A Scout leader in the local area for 30 years, Robin McKay has a heart for children even though he doesn’t have any of his own.
For his commitment he recently received a certificate of long-service to local Scouts.
“I like working with children and youth,” said McKay, who first became an adult leader in 1980 as a Troop Scouter in Donalda and has served in Stettler since 1991 after he first joined Scouting as a Cub in 1965 when he was about 10 years old.
“Hopefully, I can pass on some of my experience to these youth.”
“If I can help out one youth, it’s worth it all,” said McKay.
Over the three decades, he estimates he has served as an adult leader for 150 to 200 children and youth.
After becoming active in Scouts as a young boy, he became a Scouter in Training – junior leader – when he was 16 years old since he found the program helping him in his life.
“I joined Scouts because it had something good to offer,” said McKay.
“Instead of children and youth watching television or getting into trouble, I like to see them active in youth programs such as Scouts, 4-H, sports, entertainment and culture,” said McKay.
From a young boy to leader, he has certainly been a valuable role model to youth in the program and community and impacted many lives.
“As a leader in Donalda in the late 1980s, one of the boys in my group gave me a small plaque with a reading titled ‘The Miracle of Friendship’,” said McKay.
“He came from a troubled home and he gave me this plaque I still have as a gift of appreciation.”
“I have youth over the years who say things that make it all worth for being a leader – usually it’s a thank-you,” said McKay.
“After one road trip to Edmonton, one youth told me thank you for taking the time to find this activity.”
His service and commitment have also been appreciated by leaders of Scouts Canada.
“One district commissioner told me that ‘I can see why you’re a Scout leader because we can take a young boy and see him grow up into a man’,” said McKay.
“I also heard another district commissioner say that we all have to have fun, leaders included.”
Besides weekly Scout meetings, local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts have also engaged in various outings that included the Stettler Mid-Winter Scout Jamboree that he said was held annually from 1964 to 2005.
“It was the longest-running Scout jamboree in Alberta,” said McKay, who led the Arctic Camp where the participants were required to start a fire and complete various other skills and activities.
During one of those jamborees, he was touched by one of the leaders who showed his love for the youth.
“As a youth, I was as the Stettler jamboree many times and I can remember some of the boys were homesick and one night, one of the leaders Dudley Jones encouraged and talked with the boys for about an hour-and-a-half and they stayed the rest of the weekend,” said McKay.
“This incident stood out in my mind as a youth that a leader was that caring.”
Times like this, along with the Scout’s Promise and the Scout’s Law have left lasting impressions on McKay as well.
Shortly after joining Scouts, he quickly learned the Scout Promise that “on my honour, I promise to do my best; to do my duty to God and the Queen; to help other people at all times; and to obey the Scout law, although the last line changed in 1968 – “to carry out the spirit of Scouting”.
He has also followed the Scout’s Law:
• A Scout’s honour is to be trusted.
• A Scout is loyal.
• A Scout’s duty is to be useful and help others.
• A Scout is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout.
• A Scout is courteous.
• A Scout is a friend to animals.
• A Scout obeys the orders of his parents, patrol leader, or Scout Master without question.
• A Scout smiles and whistles under all difficulties.
• A Scout is thrifty.
• A Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.
Although that was later shortened to “a Scout is trustworthy and cheerful, considerate and clean, and kind and wise in the use of his or her resources.”
And that’s what marks good leaders such as those in Scouts and others in the community.