| Jun 08, 2006

Feature Article - June 8, 2006

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Feature Article - June 8, 2006

60 years in Scouting

by JeffGreen

Pack leader, or Akela, RJ Vermeulen had just finished handing out the awards and recognition plaques to the Cubs and Beavers at the year end ceremony for the Land o’ Lakes Scout troop, when she reiterated something that everyone in attendance already knew: she had decided to retire from scouting.

RJ founded the Land o’ Lakes troop 17 years ago, and has been the major force in keeping the troop going ever since; but her history in scouting goes back 60 years. She started as a Brownie in Holland in 1946, was a member of the sea cadets in Holland from 1952-1957, during which time she was a part of the service team that assisted during the 1952 Holland flood. She remained active in the girl scouts until 1973, received a certificate of recognition from Scouts Canada in 2001, and is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouting Organization in the United States .


RJ worked as a nurse at the local boy scout camp for a time, and this led the Lions Club to approach her about reviving scouting in the Land o’ Lakes in 1993.

Marion Buchanan has been working with RJ since then.

She says that RJ has brought “a love of the outdoors to the local children. She loved to take the kids camping. Having lived in the North West Territories , she taught the kids things she learned up there, and introduced them to other cultures. She always put a lot of effort into planning meetings, creating games to keep the kids interested and making sure that scouting was fun, that it wasn’t like school.”

After handing out all of the awards at last week’s ceremony, it was time to celebrate the work RJ has done over the years. Parents, children and people RJ has worked with all had something to say about what she has brought to them.

When it was her turn, RJ couldn’t say much because her emotions were running high. “I’m going to miss the kids, I really am,” she said. “I love the kids. Thank you.”

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