Chris Green has spent more than 60 years shaping youth into well-rounded citizens.
Whether it be through outdoor adventures and learning activities as part of the Scouts program in Prince Rupert, or by providing foster children with a stable home and family life, the long-time Prince Rupert resident has dedicated much of her life to youth.
Chris has volunteered in Prince Rupert’s Scouts program since the ‘50s, and continues to lend a hand today.
“I kept involved because I felt it was doing some good to enhance youth in Prince Rupert,” Chris explained.
Born and raised in Kitimat, Chris moved to Prince Rupert in 1942.
Shortly after arriving, Chris started working at Pioneer Laundry for 50 cents an hour. But within a year Chris had changed jobs, working at Malkins Wholesale.
It was here that Chris would meet her future-husband Owen, who went by his nickname Buddy, the store’s supervisor.
The two would marry in 1944, at which point Chris quit her Malkins job.
“My husband always said ‘I married her to get rid of her’,” Chris laughed.
The couple would go on to have two sons together: Robert and Regie.
But her two boys weren’t the only children Chris dedicated her time to. In May 1950, Chris would start her involvement with Scouts in Prince Rupert. After completing her training, Chris became an assistant Cub master, eventually moving on to become Cub master. Throughout the years Chris would be Cub, Beaver and Scouts leader, as well as district vice-president and president.
The Greens would also become foster parents in the mid-’50s, taking in a number of children temporarily over the years.
Chris experienced her first of many Scout Jamborees in 1955, attending the Eighth World Scout Jamboree in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Here she worked at one of the event’s canteens that needed to be manned by 80 to 90 volunteers in order to serve the 11,000 scouts and leaders who were in attendance.
Jamborees have been Chris’ favourite part of Scouts throughout the years, traveling the world and meeting many interesting people because of the gatherings.
“I believe I have gone to more jamborees than any other Scouter in Canada or the United States,” Chris said, noting she’s been to provincial, national and international events, visiting as far away as Chile, Thailand, Holland, England and Australia.
“I have seen many parts of the world through scouting. Sure there have been ups and downs but the pluses far outweigh the minuses,” she said.
In 1964 the Green family expanded when the household became a permanent residence for foster children. Chris and Buddy welcomed six kids, three pairs of siblings from different families, into their home permanently, all of whom were under the age of four.
And just like their two boys, the foster children were put into Scouts.
Despite having a full house, Chris remained an active Scouts volunteer. In the summers of 1970 to 1981 Chris was in charge of Camp Emmerkin District Cub Camp on Digby Island, with week-long camping trips having between 27 and 42 scouts from the various age groups in attendance.
In 1977, Chris and Buddy took their five remaining foster children on a cross-country trip of a lifetime for the Canadian Scout Jamboree in Prince Edward Island. Because one of the kids had an important test, the family only had six and a half days to make the lengthy trip.
While only two of the five children were registered for the jamboree, when Buddy became ill, the others helped Chris volunteer.
After the jamboree was over, the family had more time to take in all Canada has to offer. First they visited Newfoundland, also making stops in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick before departing from the east. The family made stops at a number of popular sightseeing sites on their way west back to the North Coast.
Chris no longer took in foster children after Buddy passed away in 1989.
In the years since saying goodbye, Chris has remained busy. Outside of Scouts, Chris joined a bridge club in the ‘90s and even taught the game out of her home for awhile. She has been part of the Community Enrichment Society for more than 20 years, has helped distribute Prince Rupert telephone books for decades and is currently part of the Prince Rupert Camera Club.
Now well into her senior years, Chris is currently the leader of Prince Rupert’s Beaver Scouts.
Even though Prince Rupert’s Scouts program doesn’t have as many members as it did in the past, Chris is pleased to say there are more children in the program this year than there’s been in recent years.
“Now it’s more important than ever to have a good Cub program where youth can learn outdoor activities, resilience and the foundation to improving the mind and body,” Chris said, stating most children in the program are better citizens because of it.
And the City of Prince Rupert agrees. Chris was presented with a Civic Appreciation Award from the city at the end of November, recognizing her extensive involvement with Scouts and volunteer service to youth in the community and “giving countless kids opportunities, knowledge and experience that they otherwise may have not had”.
“Many of today’s prominent local leaders have benefited from their experiences with you,” reads the city’s citation.