Scouts Canada has tracked down a new Chief Scout — Terry Grant, former star of the reality-TV series Mantracker.
Until Grant’s induction on Friday in Victoria, the position had always been held by the governor general. Gov. Gen. David Johnston will now be known as the Patron Scout.
The new structure is similar to scouting’s British model and adds a representative who is available to represent Scouts Canada nationally and internationally, and attend events such as jamborees and national award ceremonies.
“Scouts is a good deal because a lot of kids are going to get the same values and morals as I’ve got: honesty, integrity, getting out and doing things,” said the 55-year-old Grant in an interview.
“Those values have done me fairly well,” he said.
Andrew Price, Scouts Canada’s chief commissioner and board chairman, said the organization took a few years before deciding on appointing someone other than the governor general as Chief Scout.
But the organization believes it has made a good choice because Grant embodies what Scouts Canada tries to pass on to young people.
“We are really keen on scouts exploring the dynamics of leadership, along with environmental stewardship and active living,” Price said.
A 40-year career cowboy, Grant was a scout himself at the age of 11 or 12. He said he earned merit badges, but he has no idea how many. “They are still in a tin can at mom’s house somewhere.”
He was born and spent his boyhood in the village of Creemore, Ont., but now makes his home near High River, Alta.
For the past six years, Grant has captured TV viewers with his show Mantracker, in which he and a sidekick track down two people in a variety of Canadian wilderness settings. He left the show in 2010.
Grant is a 25-year veteran of the Foothills Search and Rescue Team, where he uses his knowledge of footprints, probable pathways and other signs to help find people or track game. He has also been asked by British military forces to teach basic ground awareness and has been asked to help at the K-9 training facility of the Edmonton Police Service.
Grant said he hopes his TV profile will give young people a good idea of what he stands for as a cowboy: honesty, fairness, a man who is good to animals and respectful of the natural environment.
Grant will be on hand as Chief Scout in Victoria tonight at an awards ceremony to honour 58 young people from across B.C., including six from Victoria, who will receive the Queen’s Venturer Award, scouting’s highest recognition of merit.