A forest in Canada, circa early 2019 – a group of teenagers emerge from the trees into a clearing. They’re dressed to combat the elements. Armored in thermal gear from head to toe, they’re prepared to stay warm in a foot of snow. Who are these people and what are they doing in the middle of nowhere?
They’re Hungarian Scouts of course!
The first Eastern Canadian Leadership Camp was held this past January by troops from the Hungarian Scout Association in Exteris. It took place at Camp Seedrioru, an hour and a half west of Toronto. Scout leaders from seven different troops came together from the cities of Hamilton, Toronto and Ottawa, with the Hamiltonian troop hosting the camp. The purpose was to share leadership practices, discuss greater cooperation between troops in different cities and build connections. Scouts participated in various leadership workshops, competed in a friendly cook off and danced traditional Hungarian folk dances. At night, the scouts took part in the “tábortűz,” ending the day by singing folk songs around a campfire with comedic skits in between.
Hungarian Scouts have been active in Canada for much of the last century, and the Kaszap István Troop of Hamilton was formed all the way back in 1959. The newest addition to the Hungarian-Canadian troops is the Károli Gáspár troop, formed in 2011 at the Hungarian Presbyterian Church in Toronto. Hungarian scouts play a vital role in cultural life. Most of the younger scouts are enrolled in Hungarian schools, and as many of the troops are affiliated with a Hungarian church, scouts also volunteer at a multitude of church events.
With the successful conclusion of the first Eastern Canadian Leadership Camp, the future of Hungarian Scouting in Canada is looking bright!
Written by András Vaski featured photo by Dóra Nagy KCSP