Ahoy! Polish Scouts are sailing to Australia

On 8 July 1932, a Polish Scout Wladek Wagner started sailing around the world. Eventually, Wladek made it to Australia. In Australia, he met two Australian Scouts, Dave Walsch and Bernard Plowright who, like Wladek, were intending on travelling to Scotland for the 1939 World Scout Jamboree. So, they all decided to sail to Scotland together! An adventure of sailing and friendship!

The Scout and Guides of Poland are recreating the journey, this time visiting Japan for the 2015 World Scout Jamboree!

The Polish sailing ship that is recreating a famous journey. Visiting Australia January and February 2016

The Polish sailing ship that is recreating a famous journey. Visiting Australia January and February 2016

JOIN THE JOURNEY – each port-to-port section of the journey is available to book separately, so Scouts Australia members can jump aboard for a long or shot period, close to Australia or on the other side of the world. The ship will be sailing through Australia in January and February 2016. Over 18 members can sign up directly on the website, and under-18 members should contact Andrew Cooper, Assistant International Commissioner.

SUPPORT THE SHIP IN AUSTRALIA – the sailing ship will visit Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville, and Darwin. We need volunteers to help welcome Scouts from Poland and around the world to these ports – showing them around, helping them shop for supplies etc. If you live near one of these cities, and are willing to assist in early 2016 when the ship arrives, please get in contact.



World Scout Youth Forum: Day 2 Highlights

Another great day at the World Scout Youth Forum!

The Day 2 discussion centred on some research undertaken by WOSM on Global Youth Trends. Rather than just discussing what the delegates think are the important issues for young people around the world, this academic research surveyed statistical data and current Scout members to paint a picture of the needs and trends globally. Broken into the areas of economy, education, health, and politics, society and security, the report highlights issues such as:

  • increasing youth unemployment
  • tertiary enrolment rates and online literacy,
  • substance abuse
  • alternative modes of political participation.

Ryan Beeby prepares Australia’s contribution to morning tea, hosted by the Asia-Pacific Region.

For us Australians, the trends identified under the education area were the most interesting. Particularly, the ideas generated onvhow Scouting can be reactive to these trends to deliver more for our young people.

  • How can we better, as the Canadian delegates say, ‘turn sleeve cred into street cred’ using achievement within the award scheme to get the best outcomes for young people?
  • Does Scouting reach out to employers in a pro-active manner to advertise the benefits of Scout training?
  • Does the Scouting program relieve the pressure to succeed academically that is placed on young people today? How can we do more?

In other news, Australia’s candidate for one of the 6 Youth Adviser to the World Scout Committee positions, Chris Neilsen, gave her campaign speech today. Chris did a great job… let’s hope she succeeds in the vote tomorrow! We also made a small contribution to the Asia-Pacific Region morning tea by supplying Tim Tams and Ryan Beeby in an Akubra (both of which went down well).

Reminder: you can stream the conference live, and keep up to date on Twitter and Facebook.

Wonderland 2014 – Lerik, Azberbaijan: Report

Annastasia Bedford

I am the assistant Joey leader at Port Cygnet Scouts and recently I was fortunate in being chosen to travel to Azerbaijan to participate as a member of the international service team (IST) at camp Wonderland 2014, the second time this camp has been held.

The international team arrived at the campsite near Lerik in the Talysh Mountains, a week before the scouts arrived and were responsible for building the amenities, bunks, tables and chairs and starting repairs on a bridge, which we later completed with the help of the scouts and which was also used by the surrounding communities.

The most challenging aspect of this first week was doing physical work in a climate that was humid with temperatures exceeding 30o and sunlight till 9:00pm.

On arrival, the scouts were put into their patrols and allocated tents where they laced the base of their own bunks, with the help of the IST; followed by opening parade and the raising of the flags.


The exuberance of the scouts was infectious and refreshing after a hard week’s work and seeing them embrace every activity with enthusiasm over the following weeks made all of the hard work worthwhile. Camp activities included hiking, archery, orienteering, pioneering, woodworking and excursions, with the hike proving to be the most popular.

This amazing experience gave me the opportunity to meet and work with a team, who became lifelong friends, see a country rich with history, culture and people who welcomed us and embraced us.

The most memorable part of camp Wonderland was the camaraderie, shown by both the leaders and the children. I would encourage anyone who had the chance to travel to Azerbaijan to do so, I certainly will visit again.

Mountains and Memories: International Rover Week in Kandersteg, Switzerland

Alison Millward and Caitlin Wood

In July we found ourselves at Kandersteg International Scout Centre’s International Rover Week.  This week brought Rovers from all over the world to a campsite in the Swiss Alps where we made memories and friends that we will treasure forever.

