Grade 10 students Simon Maltby (left) and Federico Zovatto are both recent recipients of the Chief Scout’s Award.

PORT HAWKESBURY: Simon Maltby and Federico Zovatto, both Grade 10 students at SAERC, have received the highest achievable award in Canadian Scouting.

“It’s just a really cool honour,” said Maltby, who received his Chief Scouts Award in June. “I just want to say thank you to all of the leaders who have helped us over the years.”

The Chief Scouts Award was created in 1973, and Scouts who achieve the award are recognized nationally as leaders in their local troop. To be considered, recipients must meet a set of requirements including previous awards, such as the Pathfinder, and World Conservation awards. They must participate in a variety of leadership activities and demonstrate community involvement.

It was a three-year process for the local students, during which they gained a variety of new skills and shared what they learned with other Scouts.

“When you get your Chief Scouts Award, it means that you can be relied on for any task. It means you have a vast knowledge on outdoor skills and you have helped out doing volunteer service in your community,” said Zovatto.

Contributed photo
Simon Maltby and Federico Zovatto were presented with their Chief Scout’s Awards at a ceremony in June.

Both Zovatto’s parents are local troop leaders, and he has been involved in the program for 11 years. He encouraged Maltby to become involved with the program as well.

“Once I started to hear about all the camps they went to and the certain activities they had done, it convinced me to join scouting as well,” said Maltby, who has been involved in the local troop for six years.

Although the students were honoured to receive the award, both said the best part of Scouting has been the friendships and experiences they gained through the program.

“It’s cool how it brings people together who might not have a lot in common,” said Maltby, who said he particularly enjoys gathering with other Scouts for the group’s annual camp in May.

“Every year, we have two big camp fires, and there are a bunch of traditions surrounding that. I like being there, the campfires, and the songs. It really creates fantastic memories.”

This year, three local Scouts joined 6,000 other scouts from throughout the country to attend the annual Canadian Jamboree in Halifax.

“It was a week of fun activities,” said Zovatto, who attended the event with his siblings. “I think the best part was when we went deep sea fishing in Halifax Harbour.”

Both Zovatto and Maltby say they would encourage other youth who may be interested in Scouting to give it a try.

“There’s no reason not to, because when you join scouting, you learn a bunch of skills that will help you in the future, and when you volunteer … you feel that you can make a change in your community,” said Zovatto, who pointed out that the Port Hawkesbury Troop has gained several new members this year.

Maltby added that the program provides valuable learning opportunities for youth.

“It’s a really cool organization where you can learn outdoor skills, research skills, and gain knowledge about your country and history,” said Maltby. “It’s a great organization that you can be part of for your whole entire life.”