Leading a troop of Scouts to the Pacific Jamboree
Oct 26, 2019Pay It Forward
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Payworks' philosophy is to Pay it Forward. We believe that the richness and health of our community greatly enhances the quality of life for everyone - not only do we as a company believe that, but our staff does as well. Calgary Implementation Specialist, Eric Sparrow is a shining example of this. Outside of the office and using his company Pay it Forward Day, Eric dedicates his time regularly to Scouts Canada, specifically the 75th Midnapore Scouts in Calgary. Most recently he achieved the amazing goal of helping to raise $3,600 for a once-in-a-lifetime camping experience called the Pacific Jamboree for his chapter.
The British Columbia Scouts host a Pacific Jamboree event every four years, and this past year the event was held on Vancouver Island July 6-13. The Pacific Jamboree is a seven-night camp experience where 3,500 attendees gather from across Canada, as well as New Zealand, Africa, Mexico and Europe. Throughout the event, the participants are able to partake in one-on-one team building skills. Some of the highlights from this year's Pacific Jamboree include a high rope obstacle course, a craft and skills arena, as well as a trip to Victoria with an overnight hike on the Juan de Fuca trail - pretty sweet!
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a group of Scouts to go to," explained Eric. "The Scout program is four years and the event takes place every four years. There's 27 events to choose from and each one is a totally unique and an amazing experience for the Scouts. The first event our group participated in was the Obstacle Ropes course. The course they put up was huge. High ropes going from cedar to cedar in the Island Forest, 10 to 30 feet above the forest floor. The scouts were shocked to say the least."
In order for seven scouts and two leaders from the 75th Midnapore Scouts to attend the Pacific Jamboree, Eric spear-headed the fundraising initiatives to make this experience possible. In total they raised $3,600 which Eric says "felt like a real accomplishment." The funds were raised through various bottle drives and group-driven fundraising initiatives such as popcorn sales. The crew was able to gather all of the funds to make their trip a reality under a time crunch.
"We started fundraising late because we didn't decide to do this adventure until the beginning of January," explained Eric. "When we submitted our request for a spot at the Pacific Jamboree, we were put on the wait list. We did eventually receive our notice of acceptance and we were the last group in. For six months of fundraising this was an awesome accomplishment."
The Pacific Jamboree is a perfect example of why Eric dedicates his time to supporting and volunteering for Scouts Canada. Eric explained he had a blast as a Scout in his youth and knew his own kids would also enjoy their own experiences through the program as well. However, five years ago everything changed when the Troop Leader moved away and there was no one left to take the reigns.
"I stepped in and in short order found a huge adventure that I was missing out on," said Eric of his volunteer experience with Scouts. "A Troop Leader is responsible for organizing the programs for Scouts. The overall goal is to help the youth understand both organizing and leadership skills as well as teaching them some life lessons such as wilderness, survival, fishing and lightweight camping skills."
On average Eric spends about eight hours per week volunteering for the 75th Midnapore Scouts in Calgary. Prepping for and attending weekly meetings, updating files, scheduling camps, collecting fees, attending training himself, in addition to attending the camps once per month. But, Eric says it's worth every minute.
"Scouts Canada is a great organization and it gives kids the opportunity to challenge themselves and experience things they can't do on their own," said Eric.