This is part 3 in a series on posts from my experience being part of the planning team for European Guide and Scout Centre Managers Conference (ECMC) 2017.
There is a not so insignificant gap between scout centres and the NSOs (National Scout Organisations), regional level and world level (for example European Region and WOSM). Centre Managers tends to be doers who are not so thrilled by the organisational structure and political manoeuvres of scout organisations. Scout organisations on the other hand has a defined structure where neither schools nor scout centres fit in. They don’t fit the organisational chart.
Organisations in general tend to view the world around them through their organisational structure, and since scout centres in general don’t fit in at all, they are off the radar. Schools don’t fit in either and so all the non scouts, school children comes to mind, who every year visit scout centres are off the chart for all our organisations, the same organisations that so often writes about reaching out to society.
It’s telling that excited school children was what I met when I arrived at the centre, but as the conference starts, they are no longer around.
This ECMC we were so lucky to get three key note speakers, João Armando, who was the Immediate past Chairperson of the World Scout Committee, Hulda Sólrún Guðmundsdóttir who are the vice-chairperson of the European Scout Committee and Jakob Frímann Þorsteinsson, Adjunkt lecturer, Department of Leisure Studies and Social pedagogy at University of Iceland.
I had asked João to speak about the WOSM Vision 2023 and how scout centres can relate to that. Scout centres need to start thinking about how WOSM and WAGGGS work, where they are going and how they can be approached. It’s part of the long term solution.
We had planned to start the ECMC in the Big House. The Big House is quite big, it’s a round house made of wood with wooden floors and a few windows. There are no pillars inside so the whole building is very spacious. We had spent part of the opening day with cleaning out conference rooms and preparing the biggest of all places (the Big House) and now there was a small but important issue to solve. The building had no insulation and no heating. The gas heaters did not work as intended and shut down shortly after being started. Too late we learned the gas in the base of the heaters gets too cold and that this is solved by removing the covers over the gas canisters.
We opened the conference with the usual welcomes and icebreakers but then it was too cold so we had to move to the Northern Hall for the keynotes. The Northern Hall was big enough for all participants, but just barely and we still had our coffee and cake down in the Big House.
João started the key note by asking who many in the room knew of Vision 2023. Three hands in the air (not counting planning team). That is all you need to know about how the divide looks like and it is also why we where so very happy to have João come present as keynote speaker. During my years at ECMC, this keynote was one that gave the most positive immediate feedback.
The second most popular was the keynote that followed by Jakob.
If you don’t know about Vision 2023, it’s definitely time to learn about it.