Before earning his Chief Scout Award with Scouts Canada, local Scout Gareth Mount was tasked to do a project for the Oak Bay community – so he chose something special: do a documentary about local Second World War veterans.
Not only did Mount earn the award, which is the highest award one can get in Scouts, but also experienced what it’s like to tell a unique story from two unique individuals: local Second World War vets Peter Chance and Maurice “Migs” Turner, former officers of the Royal Canadian Navy.
“For me, it was very interesting to talk to these guys and listen to their stories, they were very interactive… it didn’t take much prompting, and their memories were incredible, given that it was more than 60 years ago. They could tell you what the weather was like,” Mount said.
Gareth, 15, partnered up with his dad, Craig Mount, who served as camera and audio man throughout the production of the documentary, Veteran’s Recollections of the Royal Canadian Navy in WWII. After some pondering, Gareth felt the subject matter was fitting for what he wanted to do.
“I thought that it would be a good idea to make a documentary on veterans of the second world war in Victoria, since there aren’t many left,” he said, adding when he first started, he didn’t really know where to start, so he went to Oak Bay Municipal Hall and spoke with Mayor Nils Jensen, who, in turn, suggested the two local veterans.
The project certainly was no walk in the park. Between both interviews, Gareth accumulated more than two hours of footage, which he had to cut down and edit for final production.
“I watched all the footage through, and wrote down the point in time in the video where all the stories started and ended. So I decided which stories I wanted to keep in, which ones I didn’t,” he said, noting the final cut came out at just over an hour long.
Overall, it was a learning experience he will never forget.
“I never had any experience interviewing people, making up questions, follow-up questions… I think I did okay.”
The documentary was also just one component of the strict criteria a Scout needs to follow in order to receive such an award. Scouts need to earn 18 challenge badges (pertaining to activities such as outdoor skills, paddling, winter camping and so on) as well as complete 30 hours of volunteer service. As such, Gareth volunteered for the Victoria Highland Games and a couple of invasive species removal projects.
Looking with pride at his son, Craig remembered how important his own time with Scouts was when he was Gareth’s age, and was also a Chief Scout Award recipient as well.
“It really influenced who I became as an adult, so I wanted to give something back to the organization,” he said, adding the Mount family lineage with Scouts goes deep in the Fifth Garry Oak scout group, one of the longest-running in Victoria.
Now, after completing four years as a Scout, Gareth is ready to tackle a few more as a Venture Scout, and would consider doing a documentary again, albeit on something he’s passionate about.
“I plan to do Ventures… who knows, maybe one day I’ll be a leader.