Goose Network Meeting October 6th 2012, Our Chalet, Adelboden, Switzerland.
The report from Scout Center Buitenzorg has been added to the minutes in this post, they do not appear in the pdf version of the minutes sent out to each participating center.
1. Mama Goose Sally Thornton welcomed everybody and opened the meeting
2. Reports from each centre
Burg Rieneck was very happy to join in International Centers Day (ICD) this year. They are still trying to become a SCENES center and are currently looking into how to go forward with the peer review practically.
Houens Odde also participated in ICD, and they also reported that in general everything is as usual.
Griebal reported that their most important problems reported at last year’s meeting have been solved. Forest environmental actions have been done to safeguard against fires in the woods so now the forest can be used again, but it came at a big cost. This year they had fewer guests than usual due to these problems; there have been about 800 guests. Finally, Griebal is also working towards obtaining a SCENES certificate.
Bucher Berg reported that for them it feels like being in the middle of a journey. The new building that was started has been completed and following that the program office has been moved. Speaking of program, the centres program has been booked more than the year before, which partly is attributed to this move. Another new building is already planned; one thing that is needed is a staff building so staff members doesn’t have to sleep in tents all summer. The Weather nowadays is worse than it used to be, currently it is starting to be a challenge for all staff members sleeping in tents. Bucher Berg hosted the Bavarian Jamboree in 2012, so with 650 guests more fields had to be rented from farmers around. The Jamboree was very successful. Also, Bucher Berg was busy coordinating ICD this year, about 10 centres took part and in general it went well, there is however a question on how to publish the joint media from ICD on the web. This was discussed more later in the meeting.
Bucher Berg has a challenge in getting volunteers, these days it is harder, one cause is the change in the student system in Germany. One possibility being explored is to have more international staff, since currently, the German volunteers are too few to make it work in the long run, and in particular the manager volunteer positions are critical to find volunteers for. Finally, Bucher Berg is also working on becoming a SCENES center.
Zellhof has had a great season. 22,300 guests this year, which is not as many as last year. They are proud to have 112 team members from 13 countries. The summer was a great time and at the moment they are also working on becoming a SCENES centre. On the theme of developing estate, this winter they will have to rebuild one roof of the houses.
Vässarö hosted two big camps this summer: “1719” with 18th century theme and then the “Boomerang” camp for scouts ages 15+. Vässarö spent €400 on building a real water slide, it is however for sale now if anyone is interested. Maybe Kandersteg needs one for next year’s celebration? The summer was so rainy, at the worst day staff were sailing the smallest boats on the football field. The next morning reinforcement work was started on the big ditches. Vässarö is building two new small guest houses. In addition, they also have sheep on the island in order to keep the landscape open, they are borrowed and belong to a farmer and not Vässarö.
Work on the program booking system mentioned at the Center Managers Conference (CMC) is going on and so far the system has performed really well this summer.
Naesbycenter reported that they had a very interesting year. It has been a year with many challenges and many projects. They have bought new land and on this land they have planted trees and then started planning for shelters and roads on this land. Currently, the staff is looking forward to spring so working on all this can start practically. The Naesbycenter joined ICD this year and they expect that the staff would like to participate next year too.
There was a big jamboree in Denmark this year with about 35000 scouts, but not at the Naesbycenter so it made it a challenge to run the center, because it implied they had very few guests this year. This was understood a little too late, there were many staff members compared to guests, so instead staff had to work on improvements to the centre. Five staff members from Bucher Berg came visiting for a weekend as part of the staff exchange.
Pax Lodge had a lot of changes to the staff and simultaneously they survived the Olympics. They renovated and prepared for the Olympics in order to increase number of visitors to the centre. Most guests came for the Olympics and not for participating in the program unfortunately, but work is being done to make guests use the program more. Pax Lodge also hosted the annual World Board meeting for WAGGGS.
Kandersteg started last October with serious flooding. This is why Myriam couldn’t come to the CMC. The big flooding led to water in the basements and they had a lake outside the chalets, so after the flooding the basements and car parks had to be renovated. It was a serious situation and Kandersteg realized they were really not prepared for this kind of situation. Subsequently they have been working on creating procedures for this kind of unusual events in order to be prepared next time. Then Kandersteg was visited by a mountain storm coming in, it caught the center off guard again. In one night on the camp site 300 trees came down and maybe 300 to 400 more fell in the forest. Luckily it was April and the only guests were staying in a house on the camp site. Now Kandersteg have a concept for how to deal with this sort of situation also, who to call, who will make decisions, when to do what etc.
Kandersteg were happy that Our Chalet came over and helped out for a whole day after the mountain storm because no one was sure after the storm that Kandersteg ever could open for summer. The help lifted the spirit a lot and Kandersteg are very thankful. The good side is that Kandersteg now have much more sun on the camp site. They have also started to think about the placement of trees and so they have now started to cut down a few trees in order to minimize risk.
