While it is unfortunate that Wayne Boylan has had such a negative experience with youth groups conducting fundraising activities [Kids being taught wrong lessons, Aug. 23 Letters, Langley Advance], he is doing a huge disservice to thousands of young people who dedicate themselves to sports teams, Cadets, Guides, and myriad other community organizations that help our children become better citizens.
As a 14-year volunteer for the Seaforth Highlanders Royal Canadian Army Cadets Corps and the Army Cadet League of Canada, I can categorically confirm that the aggressive behaviour Mr. Boylan describes would never be sanctioned by any of the organizations he describes in his letter, and in fact, it would be entirely counterproductive.
Actively soliciting the general public for financial support is unfortunately a necessity today for many community groups, because other charitable and government funding is increasingly difficult to source in these tough economic times.
Army Cadets involved in this type of fundraising activity are strictly supervised by adults, and the Cadets do not actively solicit funds: they simply and politely make donation cans available to customers, and above all, they are friendly and respectful.
Conducting fundraising days outside busy retail outlets - with the permission of those supportive community businesses - is only one of many fundraising activities undertaken by youth in the Metro Vancouver region.
The list also includes hot dog sales, bowling nights, movie nights, and other events, each supplementing funding for activities that are accessible to all youth.
Cadets, parents, and volunteers give back to communities in many ways, assisting with school fun nights, tidying grave sites and grounds at public cemeteries, serving as honour guards at ceremonies, sporting events, and community celebrations (Remembrance Day, for example), and in other ways not always reported by the media.
So I remind Mr. Boylan that, without the many volunteer-led community groups dedicated to providing positive and constructive life experiences for our youth, our communities would be much worse off that they are now.
Cathy Bach, Army Cadet League of Canada volunteer