To adjust to changes over time and to better meet today’s needs with a younger generation of leaders, the former separate Estonian Guides in Canada and Estonian Scouts in Canada Councils formed a new joint council, the Estonian Scouts and Guides in Canada Council. The guide and scout Groups will still work as before but now guided by the joint Council.
Formation of the joint council was a necessity. Over the years not only the Estonian community but the community in which it exists have both changed. Also the new generations that have grown up during this time are, at least partly, not participating in the Estonian community. Their interests have widened beyond our community and technology has noticeably impacted on their lives. All of this has affected our youth and leader numbers and our ability to recruit new members. There was a need for “renewal”!
The Guide Council had already discussed “renewal” earlier during a brainstorming session when considering options to separate from Guides Canada. The joint council idea came from there. This was discussed again at the 2010 leader’s convention (“Nõupäev”) and it was decided a working group representing both councils and all groups should examine the issue. The goal for the working group was to formulate a proposal for a joint council for implementation by the 2011/2012 activity year. The many productive and friendly meetings, which lasted through the summer, produced a proposal and guidelines for implementation which were presented to the 2011 Nõupäev. It was agreed to put the proposal to a vote.
There was a 62% response to the proposal, sent by mail to all registered leaders. As there were no opposing votes the executive for the new joint council was elected at the 2011 annual meeting of the former councils. In addition to the elected members all Guide and Scout Group chairs are ex-officio members of the executive.
What will this change accomplish? It reduces and lightens the workload on leaders, improves communication and enhances teamwork, all desired by the younger generation leaders. The former structure with two separate council executives duplicated work as three decisions were required where this can now be done at one meeting. Also instead of four meetings the annual meetings can now be done with one. The new executive will also simplify the coordination of joint activities and if they desire, provide support to the two guide Groups, Põhjala Tütred and Rajaleidjad, when they merge during the 2013/2014 activity year.
The development of the complex proposal and its rapid implementation are demonstrative of the leadership and teamwork skills the youth have learned through their guide and scout activities. It worth noting that there are numerous individuals within our community organiztions who have been guides or scouts and we’d like to assume that many of them obtained their basic leadership skills and interest in it from this experience.
The objectives of the council are to (a) focus youth of Estonian descent towards Scouting- Guiding activities; (b) help their growth into responsible citizens and members of the Estonian community in Canada through Scouting- Guiding principles; (c) explain Estonian cultural and language values during activities. It is our hope that these objectives will help to, at least partly, insure potential future leadership candidates for our community. The first major activity for the joint council will be the camp “Maleva Laager”, August 12-19, 2012.
Currently participating in the joint executive (I) elected: skm Ants Evard (chair), gdj Eva Kütti (vice-chair), gdj Eliis Vokespp (correspondence secretary), ngdr Tiina Tamm (treasurer - guides) ja nskm Heikki Kolga (treasurer - scouts), (ii) ex-officio (Group leaders): skm Enno Agur, nskm David Hogg, ngdr Kadri Munro ja ngdr Raja Raudsepp (contact), (iii) other participants: gdr Siiri Lepp (EGKKK) ja gdj Maarika Hiis (alternate group contact).
A new era for Estonian Guide and Scout Groups in Toronto