Hanna Lenitz gives us her memories of attending the Scout and Guide Network Meeting:
It is your first conference. You just sat through a session where every 3rd word was an abbreviation or a term that did not make a lot of sense and it’s recess now. Your colleague excuses herself to go to the bathroom and you are alone in a room with 200 people you don’t know. Welcome to conference life as a newbie!
The Network meeting is there to prepare Scouts and Guides that are new as External Representatives for conferences, advocacy, representation and a big room full of people you have never met – in short everything that comes with the job. The audience is normally a mix of ex rep rookies and veterans, the later there to teach the more inexperienced participants and well, to network.
In the 4 days, everything is covered from the basics (such as ‘What is advocacy and how on earth can I do it?’) to wearing the scarf in external representation and inspiration sessions. Saturday was devoted to skills development and the participants learned public speaking through improvisation theatre, campaigning using technology and navigating the conference environment. The participants also got to visit a European Institution or Permanent country representation and try out their newfound skills in real life.
What is unique about the network meeting is the co-operation between WAGGGS and WOSM. The two organisations share the work and the rewarding feeling and having helped young external representatives on their first steps in representation.
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