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Local Scout volunteer urges others to get involved

April 17 to 23 is National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate all the volunteers that make the Valley’s community so special. Amongst them is Cory Ovans, a young man volunteering with youth in the Valley as a part of Scouts Canada. 

Before he was a volunteer, Ovans was a Scout himself. He started at the age of five in Beavers and moved up through the various levels over the years. When there was a lack of group leaders present to continue running these programs, Ovans stepped in. His driving factor was that he wanted children today to have the same experiences he had growing up.

“I had so much fun that I wanted other kids to experience what I experienced as a kid. Someone’s gotta do it!” he says. Programs like this help kids develop tools that will be helpful in life, “And it teaches really valuable skills. It’s probably good to know a few knots, and how to light a fire, and everyday life skills that you might miss out on otherwise.” It’s also a great way to keep young people “off their phones” and get them outside. 

 

Ormstown Scouting member turned Howick leader, Cory Ovans, at a knot-tying competition in Chateauguay around 2006. PHOTO Lorelei Muller

 

Adapting to an online format posed some challenges throughout the pandemic. For the most part, the organization took breaks when it was too risky to meet in person. Fortunately, outdoor activities have always been an important part of Scouting, so groups enjoyed some adventures in the fresh air, like meeting up to go sledding. 

Some of the highlights of Ovans’s time with the Scouts have been the opportunities for travel that have arisen. He has been to Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and to the Canadian Jamboree with members from all of Canada and beyond. On a local level, Ovans has been a member of the Dunn Memorial Camp (DMC) committee for several years and recently took over the position as committee chair. 

 

Cory Ovans is now a dedicated leader and mentor to Scouts from Howick and Ormstown. PHOTO Howick Scouts

 

Volunteering plays a huge part in the Valley’s culture. “It brings a sense of community. We get a ton of help, mostly for the campground from the community. J.T. Sport and D.R. Ness in Howick donate a lot.” Ovans works at J.T. Sport with Linus Tucker, who was his troop leader years ago and until recently was the chair of the DMC committee. Tucker says, “It’s good to see that someone enjoyed the work we put into it and wants to do the same for the next generation.” He says that Ovans “brings a youthful perspective to the role, since he’s not too far out of his own Scouting adventures.”

Ovans does a lot of his volunteering with Cecile Antink, whom he calls both “fantastic” and “amazing.” Antink returns the compliment by saying  that the kids absolutely love Ovans, and that “Having Cory has been a godsend to the Scouting movement.” 

Ovans urges anyone interested in volunteering to get involved. The best way to start is to “pick something you love, and you don’t have to necessarily find monetary value in it, because it’s got a lot of value just for the community and kids and seniors.” If anyone is interested in volunteering with Scouts, you can contact Cory at dunnmemorial.scoutcamp@gmail.com or 450-807-1115. Currently, the Ormstown and Howick Scouting groups are joined, but Ovans’s goal for next year is to have enough volunteers to run programs in both municipalities. 

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