Teen overcomes obstacles, earns Canada’s top scouting honor

Harvey Calfrobe's challenges began at age 4, when he was diagnosed as having acute lymphocytic leukemia, but he has overcome many obstacles during his 17 years and recently received the Queen's Venturer Award – the highest Scouting honor in Canada.

Harvey, a member of the 147th Company sponsored by the Calgary 8th Ward, Calgary Alberta West Stake, is a member of the Blood Tribe. He was among 100 Scouts and Venturers receiving awards at a recent ceremony here. More than 40 percent of those young men are members of the Church.The ceremony was attended by more than 1,000 people, including Pres. Donald V. Steele of the Calgary Alberta West Stake.

"It was a wonderful experience to see so many of our young men recognized," said Pres. Steele.

He expressed particular pride in Harvey, who, in addition to receiving the Queen's Venturer award, gave a speech accepting a challenge by Judge Sonia Skibo to all Scouts and Venturers to continue to strive for excellence.

After Harvey was diagnosed with leukemia, he received three months of chemotherapy treatments and was subsequently adopted by an LDS couple, Dick and Sue Thompson.

The Thompsons were told their adopted son was not expected to see his fifth birthday, but Harvey proved the experts wrong. After years of enduring repeated chemotherapy, his doctors pronounced the disease in remission.

Harvey's fight was not over, however. A severe learning disability made academic achievement difficult, but he persisted in his educational efforts and is presently enrolled in a vocational school where his achievements in Scouting and otherwise are an example to others.

Those who know him say Harvey has compensated for his deficiencies through hard work and by developing the talents he has been given.

Physically, he has grown from what was believed to be a terminally ill toddler to a strong young man who loves to ski, swim and bowl, according to the Thompsons. They agree that when Harvey became involved in Scouting in 1985, he began to blossom. The other Scouts took him into their circle of friendship, and Harvey is the first to give credit to his friends for the support they gave him whenever he felt like giving up.

With the help of family, Scout leaders and these same peers, Harvey has met and overcome many spiritual challenges as well. He was baptized three years ago, and just three months ago was ordained a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood.

Harvey remembers his baptism well. "It gave me a very special feeling," he said, and his priesthood leaders say he has worked very hard since that date to live up to his baptismal covenants.

After waiting several years for baptism and to receive the Aaronic Priesthood, Harvey is glad to have been ready to receive the blessings that his new priesthood office brings him. "I felt I was ready to be ordained a priest," he reflected. "It is great to be able to join my friends in blessing and passing the sacrament."

Noted Harvey when receiving the Queen's Venturer Award: "I am proud to be in the Venturer program. It produces winners, and we are all winners."