My parents split up when I was around a year and a half. With my mother being so young and on her own with me, we relied on my grandparents a lot. We didn’t have a lot of money to do things, so I would spend most weekends with either my mother’s or my father’s parents (plus it gave my mom a much-needed break). Many of my childhood memories involve being at one of their houses on the weekends, during holidays and in the summer, and especially on sick days. Although they’re no longer with us, they were an integral part of who I am today. But I wanna talk to you about one of them in particular.
I had a different relationship with each one of my grandparents – all of them special in their own unique ways. My father’s mother Joan was a pretty darn special lady. She had her quirks, but her heart was made of pure gold. I think one of the coolest things about both of my grandmothers is that they worked for most of their lives – which was rare for women around 60 plus years ago. I love that all of the women in my family on both sides are strong examples and role models for me, especially when it comes to forging their own paths in life and not always sticking to the status quo.
Well, Joan Sugrue was one of those women for sure. She was intelligent, opinionated, quite stubborn at times, a hard worker, organized and yet she was also nurturing, kind, loving, motherly and generous. I like to believe that, we as women, don’t need to choose one or the other. We can be a total badass while also being inherently nurturing and kind. My grandmother loved giving back to her community, and friends and family alike. I never really thought much about the fact that she worked most of her life until I found out that a lot of her friends didn’t and that she was one of the only ones who actually did, when my father and aunt were growing up.
She worked for 27 years at Scouts Canada in Ottawa as a Secretary, mostly in training, awards and recognition. I remember going in to see her while she was working, exploring the building and learning all about this amazing organization that makes a difference in so many people’s lives – much like my grandmother did. And in her honour, I wanted to make sure that I did my part to help spread the message about something wonderful that they’re doing in order to offer financial support to those in need, so that all youth can experience the adventures of Scouting.
Scouts Canada’s No One Left Behind program is encouraging Canadians to open up their hearts to this important cause that makes an impact in the community by making a difference. Giving Tuesday originated in the United States as a movement to give back after Cyber Monday and has now migrated across North America and around the world. The aim of the program is to reduce the barriers of participating in Scouting by subsidizing membership and related costs such as uniforms, outdoor equipment and camps. This year, it falls on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 and they’re encouraging Canadians nation-wide to participate.
“My husband and I have been out of work, so our son wouldn’t be able to participate in Cub Scouts if it weren’t for the No One Left Behind program. I’ve been involved with Scouts Canada as a youth member and then a Scouter (volunteer) since the age of 13, and I’m thrilled to share this experience and my love of Scouting with my family,” says parent Tricia Steiger. “Scouts Canada has given our son unforgettable outdoor adventures, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, more confidence and a wider circle of friends – opportunities he wouldn’t have without No One Left Behind.”
“Scouts Canada provides youth have the opportunity to learn important life skills. The outdoor adventures and first time experiences we facilitate aim to develop young people and their confidence to be capable individuals prepared to succeed in the world,” says Andrew Price, Executive Commissioner and CEO of Scouts Canada. “Although Scouting is affordable, we recognize that not all families have additional disposable income to enrol their children in extracurricular programs. We want to ensure that no youth who wants to experience Scouting is left behind.”
Scouts Canada is one of the country’s leading youth organizations offering boys, girls, and young adults ages five to 26 the opportunity to discover the best in themselves in a social environment, while experiencing personal growth and enjoying experiences they may not have elsewhere. Adventures range from international trips, white water rafting and rock climbing to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) exploration – just to name a few. Registration for Scouts Canada’s programs is open year-round at Scouts.ca.
If it weren’t for people like my wonderful grandmother, initiatives like this wouldn’t be in place today in order to help people within the community by giving them some important tools that they can use towards brightening their future. Amongst the many things I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from her, helping others and giving back is one that I take with me every single day. I’d like to believe that her giant heart has rubbed off on me too.
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Catherine Sugrue, CNP
Photos by Catherine Sugrue & Scouts Canada
Scouts Canada is a not-for-profit organization (Charitable Registration No.10776 1694 RR0028) and a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.