Over the 10 days of the camp we got to see some of the most beautiful sights the Swiss Alps have to offer.  We spent our days hiking, swimming, and getting to know our new international friends.  We were joined by Rovers from Egypt, Sweden, Finland, America, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and the Seychelles.  All of us learnt so much about the many similarities and differences between our cultures and our respective Scouting movements.

On our first day we hiked to a beautiful lake called Oeschinensee, where we spent the day swimming and canoeing in the absolutely freezing Swiss water. The next day we got to know KISC a little more and were introduced to the Messengers of Peace program.  We came up with our own service project to complete later on in the week. The following day we went to the Kandersteg swimming pool, which was framed by the most amazing views of the Alps.  That afternoon we set off on a two-day hike up in the mountains. We spent the night at the Upper Hut, and were very pleased to make use of the kitchen that had been donated by Scouts Australia.

Sharing this experience with Scouts from all over the world has given us access to skills and perspectives that will ensure that Scouting in Australia reflects the best that world scouting has to offer.

In the morning we set off on the Three Valleys hike, which took us up above 2500 meters, where we were greeted with stunning views out over the Alps.  The next day we learnt survival skills in the forest behind camp, dubbed ‘The Higgledy Piggledy Woods’. These skills included water purification, shelter building, making damper, and fire lighting.  We were joined by a local reporter, who was writing a story about International Rover Week.  He was so enamored with the group that he spent the entire day with us, and then invited us to come see him in his home town of Adelboden later in the week. That afternoon we took part in an alternative energies workshop.

We have made friendships that will last a lifetime, and we would not trade this experience for the world.

On Friday night we all went to the International Camp fire where we performed ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ in 10 different languages and did a dance that we learnt from one of the Irish Rovers. We also got to see skits and songs from groups from all over the world. On Saturday we were all able to choose our own activity for the day.  Caitlin went Paragliding, and then a couple of us went to try out the local High Ropes course. This was incredibly fun and rewarding, despite ending with many bruises and some rope burn.

On Sunday morning we participated in a Flag break ceremony, which soon morphed into an exceptionally muddy international games day. That afternoon we participated in the ‘Evolving the Alps’ Hike, where we learnt about the make up of the region.  The next day we headed up the mountain to try out an activity called ‘Trotti Bikes’, where we raced down the mountain on suped-up scooters.  Our final day we spent doing our service project, which involved helping out the camp staff, loving called the Pinkies, with their daily duties.  It mostly involved getting covered in mud and picking up litter in bright yellow rain coats.

The ten days that we spent at KISC were some of the best of our lives.  Sharing this experience with Scouts from all over the world has given us access to skills and perspectives that will ensure that Scouting in Australia reflects the best that world scouting has to offer.  We have made friendships that will last a lifetime, and we would not trade this experience for the world.

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World Scout Youth Forum: Day 1 Highlights

Welcome to our first daily wrap-up from the 12th World Scout Youth Forum held in Rogla, Slovenia.

The first day was taken up with introductions and important administrative tasks such as  approval of the agenda and rules of procedure. We were also able to bond with our international working patrols by undertaking some team building activities run by the Slovenian Scouts. There was still the opportunity for some important discussion and to set the scene for the coming days…

  • The opening session saw World Scout Committee member Mr. Joao Goncalves (Portugal) diplomatically dodge a question from a German delegate about why the World Scout Committee had not proceeded with implementing a formal quota for young people on the World Committee. Goncalves approached the question by reminding the Forum that the imposition of a quota would require a constitutional change (read: we didn’t have the votes) and that simply putting a young person on the Committee could be counterproductive to youth empowerment efforts. See the current composition of the World Scout Committee.
  • A session that included updates from the 6 WOSM Regions really got us thinking about the role of youth forums in the overall effort to increase the number of young people in decision making roles;
    • What is the real benefit of youth forums? Is it the outcome, information and recommendations they provide to decision makers, or the process, training young people in thinking about the most crucial issues in Scouting?
    • If forums are meant to be a temporary measure on the road to more meaningful youth involvement in decision making positions, what is the best way of re-shaping them when the original goal has been achieved? What does youth forum 2.0 look like?
    • If a bottom-up approach of making young people responsible for their own program from a young age builds capacity in the movement, then how do we best support this from a Regional and World-level support role.
  • The day concluded with a formal Opening Ceremony, attended by Ahmad Alhendawi, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. An inspiring ceremony featuring traditional Slovenian dancing and a giant bonfire.

If you can’t wait for tomorrow’s update, you can live stream the forum here, and follow the progress on Twitter and Facebook, or on WOSMs Youth Wall. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts by getting involved by commenting on Scouts Australia’s Facebook page, and in the comments below.