Hosting an International Group

 

We are looking forward to welcoming international visitors from across the globe to WINGS 2020 and we’re on the lookout for some of our UK units to connect with these international groups to support their trip.

Pairing with an international group usually entails bringing additional equipment, tents and other resources to camp to assist the international groups so they don’t need to bring everything with them. Some UK groups also take their support to the next level and also assist and in some cases join forces with the group’s additional plans in the UK, outside of the core WINGS 2020 camp. For example, you may have a scout hut that they can stay for an additional week in order to do some sightseeing. Or you may be able to offer your personal experience of tourist attractions to help them tailor their experiences in the UK.

Over the coming months, we will ask each international group if they wish to be paired with a UK unit and what kind of support they would like from that unit. We are also asking UK units to put themselves forward and we’ll ask these units in what way they can support an international group. Our International Connections team will carefully consider the needs of the international groups requesting support along with the resources the UK units are able to offer to ensure the perfect partnering of groups. We anticipate these pairings being confirmed no later than December 2019.

Usually Girlguiding units will host WAGGGS member groups and Scout Troops will host WOSM member groups.

If you are interested in hosting an International unit then please email us at [email protected]

Hosting a group is a great experience, but don’t just take our word for it…….

Girlguiding Dursley District’s hosting experience 

“We first attended WINGS in 2009 and linked up with a Canadian group of Girl Scouts. As a Leader I had never been to an international jamboree and was a little nervous as to what the link up would entail but knew that the plans the Canadian’s were making were far more complicated so whatever we could do to help would make their life easier. At that stage I had not really understood exactly what a fabulous opportunity it was to link up with an international group. In 2014 we were first in line to offer our support and connected with an American group from Seattle. 

In both cases, we connected with their Leaders prior to the camp to make plans and offer them support. We were able to answer simple things that they needed for their risk assessments (like what is the number for the emergency services). We found out about each others groups, how many girls and Leaders there would be and agreed to provide tents for their group. We also agreed to bring along the catering equipment for the whole group and we set up as one camp: eating, sleeping and generally having fun together! 

The friendships the girls made during these weeks at camp have lasted the years already and some of the girls have reconnected when the international visitors have been back in the UK again since. Joining with another group like this has become what WINGS is all about for us and we hope to be paired with a group again for 2020.” 

Anne, Guide Leader 

“Participating in an international camp was an unforgettable experience that I still talk about now, even though it was past five years since I went to WINGS. 

Arriving at Windsor with our equipment and luggage for the week and carrying it across a field made me realise I had packed too much and that there was definitely a fun week ahead of me. Looking around and seeing the camp fill up with so many members and different national flags, I could tell that I was definitely going to get the taste of different cultures. Putting up the tents, for us and our guests, and the flags and sorting out the bedding, shortly a large group of girl scouts from Washington, Seattle came and introduced themselves; as we were sharing our experience with them. They all arrived to be greeted by our district and introducing ourselves was very exciting and we all soon began to talk to one another without any prompt. 

Throughout the week we all got to know one another and participated in activities like circus skills, water activities, water fights, orienteering, dancing, badge swaps, knitting, singing and trying other groups traditional food or games and just exploring and getting to know each other more and more. The one day we got to venture out into Windsor and we were able to show the Seattle Girl Scouts a small part of our culture and what England is all about. Sharing a camp with them was both loud and exciting as they were all so similar to us, making me realise that Girlguiding is a similar family all across the world.  

We were so lucky with the weather and had blazing sun all week and warm evenings allowing us to take part in activities or sit with our guests and learn their traditional camp fire songs. 

I made particular friends with two of the Washington girls and throughout the week we started to do everything together. It was an emotional farewell by the seventh day and we exchanged emails and didn’t expect anything to come from it. Over the months the one Girl Scout and myself had already sent birthday presents to each other and were in regular contact. Two years after the camp she flew from Seattle with her parents and came and stayed at my house just before Christmas and we went ice skating and she met my friends; it was like we had never been split up as we had so much to talk about. 

When I signed up to go an international camp, I didn’t know what to expect! However, I do not regret my decision as it was an irreplaceable experience where spending time with our fellow campers was so memorable. As well as taking part in activities that I would never usually participate in and pushing myself to try knew things. I know some of the other girls from my unit kept in contact with some of the Girl Scouts and are still friends with them now. This just shows the bonds you can make from one week and without a doubt, it was probably one of the most fun and enjoyable weeks of my Girlguiding experience so far.” 

Beck, Guide