Brussels (Day 3)

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In this blog: A visit from members of the 1st Brussels, a reception for Friends of Scouting Europe, solidarity for Scouts in Africa and celebrating the re-election of Craig to the European Scout Committee, and appointment as its Chairman for a further 3 years.

Make your mind up time

Main business for Monday was the elections for the six members who make up the European Scout Committee to serve for the next three years and we were particularly delighted that Craig received 213 votes, 91% of the available votes – an impressive endorsement of his work on the committee over the past six years, the last three as its Chairman.

But before that, we had met as a delegation to review the seven candidates standing, the personal interactions we had with them (we had agreed who was going to interview whom etc) and then considered each and how we were going to cast our votes. We were allowed to cast 36 votes in total, with a maximum of 6 for any one candidate. Bearing in mind our range of ages and experiences, it was an interesting and often thought-provoking discussion resulting in unanimous views on how to vote.

Sharing our successes 

Throughout the conference, we have an opportunity to provide a display highlighting some of our initiatives and have chosen particularly to emphasise our campaigning successes, especially Stop the Rain Tax, young campaigners, youth involvement and work with other agencies especially ShelterBox. A large number of other Associations have expressed an interest in learning more.

Helping others

A number of organisations that support Scouting also attend to recruit members and promote their work. One of these is Friends of Scouting Europe (FOSE) which I have been pleased to join recently and who seek to raise funds from like-minded individuals and use them to support mainly small projects in developing National Scout Organisations (NSO) around Europe. Similar groups exist for other regions, and we received a very interesting presentation from the Africa Scout Foundation. Something to keep in mind if you are looking for international projects to support as part of your programme perhaps?

A buzzing European marketplace

The conference centre was transformed into a buzzing market in the evening as each Country had an opportunity to provide a market stall, to either sell national goods or offer games/competitions, using the conference currency of 'eggs'. We organised a couple of games: guess the number of sweets (unfortunately Richard was in charge of this and we seemed to end up with fewer in the jar at the end of the evening than the beginning) and balancing a coin on a lemon while it bobbled around in water. We raised zillions of eggs, which converted to £50 which we donated to FOSE. Ireland guessed the number of sweets to within two!

British Scouts in Western Europe

We were also joined for the evening by members and leaders from the 1st Brussels, part of the British Scouts in Western Europe who met with the delegation and exchanged ideas and information as well as having an opportunity to enjoy the various markets stalls and meet members from other delegations. 1st Brussels has over 230 members and a very active programme as we heard. Great ambassadors for UK Scouting abroad.

The Business of the Day

The business for the day comprised three sessions devoted to receiving progress reports from the European Committee on its work during the past three years (received very warmly by the conference with much appreciation of what has been achieved) and presentations and discussions on four major themes being considered by the World Organisation of Scout Movements (WOSM) ahead of its conference in January – these include governance, fees, youth involvement and embracing change.

A frustration and Thought for the Day

Most interesting experience for the day, and the most frustrating perhaps. As a delegation, we feel that the true involvement of young people in decision making requires additional proactivity to speed up, and so we decided to seek support for a Conference Resolution, mandating the Committee to do just that and consider a quota system, much like we have with Elected Youth Members. As our delegation met with younger members of other Countries they received enthusiastic support and were greatly encouraged. When they did the rounds again later however, to seek a seconder the younger members had to report that they had been unable to persuade their generally older delegates to support the resolution; only two others were prepared to second it.

A telling sign of where the obstacles to greater youth involvement sit perhaps? We agreed to withdraw the Resolution for now (thanks to those who did offer to support it) and seek other ways of promoting the aims.

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