When he was a Beaver at St. John’s Norway in the Beach, Matthew volunteered on Apple Day, as is an annual tradition for many in all levels of Scouts. On his first Apple Day, Rainbow — a Beaver leader — stationed Matthew outside a popular local coffee shop where for the next few hours the Scouts would distribute shiny crisp apples and collect donations. It was on that day that Matthew, then age five, witnessed an impactful act of generosity. A man, impoverished and homeless, emptied his bag and his pockets of their change, all in support of Apple Day and Scouting. The man gave everything he had including, in the process, a lasting impression.
This year Matthew, now a Scout turning Venturer, joined other members of the 35/37th Toronto Scouts in support of people who are homeless. It was the final element in youth from the troop earning Scouts Canada’s ‘Chief Scout Award’ — recognizing the highest levels of achievement and service.
To receive their award, the Scouts had to complete a community service project. The 35/37th Toronto troop chose to prepare care kits for the homeless. They reached out to local businesses and organizations to help fill backpacks and bags with important everyday items including socks and toiletries - items that many people often take for granted - but that people who are homeless consider luxuries.
Together with the leadership of Troop Scouters Chris, Jamie M, Jim and Jamie P, the 35/37th Toronto Scouts visited Haven Toronto, a drop-in centre for elder men age 50-plus who have been impacted by poverty, homelessness and isolation. At Haven Toronto, the Scouts learned more about the issue of homelessness, including the stereotypes that shape public perceptions that run contrary to the reality that Matthew experienced almost a decade earlier.
That day at Haven Toronto, the troop prepared and served lunch, helped in the emergency clothing room and distributed care kits to a grateful audience, many of whom recall their own experiences scouting in Canada.
This year, eight Scouts from 35/37th Toronto will receive their ‘Chief Scout Award’. The Troop have been active in the Beach since 1912.
Apple Day 2019 is October 18th and 19th.