Joining in the jamboree
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A GROUP of 14 Forres teenagers attended a mini 'jamboree' in Switzerland with thousands of Scouts from around the world.
The 1st Forres Guides and Forres Rangers' two-week trip to Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC) 65 kilometres south of the capital Bern, was supported through fundraising activities by particpants, familes, friends and the local community.
Fundraising was done through coffee mornings, raffles, forest runs and the award of £1500 from the Berry Burn Community Fund and 1st Forres Guides thanked everyone for helping their dream trip become a reality.
Forres Guides adult leader Elisabeth Williams explained KISC was opened in 1923 as a result of Scout movement-founder Lord Baden-Powell's dream of a place where Scouts and Guides could meet, live in peace and learn from each other.
She said: "We certainly experienced this. The draw of community, fellowship and peace still makes you want to return to this amazing place.
"KISC provides adventurous activities that some attendees might not have the chance of doing at any other time. The programme included valley hikes, staying overnight in an alpine Swiss chalet, white water rafting, swimming in thermal pools, visiting Einstein’s house, seeing the Bern bears and tobogganing."
Lily Avenell – 14 years a member of Forres Rangers – added: "One of the most inspiring days was spent undertaking a United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organisation (UNESCO) community service project to earn a Patrimonito Scout badge. We worked alongside a Swiss farming family, clearing remnants from an avalanche fall.
"I hadn’t realised what impact avalanches have on the Swiss Valleys. We helped bring the valley back to life and allow the family to bring their cows down. It was a really hard day but they have to do it all the time to enable them to sustain a living and the future of the mountains."
Younger participants also did a one-day climbing course in the local mountains to develop leadership and team building skills, while older attendees did an overnight snow and ice challenge workshop on a glacier.
Leaders who attended the trip several years earlier as Guides and Scouts saw the impact global warming has had on the diminishing glacier.
The Guides and Scouts were encouraged to be self-motivated and actively participate in international activities and challenges with groups from across the world – including Hong Kong, Mexico, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Portugal, the USA, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden.
"It was great fun," added Lily. "But with an underlying theme of working together to create a better world and protect our planet."
The programme also focused on completing KISC badges – from swimming in a glacial lake and taking part in an international campfire to learning about the 'Leave no Trace' programme. The badges related to international friendship, environmental sustainability and recycling."
Kirsty Martin, one of the Rangers, added: "We took part in an international evening, handing out shortbread and showcasing Moray and Scotland by organising a giant 'Stripe the willow'.
"There were opportunities to try out different foods, swap badges and participate in activities from the other groups, for example, cheese fondue, sweets from Hong Kong and Marmite sandwiches from England.
She added: "We learned about different cultures and lifestyles, the importance of team work, increased our self-confidence and acquired skills to share at home.
"We realise now that by making small changes and working together we can make a difference to the world we live in."
To join visit https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/information-for-parents/register-your-daughter/.