This summer is gearing up to be a great one for trips abroad in the region, ranging from Jamboree visits to Explorer Belts, and much more in between.
First up, we spoke to some Explorers from Pink Panther ESU to find out about their July trip to Denmark for the Spejderneslejr Jamboree…
The Explorers explained that the group, which will be made up of 17 Explorers, 18 Scouts, and 6 leaders, will be flying to Copenhagen to participate in five days of Home Hospitality with a Scout group that the unit have camped with before, both in Scotland and Denmark, before spending eight days at the Jamboree.
For many of them, this will be their first time going abroad with Scouts, and as one Explorer put it, “I think it will be very different to going abroad with my family!”
Many of the Explorers are looking forward to the Home Hospitality, with Explorer Sandy saying “I think HoHo is the best way to experience another culture”, a statement backed up by fellow Explorer Murray, who said “HoHo is good because you get the chance to learn how other people live!”
The Explorers also shared some thoughts about the importance of Scouting today, and what it means to be part of the worldwide Scouting family. One explorer, Duncan, said “Everyone who’s a Scout has a common interest, and this helps bring them together”, while another, Finlay, told us that he thinks Scouting is great, because “you meet lots of people you wouldn’t normally get the chance to meet.”
Another Explorer, Agata, shared her ideas, saying “Even with all of the negativity in the world, Scouting carries on as normal, because for Scouts, it’s okay if people are different.”
Finally, when we asked if they could sum up a Jamboree for someone who’s new to the idea, Explorer Alasdair gave us this: “A Jamboree is like a giant “group chat” – you can talk to anyone from anywhere!”
Next up we talked to some Scouts from the 11th North East Troop, who are travelling to Kandersteg this summer. First we spoke to one of their leaders, Scott, who gave us some information about the trip and about the troop’s visits abroad in general. He said that the troop go abroad roughly every two years, and work to raise funds most of the time in-between.
Scott said that “it’s important to us that we try to get the whole troop to go”, and gave subsidies as an example of how they maximise inclusion within the troop, which help parents who may be struggling to pay for the trip, thus ensuring that money isn’t a barrier. A target cost is set for each trip, and fundraising is then used to reach that target. The troop do a range of fundraising types, from bag packing to volunteering at events, such as the Edinburgh Marathon, where they helped out this year.
Scott told us that fundraising is broken into “shares”, which ensures that the effort that scouts put in is rewarded appropriately. Scott also talked to us about charitable status and what this means for the troop: “One of the best things we’ve done is achieve charitable status; this lets us reclaim VAT on our subs and has helped us get matched donations from other organisations. It takes a bit of work, but if you have someone who’s got a bit of financial experience (and time to read the information on gov.uk) then it can be a huge money-spinner.”
Scott concluded with saying that communication with parents is key, and making sure they are aware of any trips so that they can get their children involved with fundraising is important.
We also spoke to a handful of the Scouts from the 11th, and asked them a range of questions about their upcoming trip to Kandersteg.
One Scout, Ethan, praised the variety of activities available in Scouting, especially at international camps, saying “you get to do lots of different things that you don’t get to try on a normal camp.” The Scouts explained that the focus of this camp was on hiking and walking, with a Scout named Adam saying “I can’t wait to see some of the amazing views in the mountains!”
The Scouts also told us why they enjoy Scouting in general, with Ethan saying “Scouts is great because you get to learn new skills that you won’t learn elsewhere”, as well as saying that the camp “will be a good chance to socialise with Scouts from around the world and learn from them.” Adam told us that he thinks it’s great that “despite different cultures, Scouts all get on, because they all have Scouting in common.”
Finally, a Scout named Beau told us that he thinks international Scouting events are important because “we’re all part of a massive worldwide group”, and he looks forward to the experience of travelling and meeting Scouts from other countries.
With these two camps going on, along with many others across the region, both the leaders and the young people are going to be extremely busy, and everyone seems excited to experience new cultures and meet new people in all sorts of places. After summer, we’ll be revisiting all the young people we interviewed to find how their camps were, and all the activities they participated in.