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Members of Girlguiding Birmingham head to Iceland for the World Scout Moot

Contributed by Rebecca Andrews and Megan Schlanker

A number of our members attended the 15th World Scout Moot in Iceland this summer as both participants and IST (International Service Team). The Moot was split into two parts: the Expedition Center, where groups were placed in different parts of Iceland to do activities and undertake community action projects, and the main camp at Ulfjotsvatn, where everyone came to camp together and continued with the activities. This year the theme of the Moot was ‘Change inspired by Iceland’ and each participant was asked to decide on a change that they wanted to implement at camp and carry on in their lives at home.

Megan, 20, Adult Leader in Training for 114th Birmingham Guides:

I attended the Moot as a participant, having signed up for the event almost two years ago. I’d attended other Guiding and Scouting events with international participants, including the Haarlem Jamborette, Free Being Me Festival, and the Women in the World Conference, all of which had made me want to attend something like the Moot. I ended up seeing some of the friends I’d met at these events at the Moot, and also found out I had mutual friends with participants from around the world, including my patrol member from New Zealand.

I stayed at the Reykjavik expedition centre for the first part of the event and slept in a school classroom with the rest of my patrol, made up of Scouts from Australia, Brazil, Ireland, New Zealand, Nicaragua and Mexico. I felt like the programme at Reykjavik, which focused on the culture of Iceland, helped us to bond as a patrol, although it wasn’t until the Althingi at Ulfjotsvatn that our tribe became really close.

After the Moot I had the chance to explore Iceland for a few days. I really wanted to learn more about the culture and history of Iceland and ended up visiting the National Museum of Iceland and the Settlement Exhibition, and drinking a lot of coffee to keep myself alive through the dreaded post-Moot flu. I’m so glad to have had this experience, and to have had the chance to meet so many wonderful people from around the world. Two of my patrol members have been visiting the UK as part of their post Moot tour and I met up with both of them over the last week. I feel like I have made a good few lasting friendships, and my tribe are always talking about when our reunion will be!

Rebecca, 26,  Leader and Mentor at 13th Sutton Coldfield Guide Unit:

I was selected to be an IST member at the World Scout Moot in Iceland where I took the role as a Listening Ear. This role involved me and a team of international IST members from Scouting and Guiding supporting participants in their every day life on camp. If they needed support or someone to talk to we were there to support, encourage and promote social and emotional well-being.
Whilst been in Iceland I met and became friends with Guides and Scouts from all over the world. I also met up with people I had previously met at other internationals – it was fantastic to catch up and meet again.
I was at the Aykeuryi Expedition Centre which is located in the North. My experience in Aykeureyi was fantastic. I worked alongside an amazing team of dedicated staff and made so many memories. My favourite moment was when we all went on a hike to the Christmas House but after several hours ended up back on our camp site: this is when we realised we needed more map reading practice!
My ‘change’ was to promote and empower girls to do and be the best they can and to overcome challenges and try new things. The reason for this is I never thought I would travel and have the opportunity to experience different countries and see girlguiding around the world. Having the encouragement from my Leaders and other Guides, I could do this and this changed me and my perspective and this is why I want to empower girls within guiding to have an attitude they can and be the best. I signed up to go to the Moot to share and gain knowledge and understanding of international guiding and to take on a challenge I’ve never done before which can support and encourage my guides to travel.