Kandersteg also participated in the ICD. After all this, they had a good summer with nice and sunny weather. Kandersteg are 10% up on last year in number of visitors and they should have about 10,000 guests. Next year is currently looking to be a very busy year, it will be a nice little challenge because next year Kandersteg will also be celebrating 90 years.
Since four weeks back Kandersteg have had a new Operational Director. About volunteers: Kandersteg is one of the centers which have to postpone or decline volunteers so maybe we can come up with ideas on how to make the surplus of volunteers help other centers.
National Centre for Environmental Training, Saojacinto, Portugal: this is a new candidate member of Goose & here for the first time. They told us about the center which is in a great protected area of Portugal between the sea and a river. They had 6,000 guests using the camp this year despite Portugal also having a national jamboree this year. They are this year starting the process to become SCENES center too. Finally, next year they have a 25th year anniversary.
Our Chalet found last year a little bit of a challenge. The majority of the guests comes from the USA and UK. In the US they had their centenary celebration and the UK had the Olympics, two events that didn’t help in bringing in visitors. Already, Our Chalet is reporting they can see that the next summer will look a lot better. Our Chalet is currently running with a deficit budget due to these challenges.
From June to September, they had 2,500 guests, mostly these were day Visitors with just 400 staying overnight during summer and participating in programme. One change being introduced is shorter Mini Breaks over New Year and in the Spring offering a simpler and cheaper alternative staying at the Chalet, which are becoming quite popular. Also Winter Weeks with package options which are very good value.
This year Our Chalet have had volunteers from over 20 nations and they have had more volunteer applications than there are positions for. For paid staff members Our Chalet have a little of a challenge since they have to reduce the number of paid staff members due to budget challenges.
Our Chalet took part in ICD and as part of the goose network staff exchange program they had a staff member from Naesbycenter visiting.
Reporting on the “Ready-steady-go week”: they had a special occasion when people can come two weeks in the spring and help prepare the centre for the busy summer ahead. This was also the time when Our Chalet helped Kandersteg.
Our Chalet are now in the middle of the “Fit-for-future” project, so for example they have a new T-bar in the old Chalet. Currently they are preparing for the big kitchen and food storage overhaul.
Scout Centre Buitenzorg thanks Bucherberg for organizing and arranging the ICD of 2012. We think the ICD is an excellent opportunity for all of the members to meet, to learn and to have a little competition on line. We are very much looking forward to the next edition! Furthermore Buitenzorg reports a very good international season with a lot of international guests. We are looking forward to an international 2013 again. For us becoming an active member of the SCENES Network is one of the priorities for next year. We are looking forward to participate in staff exchanges and receiving international staff.
– As for the website: We discussed the possibility of making a more interactive website. A website that could be maintained and kept up to date more easily. I agreed to talk with Olaf and to find a way to make the website more interactive for the network.
3. International Centers Day (ICD)
Bucher Berg which was organizing this year’s ICD reported that about ten centers where participating, among them: Kandersteg, Pax Lodge, Our Chalet, Bucheberg, and Houens Odde.
For Bucher Berg the challenge was to figure out how the supporting center practically could support the organizing center. One important experience is that the center participating and running the event will need a very good internet connection. Following this was some discussion on details of organizing the ICD and the technical issues involved, mostly network issues. Also there was discussion on copyright issues and which legal entity publishes the result of ICD. It has become clear that participating centers should think about how they are going to upload their data (movies, music, photos) before starting to actually produce a movie or similar. There were further discussion on who is responsible for the published content and if we ever should publish publicly or not.
The next years ICD organizer and the coming staff meeting will have to further discuss these issues.
ICD 2013: it was decided that Drave and Saojacinto will be organizing ICD 2013 with Saojacinto as primary organizer.
4. Camp Staff Seminar 2012 BP Park, Rome
Preben (from Houens Odde) who was on the planning team reported that the staff meeting went well. There were 21 participants and the fee was €200. There is about €200 left, which will be used for badges and the remaining funds after that will go into the next years camp staff seminar.
Preben brought up the discussion from last year’s meeting on pre-paying the first person from each centre so there is more stability for the budget. For the planners, the problem is that they currently don’t know how many people will attend until about 14 days before, and this has too much budget and planning impact.
The idea put forward is that as it works now we can’t know the income until about 14 days before the seminar, but under the new scheme, six months in advance we would know about at least a minimum number of participants and that there is a minimum amount of reserves available. The discussion was postponed until later in the meeting.
5. Camp Staff Seminar in 2013
5a) Neihaischen, Luxembourg, will as previously agreed, host it in 2013.
5b) Vässarö offered to host Camp Staff Seminar in 2014 and so it was decided.
5c) Planning teams.
Martin and Preben volunteered for the planning team for the camp staff seminar in 2013. More people will be needed on the planning team to share the work. Volunteers may contact for example Preben.
