Brussels (Fifth and last day)
Jack told us at the outset that he was not at his best first thing in the morning and that he was more of a night owl – he certainly proved the latter!
He also suffered more than most of us with an erratic water supply to his shower at the worst possible time every morning. However, he made it with seconds to spare on all but one of the mornings – clearly worth a badge for commitment. He also proved to be the most enthusiastic voter of the 400 delegates during the afternoon session when most of us were well and truly dozing.
An inspiring opening
Pascal Smet, the Flemish Minister of Youth gave a very thought-provoking speech; recognising the tremendous achievements of Scouting across Europe and the World, asking why Scouts and Guides were two different organisations, but particularly challenging us for remaining 'white middle class' and to better reflect the communities we are in, ensuring that we help those most in need of what we do. I wondered if he had perhaps been reading my blog for his research.
Resolutions - where the business is agreed
So on to consideration of the resolutions. The governance of international Scouting, in each of the regions like Europe and the World Organisation is based around the decisions taken at the conferences which are held every three years. Resolutions can be proposed by any delegation, or the respective committee itself. These are open to amendment and then debated. Decisions taken then generally determine the work plans and actions of the organisation for that period. Much like the United Nations, you can imagine that the wonderful divergence of cultures lead to many interesting discussions, not least around the intention of particular resolutions when English is not your mother tongue.
Thankfully, the Scout ones in the morning prove to be small in number and largely uncontroversial (those interested will be able to follow them at the Europe website) so the voting is completed within an hour and much extra time left for coffee and networking.
Final delegation meeting over lunch and then back to the hall for the closing session of the joint WAGGGS and WOSM conference and consideration of the joint resolutions. The seeming complexities lead to an hour being spent trying to explain the rules and procedures! On to the business, and although each of TSA and GGUK has a vote, we aim to vote the same way, achieved by earlier consultation. Today is no exception.
The thoughts of our young people
Luckily, the afternoon had got off to a great start with a short presentation by our hosts who had been to interview some local Cub Scouts about what they thought we had been doing and their views on some of the officers of the regions – certainly had me in stitches of laughter and will hopefully appear on the conference website shortly.
Sadly the same could not be said about the resolutions and debate, but we just about got it finished in time for me to get the 6pm train back to London and Gatwick for a flight to Belfast.
I need to be in Belfast for some Scout meetings Thursday, so had to leave the rest of the delegation to enjoy the entertainment of the closing ceremony and dinner – no doubt one of them will let us know what happened.