when winter camping it was always an important rule to drink a hot beverage before bedtime to get something warm into you. (Keep in mind we were tenting in -20 degrees). I hated hot chocolate and anything else, so my Scouters used to get me to drink hot juice. On one particular trip it was blue raspberry juice. I wasn’t feeling well and threw up, which of course covered the snow and turned it blue. My poor scouters then had everyone wanting blue juice to make snow art!
On Canadian Scouting:
Canada is the only WOSM member country with two distinctly recognized NSOs. We have Scouts Canada, which is bilingual, but also l’association des scouts du Canada which is a strictly Francophone organization. We have in recent years greatly strengthened our partnership with them.
Our National Youth Spokesperson Program is also unique. Once a year we bring a selection of members under 26 together to receive media training. They gain skills to prepare them to act as our spokespeople. The program started in 2010 and has been very successful. We now have a growing bank of young people that act as our representatives in TV, Radio, & Print. They do a great job, and are much more representative of what our organization is about than the traditional model of your most senior people taking all the calls.
On the biggest challenge facing Scouting today:
In Canada at least, we need to reach out to our great diversity. We need to connect with new (and old) Canadians of all cultures. I think especially in the leadership of all Scout organizations, we need to celebrate and benefit from all types of diversity: age, spiritual beliefs, gender, sexuality, culture etc. We can only become stronger because of it!