FOCUS-Scouts Canada Youth Leadership Training Conference

December 5th – 7th, 2003 - Samac Adventure Base, Haliburton, Ontario
Based on Scouts Canada National Youth Committee's Focus '97

Link to Dec 3-5, 2004 FOCUS Leadership Training


1st Whitby Venturers:- Ryan, Roderick, Sean, Kevin, Amy, Siobhan, Selena, Karen, Sam, Keith, Brendan, Leader Brian Wick, Tim Pollock, guest Jake Wiid (UK Scout Org.)
1st Port Perry Police Venturers:- Cody, Justin, Mike P, Mike V., Leader Scott Rundle.
1st Uxbridge Police Venturers:- Andrew, William, Leader Diana Rowland.

The Location

The following link has details and directions to Samac Adventure Base

The Plan

FOCUS 2003 group at Haliburton8:00 pm Arrival at the “Trading Post”
10:00 1st session: “Who Am I” (Ryan Mitchell)
12:00 Cards, etc.
2:00 am All quiet
9:00 am Rise and breakfast
10:00 Outdoors and mapping exercise (Outdoorsman Award Requirement 2.c.)
11:00 2nd session: “Effective Communications” (Keith McGinty)
1:00 pm Lunch
2:00 3rd session: “Group Dynamics & Teamwork“ (Roderick Dotzko)
4:00 Outdoors and football
5:00 4th session: “
Goal-Setting” (Brendan Hendel-McCarthy)
7:00 Dinner
8:30 5th session: “Situational Leadership” (Selena Lam)
9:30 Night hike to Al's Diner
10:30 Cards, etc.
1:00 am All quiet
9:00 am Rise and breakfast
10:00 Pack up gear
11:00 Spiritual reflection, debrief impact of weekend
... clean cabin and prepare to leave for noon.

Download Focus Participant's Manual (MS Word.doc,
260 KB, revised Winter 2002, )
Download Focus Trainer's Manual
(MS Word.doc 201 KB, revised Winter 2002)

Weekend Menu

Menu for the youth is as follows $20 each:
Friday:  Hot chocolate, cookies, nacho chips with cheese and salsa
Saturday am: instant oatmeal, coco puffs, lucky charms (limited supply) milk, apples, juice crystals, coffee
Saturday noon: hot dogs, chilli, chicken noodle soup, crackers, raw carrots, juice crystals
Saturday evening: pasta, sauce, chicken breasts (oven), juice
Saturday late: sandwich meat, cheese slices, bread or buns
Sunday am:  instant oatmeal, coco puffs, lucky charms (limited supply) milk, apples, juice crystals, coffee

How did it go?

We were delighted to arrive at Haliburton to about 6” of crisp clean snow. The temperature was a chilly negative 15 degrees Celsius. Once on site, the Venturers loaded their gear into the large cabin and each individual picked out a bed that they thought was suitable for their specific needs. Shortly after, everyone was unpacked and introductions took place. The weekend was going to be spent with new friends so the Venturers made sure they all knew who they were staying with.

The main game plan for the weekend was to run the FOCUS leadership training modules for the youth. It was run by the youth themselves with Venturers Keith Mcginty, Ryan Mitchell, Selena Lam, Roderick Dotzko and Brendan Hendel-McCarthy as the trainers. Module one was to be conducted by Ryan and at first the youth were very hyper and had a tough time staying focused and on topic. Eventually, after it was stressed that the modules would go quicker if the youth paid close attention, they began to settle down. Module one was started around 9:45 p.m. and concluded around 10:30 p.m. After that, it was decided that no more modules would be run until the next morning. For the rest of the night, the youth mainly talked while some played a few games of cards. Lights were called out at around 2 p.m. and although the youth were still talking, they were resting and eventually they all dropped off to sleep.

The next morning, everyone was up by 10 a.m. and breakfast consisted of cereal. The two cereals were Count Chocula and Lucky Charms. Once everyone was fed, it was decided that module two would be started. This was to be run by Brendan. The youth were cooperative this time around and the module flowed nicely. Once Brendan concluded, Roderick took over and continued on with module three. This went smoothly as well and soon it was concluded.

For the modules, the youth were issued work books that they were to take notes in. Some of the youth were using these to their advantage while others were not, righting in silly sentences and scribbles. Either way the modules would continue and Keith was up next with his module, number 4. He was to the point and that was exactly what was gotten across. Once Keith finished, it was time for lunch but before that happened some of the youth went outside to enjoy the snow. They used picnic tables and logs to build a ramp for sledding. That was good fun. Eventually they were called in because lunch had been made. They headed in to enjoy a nice warm chilidog lunch. Most of the youth enjoyed that, but especially Sam. After lunch, it was time for module 5 which was to be run by Selena. By this time the youth were all listening attentively and it was clear that maybe some of them were making an effort to take more out of the program then they previously thought they could. Once Selena was finished, a closing was made and the program was laid to rest for the weekend. To be honest, most of the youth were overjoyed at this. Regardless, they still had gone through the experience.

At this time many of the youth were tired and decided to nap. This went on for a good 2 hours. Others sat around the woodstove and watched the fire. Around 4 p.m. Keith, Brendan and Kevin decided to head home due to obligations back in the city. Soon supper rolled around and pasta with chicken and tomato sauce was whipped up. This was a very enjoyable meal and went down well. After supper, some more napping took place while some Venturers decided to play dominoes and cards.

A little later, Jake (a Scout visiting from England) came in to see if anyone wanted to go hike to Al’s Diner for a hot chocolate. No one moved so he left but shortly after, Brian came in to do some persuading. This time everyone went and the hike was on. Brian stopped everyone half way along the trail to take a moment and reflect on the quiet of the forest and different forest sounds not heard in the city. Once they reached Al’s Diner at the top of a long hill everyone was relieved. What was supposed to take 20 minutes ended up taking more like 40 minutes, while they go lost on the snow covered trail.  Everyone sat down to enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate.  After they got back to the cabin, the youth were all pretty tired and everyone hopped into their sleeping bags to rest and soon to drift off to sleep.

The next morning, everyone was up by 10:15 a.m. and on the menu for breakfast was oatmeal, orange juice and milk Tim had bought the night before. Groups broke out to collect wood, clean the kitchen, clean the cabin and prepare to leave for noon.

Everything went well. There is no question the trainers got the most value out of the weekend. It gave them the opportunity to learn the material and try their best to deliver it to a group of their peers who may not have been as focused as desirable. Focus took on a whole new meaning.

The participants were encouraged by Scouter Brian Wick to carry on the message and take the FOCUS program back to their Companies, to teach their peers.

Return to 1st Whitby Venturers
Contact Brian Wick