Brazil Day 2, being made very very very welcome
We forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog Fi and Craig’s incidents at the inter-event. Whilst we were at the stunning resort of Florianopolis we headed to the beach with other young people to refresh between the Forum and Conference.
Our relaxation was soon compromised when Fiona was stung by a jellyfish (a small, non-poisonous one). Nonetheless it was quite painful (although she did turn down offers from people to help with a traditional remedy!)
Craig’s greatest purchase was spray-on sunscreen, so whilst lying on the beach he was being sun safe and made sure he didn’t burn. However, he didn’t realise that he needed to rub it in! The result is that Craig’s back looks like a red and white map of the world. To add insult to injury, he fell asleep facing one way and one side of his face is red, the other white. (He did think he had a tan until the shower washed the sand away!)
Catching up with the European region's work
Anyway, day one of the conference began with regional meetings so we were involved in the grand opening ceremony of the new European Scout website – involving white gloves and purple ribbon - the site is aimed at improving communication between NSOs, sharing ideas and asking for help in solving others.
After a quick break we made our way to the Plenary Hall for the main conference, which opened with meditation and a period of reflection; a good chance to sit back and consider why we are here and how we will achieve our aim of creating a better world.
The conference was addressed by the Chairman, Rick Cronk, who went through the rules of procedure where we appointed tellers (the people who count the votes) and the resolutions committee.
We are lucky to have James Boyle with us who will be sitting on the resolutions committee, which helps prepare and formulate some of the issues that will be debated on the conference floor, and could become policies within the World Organization of the Scout Movement. (A Resolution is the World Conference version of a Recommendation at the Youth Forum.)
Scouting in Haiti - truly amazing
After various reports from the Chair of the World Scout Committee, Secretary General and Treasurer, it was time to look at Scouts in action across the world.
We were amazed to see the vital role that Scouts in Haiti are having in rebuilding their communities after a series of natural disasters. It was a strong reminder of our duty to help other people.
Above, that it reaffirms our belief that Scouting makes a difference to young people and communities, and with 31 million members worldwide, across 216 countries and territories, Scouting is a tremendous force for good in the world.
Meeting the candidates
Later in the day we took the opportunity to meet the candidates hoping to become members of the World Scout Committee. We asked them lots of questions about their vision for World Scouting, their priorities for the movement, their views on engaging young people in decision-making and their personal motivations to serve on the committee.
A Brazilian welcome
After deliberating on what the Brazilian version of ‘smart casual’ might be and a quick shopping spree, we were ready for the opening ceremony, and looking forward to dinner in particular. (We were very hungry and it was already 8pm!)
It’s worth noting here that Craig needs to try and work out the Brazilian currency and also learn to try on clothes in shops. He thought he had a bargain until someone worked out the conversion for him and then the shirt was too big!
We felt very welcome at the opening ceremony; with several speakers who welcomed us all (more than once) and each welcomed the many invited guests by name (more than once). You must appreciate that it was fast approaching 9.30pm and we still hadn’t eaten.
An orchestra took to the stage to give us a fantastic taste of Brazilian classical music. They were incredibly talented and decided to show us a wide-ranging set of music, including what seemed like some of the longest symphonies in history. It was now 10.30, and still no food!
It was finally dinner time, We have never seen the UK Delegation move so fast (though not before David dropped his translation headset, which wrapped around his legs and got tangled with the chair, leading to him thrusting his chair backwards into members from the Boy Scouts of America - 10 minutes later and we were still laughing!)
So, we were directed to dinner and given some sparkling wine. Things were looking good, and as a tray of canapés passed we were certainly ready for our meal, as it was now past 11.30pm. But it turned out the canapés were dinner.
It was time for Wayne to take the lead as he marched us back to the hotel at full speed, whilst frantically phoning them to persuade them to make us some food.
At 12.10am we were finally fed and by 1am it was time for bed and some much-needed sleep ahead of the 7am delegation meeting, and the excitement of playing conference bingo...more of that later!