After two years of hard work and preparation by volunteers and staff from Scouting Nederland, WAGGGS and WOSM, we’re finally at Roverway 2018!
Day one saw Rangers and Rovers arrive at The Hague to start a full day of activities, games and relaxing at the beach. The energy and excitement could be felt in the air while everybody involved in the event gathered at the beach waiting for the Opening Ceremony of Roverway 2018.
Meanwhile, volunteers had the opportunity to do a beach clean up with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, and Merijn Tinga, better known as the Plastic Soup Surfer, in order to raise awareness about the garbage and plastic bottles in oceans.
After the beach cleaning, Marjolein Sluijters, Chair of the Europe Region Committee of WAGGGS, and Hanna Lenitz, WAGGGS external relations volunteer, had the pleasure of having dinner with Frans Timmermans. Hanna spoke with him about WAGGGS´ mission, vision and our work in the Europe Region.
The Opening Ceremony started with the Rover Band performing the Roverway 2018 official song: ‘Leave Your Mark’. The spirit of Roverway continued with an inspirational speech, jointly delivered by Marjolein and Julijana Daskalov, Member of the European Scout Committee of WOSM. Their message: “Go beyond yourself and commit to a cause that is that of peace, solidarity, understanding, and action. The commitment is not just the values that we share. The commitment is a translation of these values into actions!”.
Frans Timmermans also shared some inspiring words with Rangers and Rovers. He spoke about one of the most important things of Roverway: the opportunity to know and interact with people from all over the world. He said: “You understand your own identity better if you are in touch with other identities and open to others identities”.
After the ceremony at The Hague, with the most beautiful sunset, everyone prepared for a night camping on the beach before moving the following day. The next morning, there was more excitement as everyone gathered their belongings to begin their journey.
Paths: new friends and international understanding
3,500 excited Rovers and Rangers departed by bus to start their paths and get to know friends from all over the world. The paths were located all over the Netherlands and neighbouring countries, including cities like Amsterdam, Diemen, Woerden and The Hague.
Here are some highlights from two of the 71 paths. The participants of Path #62 had a friendly canoeing race and enjoyed the water at Zeewolde, which was a relief in the 32ºc heat. During their path, they had the chance to learn about the wilderness, first aid and lifeguarding - which was a first for most of the participants.
Christy Abdul Sater from Lebanon said: “In this path, we are five different cultures living together, so that gave us the opportunity to learn about each culture and get empowered through this experience”.
Ana from Portugal explains: “We learned so many things that are useful and we can apply them to our patrol and we can help and support others”.
Meanwhile, the participants on Path #3 traveled to Amsterdam and enjoyed the Nemo Museum where they learned a little bit more about science, technology, engineering and maths. But that was not all! They had the chance to discover other cultures and enjoyed an amazing Portuguese night, all while discovering how guiding and scouting works in different countries.
Life before the participants arrive: hard work and a lot of fun!
Whilst the participants were on their paths, at the main camp in Zeewolde, the team were working really hard in order to get everything ready before their arrival. As well as creating activities for the Rangers and Rovers in order to get them into the Roverway spirit, we’ve also helped to pitch tents and serve food at the canteen for all the hungry, hard-working team at Zeewolde.
Volunteers have also set up the WAGGGS tent. This tent showcases WAGGGS Europe Region work, such as gender and diversity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), refugees and U-Report, through exciting and thought-provoking games and activities.
It’s not all work though, we had time to make friends at the International Night, try foods such as Pierogi from Poland or Swiss raclette in the Polish and Swiss food houses and beat the heat by napping under the trees and swimming near the jetty.