Scouts Canada is challenging young people to get outdoors this winter and learn new skills, with a new four-week outdoor skills challenge, Claim the Flame, launching on January 31. The challenge will get kids and young adults, ages five to 26, outdoors and socializing with their peers, while discovering their capabilities, developing important life skills, and building resiliency.
“As a youth-serving organization, we recognize the impact the pandemic is having on children and youth. We are committed to supporting communities at this time by continuing to provide a safe and fun place where kids can simply be kids,” said Andrew Price, Executive Commissioner and CEO, Scouts Canada. “Scouts Canada’s upcoming Claim the Flame challenge will give young people something exciting to look forward to each week, while offering adventure and outdoor activity at a time when they need it most.”
The challenge is designed to be scalable, allowing youth to participate with their Scouting Group, their families, or individually at home, depending on the local pandemic restrictions and individual level of comfort. Safety will be at the forefront, while also prioritizing socialization, mental health, personal growth, and skills development.
Scouting is a youth-led program, with children and young adults responsible for determining their own path forward. The challenge will provide the framework for Scouts to launch their own ideas and lead the activities, promoting resourcefulness, imagination, and leadership.
The fun challenges will see youth engaging in activities like building survival shelters, campfire cooking, embarking on a winter trek, or practicing winter first aid, all designed to help strengthen Scout’s competencies in four key areas: sports and physical activity, building and creativity, camping culinary skills, and adventure and exploration.
The first challenge is focused on sports and physical activity, and is inspired by the spirit of the Olympic Games — with a twist. Youth will take a traditional summer Olympic activity and turn it into a winter game, such as snow volleyball, or snow golf, or build and participate in their own winter triathlon.
Canadian families who are not in Scouting may also join in on the fun by accessing the weekly challenges, available now at scouts.ca/claimtheflame, and sharing it on social media by tagging @ScoutsCanada and using #ClaimTheFlame.
“Winter weather often leads many people to stay indoors, but we know that, no matter the season, getting outside has many powerful benefits for young people, including supporting mental health and building resiliency,” says Siobhan Ward, Youth Program Specialist, Scouts Canada. “As a Scout myself, I’ve experienced how outdoor play gives children a sense of wonder and freedom, which is needed more than ever during the pandemic. Understanding the constant changes kids are facing, Claim the Flame was designed so that Scout Groups could adapt the activities based on youth interest and local restrictions, helping kids strive to be their best selves and have fun, no matter where they are in Canada.”
“The great outdoors is an incredible environment for learning and self-discovery that helped me build a pathway towards success,” said Survivorman, Les Stroud, Scouts Canada’s new Chief Scout. “Scouts Canada’s winter outdoor skills challenge will be a powerful experience for young people to discover their potential and learn some important skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.”
Research shows outdoor recreation, a fundamental need for children, not only supports physical development, but also contributes to cognitive functioning, creativity, problem solving, and positive self-esteem, among many other benefits. Canadian guidelines recommend children ages five to 17 engage in 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity daily, and getting outside is a great way to achieve it.
Registration for Scouts Canada’s new year, January to December, 2022, is open now at Scouts.ca/Join. Scouting has safely continued without disruption, offering fun adventures throughout the pandemic through a mix of virtual, outdoor, and indoor programming. To ensure the health of the Scouting community, Scouts Canada implemented a successful five-stage Return to Scouting Plan that scales activity levels in accordance with the current direction of governments and health agencies, regionally and provincially. For more information, visit Scouts.ca/Covid-19.