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.