Scouting facing major crisis: Watchdog

Some two 
dozen Scout eh! protesters outside national headquarters in 
Some two dozen Scout eh! protesters outside national headquarters in Ottawa

Hudson Gazette

August 30, 2006

Hudson — The Canadian Scouting movement is on life support and may not be able to live much past next summer's centennial celebrations, warns Scoutmaster Doug Peets.

Peets, founder of Hudson's successful 1st Cavagnal Scout Troop, is one of the 675 registered Scouters behind a new watchdog group called Scout eh! 'dedicated to turning Scouts Canada into a democratic association and working for constructive reform from within.'

This past Saturday, Peets joined two dozen other Scout eh! members in a Rally to Rescue Scouts Canada outside the organization's national headquarters in Ottawa. Nobody from the organization met them.

"I'm a strong supporter of the Scouting program," Peets said Monday. "I'm not a doom and gloom guy, but the Scouting program at the provincial and national levels is, at best, in very dire straits and in real jeopardy of collapse. We have to ask some serious questions about how it's being run."

Scout eh! believes Scouts Canada is being crippled by a top-heavy management propped up by a closed-circuit board structure. "[Management] has become non-responsive to the needs of the rank and file," says Peets. "The vast majority are volunteers, but because their management system has become unaccountable, they've become complacent, unable to respond to changes."

He's careful to emphasize the positives about the movement that Lord Baden-Powell founded 100 years ago next year.

"One thing that Scouting does that other youth programs don't is focus on character, teach young people to take responsibility for their own decisions. Scouting has a long and distinguished history in Hudson. We still have active leaders who have been a part of the organization for more than 20 years."

Peets readily admits he's a relative newcomer. "I founded a new Scout troop, 1st Cavagnal Scouts, three years ago when my own son was ready to move up from Cubs. Now, after only three years, we have the second-largest troop in Quebec, with 25 registered youth members and six adult leaders. Our program has grown every year, and I attribute our success to the quality of our program activities and the commitment of our leaders. The latter leads to the former."

Next summer, Scouts around the world will be holding events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the movement's creation by Lord Baden-Powell. Here in Canada, events will centre on a national Canadian Jamboree, CJ '07, to be held at Camp Tamaracouta in the Laurentians, the oldest continuously-operating Scout camp in the world, having opened in 1912.

"The sad fact is that Scouts Canada may not be able to survive past 2007," says Peets. Scout eh! cites three major factors in that bleak assessment:

For more on Scout eh!'s concerns, go to For more on the Scouting program in Hudson, go to