Local Cub scout recognized for making a difference in his community

Scott Watson (right), owner of Watson’s Pharmacy on Main St., and store manager Louise Léger helped Quinn’s projects with donations from the store.  Photo Credit: Melissa McPherson

Scott Watson (right), owner of Watson’s Pharmacy on Main St., and store manager Louise Léger helped Quinn’s projects with donations from the store. Photo Credit: Melissa McPherson

By Stacey Wowchuk

Quinn McPherson is a remarkable kid. He is bright, cheerful and has a knack for bringing people together to create something wonderful. Recently through his hard work and determination, the ten-year old Old Ottawa East boy collaborated with over 20 local businesses and individual sponsors to create 150 toiletry kits for St. Joe’s Women’s Centre.

Quinn’s adventure started when his Cub Scout leader told him about an opportunity to make a difference in his community. Scouts Canada recently introduced the Seeonee award that recognizes cub scouts for embodying the important elements of being a cub scout: outdoor adventure, community service, and making a difference. There was one catch. Quinn would have to take three years of work and complete it in eight months. He did one better and finished it in five.

“This was a huge achievement,” said Quinn’s Cub Scout leader Rob Christie. “He had to identify a need in the community, develop a plan, execute it, and then come back and present his results.” Rob was not surprised that Quinn completed his work so quickly. “He is such a motivated kid. There is nothing he can’t achieve.”

Quinn wanted his project to focus on kids. “I started looking around for projects, and realized that if I helped families I would be helping kids. And if I could help a local group, it would make a difference in my community.” This led him to St Joe’s Women’s Centre.

St. Joe’s is a daytime drop-in for women and children and helps with basic needs, such as access to hot meals, shower facilities, a food bank and computers. “Quinn’s project has helped a huge number of people and provided us with a month’s worth of supplies,” said Program Coordinator Megan Fleming. “Many people take something like a shower for granted. But it gives people back their dignity and makes an enormous difference in one’s health and well-being.”

Quinn stands tall amongst the tower of toiletries he collected for St. Joe’s Women’s Centre. Photo: Melissa McPherson

Quinn stands tall amongst the tower of toiletries he collected for St. Joe’s Women’s Centre. Photo: Melissa McPherson

Quinn had to research potential organizations that might be able to contribute toiletry supplies (such as shampoo, toothbrushes and deodorant), contact them, and then go pick up donations. “At first it was scary to speak to these large businesses and I was worried they would tell me they weren’t interested,” he recounted. And he did run into some challenges along the way, like how to get three large boxes of supplies home on the city bus … in Ottawa’s infamous winter snow.

When asked what surprised him, Quinn quickly answered: “how generous everyone was. I was speechless. When I was at the Lord Elgin Hotel collecting supplies, one of the doormen overheard me and said he wanted to help and gave me a personal donation on the spot.” He also relayed the story of several businesses that were surprised when a 10-year old showed up as they were expecting a ‘bigger, older Quinn’ due to his professionalism and maturity on the phone.

This past May, Quinn was one of two cub scouts from the 104th Ottawa Scouts Group presented with the Seeonee award. When asked what’s next, Quinn answered with a smile: “I’m still thinking about it. But I know it’s going to be great.”

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Filed in: Community Groups, FP, Front Page

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