6. Report on Staff exchange 2012
Unfortunately, the email for the staff exchange coordinator wasn’t checked for a while this year, but now things are working better. There have been only a few people sending emails to the exchange coordinator so there is interest in the exchange. A few centres seem to have organized staff exchange directly. Katie Scales (Our Chalet) will continue as coordinator.
It was suggested that it would be good to have some information on goose staff exchange program on the goose network web site.
We have an action point that each centre should feedback to Katie what they can offer and what needs they have in terms of Goose Network staff exchange.
The following general info was repeated: The centre that is sending staff members pays for the travel cost and the receiving centre pays for food and accommodation.
The discussions then drifted into how we can share and help each other given that some centres are struggling to find volunteers and some centres have more than they can offer positions. There was a suggestion that centres can add some information that there are other Goose Network scout centres that you can apply for, what the Goose Network is, and maybe adding a box to cross on the application form asking if it would be okay to forward the contact info to other centres. Mainly with purpose of raising the awareness that there are many scout centres around the world.
7. Experiences from EVS
Myriam from Kandersteg told us about their experiences using EVS. In short, it’s almost not worth the hassle of filling out all forms. Also, beware that you need a special email account for receiving applications since if you register an EVS position, you will be flooded with applications. Our Chalet explained that it isn’t a good fit for their center. Preben reported that they have had both positive and negative experiences of the EVS.
8. Goose Game Activity
All centers should look into the Goose Game and see if something needs to be updated.
9. Goose Network Website
The web site maintainer is just maintaining the web site, but no new development is being done. We need someone new to address further developments of the site. Anyone willing to offer? Contact papa Goose – Martin from Vassaro
10. Goose Logo Artwork
Following up on last year’s meeting, the original artwork hasn’t been found. Now the question is if anybody can help recreate it? Jan (Bucher Berg) is going to ask a friend for possible help. We are looking for a gentle update/replication not a remake. In general we are happy with the logotype.
11. Goose Network and SCENES
Pia from Naesbycenter (part of SCENES steering committee) talked about SCENES. One key challenge is that Farouk who was the SCENES contact at WOSM has left and the centre who would like to host the SCENES seminar in 2013 is waiting for an official request from WOSM, so right now the most important thing is to find a new contact in WOSM. No planning team or nothing will start until the official request have been made.
There was a great presentation from Leah (UK) a current Our Chalet volunteer who shared some info and experiences from the global climate meeting COP18 in Durban South Africa. Both WAGGGS & WOSM send youth delegate teams to participate & in the past have had some success with raising the non formal education approach of scouting & guiding. People should look out for opportunities to be part of these delegations.
12. Discussions on future goals of the Goose Network
Sally opened the discussion on whether we as a network would like to stay informal or if we want to make a change going forward and be more formal. The general agreement was to keep it informal. Myriam pointed out that the informal nature of the network asks active membership of all the participating centres. The informality of the network is keeping it alive. In the end we agreed on keeping it informal. We also shortly discussed centres that have disappeared from the network. We also discussed cross promotion of Goose Network Centers, but nothing was decided. These issues should probably be discussed in coming seminars and meetings.
13. New Goose Network Members
A short look at the list of centres that have been on the list for possible inclusion in the network and evaluation of their activities related to the network made it easy to decide to include the following centres in the Goose Network:
- a) Drave Scout Centre, Portugal
- b) National Centre for Environmental Training, Saojacinto, Portugal
Very welcome to the network!
14. Next Goose Network Meeting
For those who will be going to the CMC at Neihaischen in Autumn 2013 there will be an opportunity for informal meeting during the Conference but as decided in the 2011 at Jambville, there will only be a full meeting of Goose network in the alternate years to CMC. So the next meeting of Goose Network will be at National Centre for Environmental Training, Saojacinto, Portugal who offered to host in the autumn of 2014 and everyone was happy to agree.
15.1 Further discussion on the camp staff seminar fee
After everyone had time to think and discuss the issue during breaks, the following suggestion was made:
For the next camp staff seminar, we still try this model:
Six months in advance, centres have to choose if they are participating or not. If they are, they have to pay at least one fee regardless. This one person fee might have to be paid a little in advance. If a centre say they will participate and don’t they still have to pay this one person fee. This fee count as fee for one person visiting the seminar, it’s just that it’s guaranteed and possibly paid in advance.
15.2 New Goose Network Coordinator aka Mama/Papa Goose
Sally has been the coordinator for two years and has served the network very well but regrettably her time at Our Chalet is now coming to an end. Therefore the centre needs a new coordinator and after lots of thinking and a vote, the network has a new coordinator. Papa Goose is going to be Martin Eliasson of Vässarö, Sweden. Congratulations Martin and good luck!
There being no other issues to discuss the Meeting was closed and everyone was thanked for coming.
Saturday night evening programme was International to showcase all our centres.
On Sunday we all went to KISC at Kandersteg and enjoyed a tour and lunch before departing for home.