"Eurofax is the monthly newsletter of the European Scout Region. It is produced by the European Scout Office and is distributed to all member associations in the European Region, and others. Reproduction of articles without alteration is encouraged but Eurofax should be acknowledged as the source of the information."
The World Organization of the Scout Movement's European Region and the Swiss National Youth Council shared responsibility for organising the meeting of the European Youth Forum's Executive Committee from 25-28 November. This is the first time that an international youth organisation has been given such a responsibility. We were very honoured to have the opportunity to welcome 150 delegates from all over Europe to Geneva. 40 national youth councils and 55 international organisations were represented.
In her opening speech, Jacqueline Collier, Youth Programme Director, expressed WOSM's wish to develop new forms of cooperation with other youth organisations based on themes of common interest, such as peace and youth participation. She emphasised the importance of implementing concrete projects for the benefit of young people, noting that projects have a far greater impact when undertaken in partnership with other youth organisations and intergovernmental organisations. This had been aptly demonstrated by the Peace Cruise this summer.
WOSM also organised the evening programme, which included a meeting with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr Cornelio Sommaruga. This was followed by activities run by the Scouts of Geneva. The delegates had a chance to discover the simulation game on antipersonnel mines developed with Handicap International and the game "Passages" created with the UNHCR to raise awareness of the plight of refugees. Jacques Moreillon, WOSM's Secretary General, officially welcomed the delegates and encouraged them to participate in developing national youth policies which defend the principles and promote the recognition of non-formal education in their countries.
All delegates were provided with copies of our documentation on youth policies, non-formal education, the UN World AIDS Campaign (in which WOSM is a partner) and the information pack on the Peace Cruise. We express our gratitude to the Republic and Canton of Geneva for their donation of CHF 10,000 to enable us to host this event, as well as to the United Nations agencies for providing documentation for the delegates. We also wish to thank Richard Amalvy and Anne-Christine Vogelsang for organising this event in partnership with the Swiss National Youth Council and the European Youth Forum, as well as Shana McElroy and Vladimir Kalmikov from the World Scout Bureau for their enthusiastic support.
This meeting showed clearly the importance of strengthening Scouting's involvement in national youth councils as a way of contributing to the development of national youth policies.
This month, the European Scout Region ran its first sub-regional events as follow-up to the European Forum on youth programme and adult resources in Malta. The events were held in Slovakia, from 11-14 November, and in Macedonia (FYRO), from 18-21 November. They gathered about 70 participants from 11 countries and were evaluated very positively by the participants.
They provided an opportunity to explore the Renewed Approach to Programme (RAP) and Adults in Scouting concepts in more depth and to build new partnerships to assist in the implementation phase. The Region would like to express its sincere thanks to Slovensky Skauting and to Sojuz na Izvidnici na Makedonija for their generous hospitality, as well as to the members of the European working groups on youth programme and adult resources who ran these events.
For the year 2000, we are planning three sub-regional events for the Eastern Mediterranean, Nordic and Latin countries. The strength of such events lies in the fact that all members of national youth programme and adult resources teams in neighbouring countries can participate, since costs are kept to an absolute minimum. They enable associations to share their expertise and pool their scarce resources to achieve faster and better results than they could by working alone.
In connection with the sub-regional event in Macedonia (FYRO), a special meeting was organised for representatives of Scout associations in the south-eastern part of Europe. The European Scout Committee is giving high priority to supporting these associations, which have specific needs following the many years of unrest in the region. The meeting enabled the associations to identify needs and plan projects in different fields. Some of these projects will be submitted to the Centenary Fund 2000. At the Mission of Scouting Symposium, there will be a special presentation on the needs identified by these associations to encourage new partnerships.
Scouts Canada and 10 European Scout associations were represented at this symposium, which examined the issue of child abuse and the responsibilities of associations in protecting the children in their charge. The symposium highlighted a serious absence of policies and procedures on child protection within Scout associations in Europe. Participants recommended that this issue be included on the agenda of the next European Scout Conference. Associations are advised to take urgent measures relating to youth programme and the recruitment and training of adult leaders, to guarantee that Scouting offers a safe environment for children.
Many thanks to The Scout Association, UK, for taking this initiative, as well as to the other members of the planning team from Scouts de France and Scouting Nederland and to all the participants for their hard work. A full report will be produced soon and other information will be put on the European Scout Region's web site: www.scout.org/europe. We will be developing a network to continue the work and newcomers will be very welcome to join.
Courrière, the Scouts of Belgium's magnificent château, provided an ideal setting for the "Children First" seminar from 20-25 November. It welcomed 24 Cub Scout/Brownie commissioners and leaders from 15 countries. The seminar encouraged associations to review and develop programmes for 7-11 year-olds based on the needs and rights of the child. It included a visit to a children's rights centre in Belgium, as well as workshops, discussions and project work. Participants had the opportunity to discover projects and programmes developed by the associations present and to discuss in depth how children's rights and needs relate to the Scout and Guide methods. Participants planned their own projects to implement within their own associations.
Participants were concerned about awareness of, knowledge, and use of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. They felt that training for trainers and a greater involvement by children themselves in their organisations were keys to meeting this need. They felt that the European Scout Region could play a role in supporting associations by building links between the rights of the child and the Scout method. An edition of Euro.Scout.Doc planned for early 2000 will try to meet this need.
A reminder that this event is for policy makers in the field of education, e.g. Chief Scouts and the national commissioners responsible for educational methods. Please note that the deadline for application is 10 December. Upon registration you will receive a confirmation letter from the European Scout Office with some additional information and a travel form to fill in, if you would like to be picked up from the airport or the train station. You still have the possibility to give input for the symposium on the European Scout Region's web-site. For the first time ever, we will also try to have an online service on the World Wide Web during the event. We hope that it will be possible for associations and individuals to follow what is going on at the symposium and give input to the process. Stay tuned on Saturday afternoon and evening (22 January) and be part of the process.
This month, we offer you the chance to explore the spiritual dimension with Ewa, Olga and Vladimir in Chapter 7 of the Green Island. They discuss questions such as: "Isn't the spiritual dimension already engraved in each of us?; How do we know what God expects of us?; What does God mean in the daily life of young people?; What should a Scout leader do?; How is spiritual development linked to the other areas of personal growth? Chapters 1-7 of the story can be downloaded from the regional web site.
For the third consecutive year, the European Scout Region is organising a management seminar at Kandersteg International Scout Centre. The seminar will be from 3-9 March and will focus on the basic management skills required to manage a national Scout association, including financial management and fund-raising. The invitation and application form can be found in December's EuroPak.
The next German-speaking Conference will take place from 3-6 March in "Our Chalet", Adelboden, Switzerland. The Swiss Guide and Scout Movement is happy to invite all German-speaking associations for this weekend. More information will be sent to associations soon and can also be downloaded from: www.pbs.ch/internationales.
The Italian Catholic Guides and Scouts (AGESCI), Radio Scouting Division and Internet Division, are organising the next European seminar for national JOTA and JOTI commissioners. The event will be held in Rome from 11-14 May. It is self-financed and the participation fee is EURO 250. For further information, please contact AGESCI directly: fax +39.06/68166236, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The European Scout Region wishes all its member organisations, and everybody who has contributed to this year's numerous successes, a well-earned rest and a peaceful, joyful time with family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with those of you who have lost loved ones during the course of this year.
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Official Eurofax home page: www.scout.org/europe/eurofax