1st Cochrane Scout Group
By Madison Bifano, Youth Spokesperson
The 1st Cochrane Scout Group is hoping to help foster new friendships on the playground of local elementary schools by donating their handmade “Buddy Benches”. The Group’s goal is to eliminate schoolyard loneliness and encourage kids to make new friends.
The concept of the Buddy Benches is a simple one; the benches are placed on playgrounds and kids are encouraged to sit on them. The idea is that if a child sees someone they don’t normally play with on the bench, they go sit with them and learn a little more about them, hopefully forming the foundation for new friendships and inviting them to play. “The purpose of the Buddy Benches is to create a safe place where children can go if they need a friend to play with at recess,” says 1st Cochrane Scouter, Mary-Ann Parsley. “The secondary purpose of creating the benches is to instill a sense of community and pride in the youth who worked on the benches as they see them being used to good effect.” The 1st Cochrane youth are excited about the benches, and can’t wait to use them in the schoolyard to make new friends once they’re completed.
Construction begins in early April, involving the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in the project. The benches are built and decorated by the youth with the assistance of volunteers, and will be donated to three local elementary schools; Cochrane Public School, Aileen Wright English Catholic School, and École St. Joseph. The Group will be presenting the benches at the Cochrane Scout Hall during Good Turn Week, which runs from April 22nd to May 1st. Good Turn Week is an initiative that challenges Scouts Canada members and people across the country to participate in a “good turn”. A good turn can be something as simple as holding a door for someone, to volunteering at a soup kitchen, to helping build a house. A good turn can be done at any time of the year, but Good Turn Week puts emphasis on bettering the community and going above and beyond.
The 1st Cochrane Scouts have put a lot of time and effort into developing this worthwhile project and cannot wait to present it to the schools. Leading up to the actual construction of the benches, 1st Cochrane youth have been working together to brainstorm inspiring words and pictures to be painted on the finished products. This good turn will not go unnoticed in the Cochrane community and will hopefully help local children make new friends for years to come.