The International Service Team needs you!

Written by Miranda Fern, Communications Lead, Contingent Management Team

In July 2018, I embarked on one of the best experiences of my life so far. Along with over 100 other Girlguiding members, I headed to the Netherlands for two weeks of sun (lots), cheese (lots), work (some) and fun (lots)! Alongside our participants, no fewer than 40 Girlguiding members volunteered as International Service Team members (IST), working behind the scenes to make Roverway 2018 happen.

Roverway is a joint World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) Europe Region event where over 4500 Guides and Scouts gather to learn, work together and have adventures. The IST is the group of adults from WAGGGS and WOSM member organisations who volunteer their time to help make it happen!

After we all met on the beach at Scheveningen for the opening ceremony and first night’s camping, the participants split into their units and travelled to different parts of the Netherlands to spend a week on ‘Paths’, learning about different aspects of Dutch life on their way to the site at Zeewolde.

IST jumped onto buses and headed to site to get stuck into setting up everything we needed for an amazing camp, including a windmill - we were in the Netherlands, after all! After pitching our tents and a much-needed lunch, we started putting up marquees, planning activities and making international friends! IST had their own chill-out area and dining hall, as well as IST-only meetings and activities and a special off-site trip where we were able to visit the local town.

IST are the ‘engine’ of a big international camp; they run activities, cook meals and man the first-aid tent. They also clean a lot of toilets and empty a fair few rubbish bins – someone’s got to! I was one of the ‘Listening Ears’, the pastoral care team who provided a quiet space and a listening service in a secluded tent away from the busy centre of site. It was really rewarding to spend time with participants who needed a chat and some peace and quiet!

Being a member of Roverway IST was a truly brilliant experience and I would recommend it to anyone – and you can start your own IST journey right now! Any member of Girlguiding who will be aged 18 or over by 27 July 2020 can apply to be a member of the IST. You'll run activities, maintain facilities, provide first aid and – most importantly – keep us all fed!

This is Girlguiding’s biggest ever contingent for an international camp – we are hoping for over 600 participants and 100 IST, and we want everyone to be part of it. To apply, find out more here. To stay in touch, search ‘Girlguiding Contingent – European Jamboree’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out what the contingent management team are doing! I’ll also be blogging here at The Hive throughout the lead-up to the Jamboree, following our participants’ and IST members’ journey to Gdansk.

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