Venturers Deliver Scouting to Moose Factory First Nations

A great challenge for the 1st Whitby Venturers turned out to more difficult than expected as they ventured 1200 km north to the isolated First Nation communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory on the shore of James Bay.

Participants to Moosonee/Moose Factory Four months of planning and preparation were abandoned at the Moosonee train station when Plan “B” (improvisation) went in to play. In the end, the mission was accomplished!

Seven Venturers and two advisors set out for Cochrane on June 26/02. The next morning they boarded the Polar Bear Express for the 4-1/2 hour journey north to Moosonee. On arrival, gear was stashed at the Arena while the participants got an orientation of the town site.

Plans to run a program for local youth had not been followed through with by local contacts so the process started over. They were told the children were still in school and an announcement would be made for the youth to gather at the Curling Club for activities the next afternoon. The announcement was never made.

The Company packed their gear down to the Moose River to catch a water taxi to their campsite at Tidewater Provincial Park. This campsite sits on an island in the Moose River delta, about half way between Moosonee and Moose Factory. Water Taxi fees $5/person/trip also had a significant affect on plans since the budget didn’t allow for any indiscriminate travel.

Moosonee children enjoy Scouting games The campsite turned out to be the saviour for the program. A large group of Pentecostals were camping out for several days in Tidewater. This provided the opportunity for the Venturers to deliver the Cub aged program to about 35 youth, and to build relationships with the church volunteers to seek a long-term relationship for Scouts Canada. The children loved the games and made many trips back to the Venturer camp over the weekend.

The adventure also included touring and environmental and historical interpretation of the area, the first English speaking settlement in Canada and home of the Northwest Trading Company established to buy and sell furs in the late 1700’s.

The expedition exposed the Venturers to First Nations settlements and cultural differences through application of a long-term planning project and execution. Most of the Venturers had never been to a First Nations settlement before, nor had they travelled so far north (sub-arctic) to experience the isolation.

Partial funding for the project came from the generosity of Scouts Canada Foundation and the Optimist Club . For more information contact Brian Wick .

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