Premier plays 20 questions with Annapolis County Scout troop

Heather Killen
Published on July 22, 2014

Middleton Scouts have face time with the McNeil

Premier Stephen McNeil volleyed some tough questions during a recent Scout scrum.

Candy Hirtle, of Middleton, has been a Scout leader for about 13 years. Her troop of six Scouts (and Taylor, an honourary Beaver) spent some time with Premier Stephen McNeil at his Middleton office last week.

Lance, Jonathan, Colby, Harold, Anna and Joshua, ages 11 through 14, each had a chance to ask the premier questions about his job, his life, and some of the background that led him into politics.

They asked if he’d gotten any advice from the Queen, Governor General, and Lieutenant Governor; they grilled him about his new job and what he would change about government, if he could; and has he ever had trouble public speaking? And what is Justin Trudeau really like?

Perhaps the most flabbergasting truth was revealed when the kids asked, who was the premier’s role model when he was growing up?

“They were shocked at first when he said his mother,” she said. “But then he explained how important mothers are, and they agreed.”

Altogether the group asked him nearly 20 questions, including what advice he would give them on how to become better citizens and future leaders. The premier advised them to keep doing what they were doing, that the Scouting program is a good thing to join.

Then the premier asked the Scouts for their advice on how they think the government could do a better job and what they would like to see from their government.

Colby told him that he thought politicians should be more responsible. Hirtle added the premier took this advice in stride. He’s always been supportive of the kids. A few years ago, when he was still MLA, he helped her group by purchasing maps for one of their projects.

Each of the Scouts left with a gift bag containing a first aid kit. This recent group was thrilled last fall to first meet him during a dinner held at the Legion just after the election. Premier McNeil was the keynote speaker at the annual Remembrance Day banquet at the Legion.

Every year the Scouts serve this meal as a fundraiser for their program and they were so excited to meet him, Hirtle asked if he would spend some time with them again.

This is smallest Scout group she has had, she says. It seems that interest in the Cub has been waning over the past few years. Earlier this year, a long standing Girl Guide group in Nictaux closed due to a lack of interested members.

Now the local Scouting program is facing a similar possibility. Hirtle says there are now only two active groups in Annapolis County—her Middleton area group and one in Wilmot—there is no Scout program in western Annapolis.

She added that the Scout program is a great way for kids to make friends, get active, learning skills for swimming, camping, and canoeing. They meet weekly for games, stories, and crafts.

The kids learn to work together and will build self-esteem through completing projects and community service.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the program can contact Candy Hirtle at, or call 824-3645.