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Badge of honour: W.R. Best student earns Scouts' Medal of Maple

Taylor Liedtke receives prestigious award which is given to youth who've contributed to Scouting through community service and extraordinary participation
1st Kempenfelt Bay Scouter Adam Peach presents the Medal of Maple award to Taylor Liedtke. Group Commissioner Barry Mitchell is in the background.

Taylor Liedtke is just one of those kids.

Since being involved in Scouting, starting with Beavers, he’s picked up the top awards. Now he has added the Medal of Maple to his collection.

“Taylor is one of these kids that comes along every now and again that has all the attributes … everything that Scouting is about,” says Wayne Morrison, Scouter with the First Kempenfelt Bay troop whose 40 years in Scouting sees him involved on the national level and the regional council as well.

Having spent nearly half his 13 years in the Scouting movement, Liedtke said it’s all the activities he enjoys. Having now experienced archery, winter camping, summer camp, fishing, planting trees and even cooking and spring cleanup, he has become something of an outdoors guy.

In addition to all the fun activities, Taylor has been involved in service projects as well. As a cub he was involved in a fundraiser to install pet-waste dispensers in Oro-Medonte Township parks.

The W.R. Best Memorial Public School student is part of the 1st Kempenfelt Bay troop and recently won Scouting’s prestigious Medal of Maple, designed to honour youth who have contributed to Scouting through community service and extraordinary Scouting participation.

Morrison says Taylor accumulated a variety of badges, as well as awards, which each have their own specific criteria as he came through the Scouting ranks from Beavers to Cubs and then Scouts. He’s currently part of the troop leadership team that plans events, such as camping.

As a Scout, he picked up garbage at the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church grounds, which was part of his Chief Scout’s Award. That also involved him making a presentation to the township’s historical society in hopes of having a street sign installed to acknowledge Line 1 North as the former Wilberforce Street in a bid to recognize the area’s Black history. It received council approval last year and Taylor is awaiting an update from the historical society.  

The Chief Scout’s Award requires a certain number of badges in a cross-section of skills including outdoors and emergency activities as well as community service hours and a major project that requires planning and work in the community or environment and the involvement of others.

Morrison remembers Taylor organizing a camp at the Minesing Community Centre for local Scouts and the Cubs last year. He describes an action-packed weekend in which included roles for the leaders in all the activities with instructions and the materials they would require as well as a menu and a duty roster for cooking.

“I was just quite amazed at how well it was planned and how well it was executed,” says Morrison.

Apart from developing his leadership skills by demonstrating initiative, Taylor has developed many friends through his years in Scouting, adds his parents Chris and Julie Liedtke.

And Taylor isn’t singularly focused, developing other skills as well. In his quest to become a certified swim instructor he has earned his bronze medallion and is set to next work on his bronze cross.

Chris sees the Scouting organization as an inclusive one that exposes kids to new things as they learn valuable life skills. It's one Chris experienced himself as a kid and is something of a family tradition going back a few generations.

“We’re just so proud of him,” says Taylor’s mom, who was shocked when he was named an award recipient.

The end result, say his parents, are all the opportunities Taylor has had through the work of many volunteers.

“We can’t say enough about the people that volunteer and take their time… and so many who have been in it for so long,” says his dad.