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Dragons take scouting to the sea

Growing up in Hong Kong, Richmond's Stanley Leung remembers being fascinated by the Scouts' uniform. "I was 15 years old and home schooled at the time," said the eight-year veteran captain and leader of Richmond's Sea Dragon Sea Scout Group.

Growing up in Hong Kong, Richmond's Stanley Leung remembers being fascinated by the Scouts' uniform.

"I was 15 years old and home schooled at the time," said the eight-year veteran captain and leader of Richmond's Sea Dragon Sea Scout Group. "I thought it would be cool to wear the uniform and then when I became involved I loved all the outdoor activities I took part in."

After he retired as an IT manager at Hydro eight years ago, Leung, 63, was looking to fill his time by volunteering.

"I remembered those years of scouting so fondly that I decided I should get involved," said the father of two grown sons (ages 34 and 31.) "Neither of my boys went through Scouts, they were involved in sports, but my history with Scouts back in Hong Kong made me want

Leung had met the founder of the Sea Scouts, Manfred Chan, who started the seafaring division in 1985 in Richmond.

"Twenty-six years ago, Manfred started in Richmond and now the sea division is in four other communities in the Lower Mainland," he said. "We are part of Scouts Canada and in our group the age ranges from scouts as young as six years up to adult leaders.

"The difference between us and the other Scouts troupes is that besides doing outdoor land activities we do sea activities, specifically sailing."

In fact, the Sea Dragon Sea Scout Group owns more than 40 watercrafts, which includes sailboats, canoes, windsurf and rescue boats, all of which are used in its sea program. This program, Leung went on to say, runs in the summer months between June and September, from 10 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m.

"For the summer, we move our program to the Jericho Centre in Vancouver on the weekends," said Leung.

He went on to say that Scouts teach youth about discipline and leadership skills so that when they go out in the community "they can be well-equipped to be the leaders of tomorrow."

Leung believes leading Scouts is one of the most rewarding jobs he's ever done, as well as being the best volunteer job in the world.

"It keep me youthful and fit," he said laughing. "With all of the camping trips and the outdoor activities and sailing in the summer, look how fit I am."

On a serious note, Leung said, he also likes the challenges young people present.

"Each youth in the group is different and so the challenge for me is how to keep them interested," Leung said, adding they have 400 members, with a 50/50 split between boys and girls. "Also, how to teach them in a meaningful way that is interesting to each one of them."

The Scouts participate in a variety of activities throughout the year.

"We hold weekly Scout meetings, organize field trips and participate in community service events. In the summer time, we also have a sailing program based out of Jericho Sailing Centre," Leung said. "We go camping either at our camp sites in Surrey or Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast.

"During the school year, meetings are held for about two hours once a week."

Scouting is a very handson program, where they learn new skills to fulfill awards requirements, such as the Chief Scout Award or Queen's Scout Award and badges and credits for school, he added.

Right now, the Sea Dragon Sea Scout Group is actively recruiting new members.

The Sea Dragon Sea Scout Group Summer Program Open Day will be held on Sunday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jericho Sailing Centre, 1300 Discovery St., Vancouver.

For more information, call Leung at 6042742681 or Jeffrey Ge at 604780-4689.

"Membership for a third family member is free," added Leung. "Sea Dragon Sea Scout is a great way to meet new friends, have fun and learn new skills."

Scouts Canada is the country's leading youth organization that offers programs for boys, girls and young adults ages five to 26.

The yearly cost for Sea Dragon is $250 and includes the membership fee and the summer sailing component.

Camping and other activities cost extra.

If you are interested but can't afford the membership fee, Leung said there are scholarships for needy families.

Families can apply at Scouts Canada. For more information, visit www.

For more information about Sea Dragon Sea Scout, email Leung at seadragonstanleyleung@ or visit www.


Scouting began in 1907 when Lt. Gen. Robert Baden-Powell took a group of youth to a camp on Brownsea Island in the United Kingdom.

In 1907, Baden-Powell, along with Canadian naturalist writer Ernest Thompson, founded the first Scouts troop to instill the Victorian and military values learned in the army: a commitment to God, country and personal integrity.

A few Scouting groups also started up in Canada in 1907.

The Canadian Parliament incorporated the Canadian General Council of the Boy Scout Association on June 12, 1914.

In 2007, its Centennial Year, the name was officially changed to Scouts Canada.

Today, Scouts Canada is a highly diverse organization with more than 100,000 members.