This is a photo of the original Scout badge design used by the Russell Scouts. Courtesy Photo

Sandy Casselman 
Villager Staff

EMBRUN – While Scouting celebrated its 100th anniversary nationally and internationally in 2007, the 2nd Russell Scouting Troop is set to hit the same milestone at the end of this month.

On Oct. 23, the 2nd Russell Scouting Troop will be taking part in a special dedication hosted by the South Nation Conservation, SNC) at the J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area.  The SNC will be honouring the anniversary of the scouting movement in Russell and at the same time explaining their winter tree management plan to visitors.

Randy Miller, also known as Old Wolf, is one of the group’s longest serving members, having put in 37 years working with the Russell scouting movement at every level.

The movement in Russell involves a Beaver colony, a Cub pack, a scout troop, a Venture company, and a Rover troop.

“All in the village of Russell,” said Miller.

Because of Covid the various groups have tried to stay connected with an online presence.

“The last year has not been all that good,” said Miller. “We still ran a program. Six scouts took part in the program,” he said. A part of the program was conducted through zoom and the rest was all outdoors.

“The Beavers held meetings by Zoom, so they did do a few things to keep the youth interested in the  movement.”

All of the different groups are now meeting at the Marionville Community Centre on Wednesday nights.

Despite the pandemic, the Russell Scouts are still going strong.

The 1st Russell Scouting Troop was founded on Oct. 31, 1921 and ran until the end of the 1970s. Initially, there were 15 youth members in the Scout Troop. Uninterested in forming and supporting a Cub Pack, the 1st Russell Scouting Troop didn’t have enough youth to maintain itself past 1978-1979.

This led to the formation of the 2nd Russell Scouting Troop in 1978, when a group of interested parents, together with the United Church as a sponsor, chartered the new group, which included one Cub Pack. A Scout Troop was added beginning in 1981, followed by the first Beaver Colony in 1982, a second Beaver Colony in 1983, and a third in 1986.

A Venture Company was created in 1987. It lasted one year, but was reborn a couple of years later, lasting for roughly two years before collapsing. Another was created again in 1992, but only lasted for a year. It made a comeback again in 1998 for roughly three years.

The second Cub Pack was added in 1990 and operated for several years, followed by a third Cub Pack in 1996, which also operated for several years.

The first year that women were permitted to participate in the Scout Troop was 1997. In 2010, Scouts Canada adopted a new National Program Standard, implementing new National Program Quality Awards for each section. In 2011, Scouts Canada changed the names of section programs, and offered a new design for both uniforms and badges. New points systems, badges, and awards were created as Scouting evolved and grew.

Since its inception in 1921, Russell Scouting has seen packs, troops, companies, and colonies come and go, but it has maintained its presence and its foothold in the area. Over the years, participants attended jamborees throughout the country, accumulating a variety of both individual and group awards both for participants and organizers.

Russell’s Scouting members have been in the news several times throughout the years, usually for their participation in what was an annual balloon race held during Russell’s Winter Carnival. A long-time fundraiser, the Balloon Race made headlines in 1991 when one such balloon was found to have made its way all the way to Ireland.