Builders of our Community Series: Bruno D'Andrea

Scout leader works extra shift to pay for uniforms and camping trips

BY SARAH KEARADVOCATE STAFFFor Bruno d’Andrea, Scouting is in the blood. ”When I put on my uniform, I feel like myself. I get so much energy from it,” he says.For more than 30 years, Bruno has directed that energy towards meeting the needs of 11-16 year old boys and girls for fun, discipline, nourishment and love every week at Scout meetings held at St. Augustine of Canterbury, and most recently, at St. Charles Garnier Catholic elementary schools.Over the years, the Scout Troupes have always been as diverse as the community itself, not only culturally, but also religiously, as can be demonstrated by the leaders themselves. Bruno is a Christian, his co-leader of 20 years, Mandy Saadia is Jewish, and their third leader, Amananth Hosein, is Muslim.Bruno’s dedication to Scouting started with a love of the outdoors passed down to him by his father in the mountainous region of Italy called Abruzzo. Bruno came to Canada at the age of 18 and within 5 years, he got married and started his own Scout Troupe.Over the years, Bruno’s massively popular Scout Troupes have touched the lives of hundreds of kids, so much so that they still come back to visit him as if he were a surrogate father or an older, wiser, contagiously fun friend. Just recently, they organized a shower for a former Scout, who was about to have her first baby.In all things, Bruno gives from his heart. He and his wife often feed the kids with homemade Italian meals and BBQs in the park. He personally drives to pick up the Scouts in his passenger van before meetings and drives kids back home again to ensure their safety.The Troupe often holds fundraisers to pay for scouts’ enrollment fees, uniforms and camping trips, and when that isn’t enough, Bruno gives from his own pocket. He even takes on extra shifts at work to do so.But you can only give so much before you burn out. Bruno’s Scout Troupe had to close this year. He says because there wasn’t enough enough help. The time and organization required to run programs for 28 energetic boys and girls every week is exhausting – especially for the three leaders who are all getting older, he added.He said that parents have not stepped up to help either because they themselves are too tired from several jobs, single parenting, or in Bruno’s words, “Just want a babysitter.”The Scout Troupe is trying hard to stay connected even though they don’t have weekly meetings. Just last week they joined other Troupes in the area to deliver more than 300 Toronto Star Santa Claus Boxes of food and gifts to families in need.Bruno, his co-leaders and the Scouts are itching to start meeting again. They are making their own Christmas Wish for volunteers. Here are three ways you can help, by providing transportation for the kids, or you can help with fundraising or at weekly meetings once or twice a month.-If this is something you can do, or would like to speak with Bruno, please contact him via email: or via phone (416) 708-0133.