A week ago today, I came back from my latest international Scouting event - the 15th World Scout Moot in Iceland. I've finally had the time to sit down and write this blog to go through my experiences.

TL;DR - an event that more than impressed, Iceland has beautiful scenery, I had the pleasure of meeting wonderful and friendly people and getting lots of new experiences.

This is part one. Part two can be found here. If there's no link, it's because I either haven't written part two, am writing it now or have forgotten to update this bit.

Part one: The prequel - everything before the moot.

On a serious note: this blog goes into probably more detail than is needed, but I've taken out some stuff (18 months of work), condensed other bits and it's still quite...dry. If you read any further, you've been warned!

Some basic facts...

  • Iceland has ~330,000 people. The moot increased the population by 5,000 (1.5%)
  • Officially, the moot started 25th July and ended 3rd August. I was there 21st July until 6th August as part of the CMT (Contingent Management Team) for the UK
  • There were 500 earthquakes in the two weeks we were in Iceland
  • The UK Contingent was ~650 Scouts (participants, IST (International Service Team), CMT)

If you want to find out more about the Moot, please go to the Icelandic website where you'll find out what the Moot is, why it happens and the core objectives. It's worth taking a look. Scouts don't just get to go to these events. Each event has to meet objectives. Scouts who want to go, have to apply and be selected by their country representatives. Then they have to pay or fundraise to get themselves to the camp. It's hard work, but it is so worth it!

My experiences

I was lucky enough to be asked to join the CMT in late 2015 as support to Kay Rigby, who managed to communications to the contingent. My main job - website. I'm not a developer, or particularly creative when it comes to websites themselves, but I do know Wordpress, can do some CSS and have an inkling about how websites should work. Part of my job is to communicate effectively, so while having never worked with organising a contingent to attend an event like this, I was hopeful I could contribute.

UK CM(S)T all together before the Moot

One of the first things I learned when meeting with the rest of the CMT...there's a lot of work that goes into these things. Whether it's 650 or 4,000 Japan Jamboree, a core group of people is giving up many weekends and evenings just to get together to plan, let alone actually doing the work. I've been to two previous international events (Roverway 2012, World Scout Jamboree 2015), both as IST, but I didn't really appreciate what goes into the planning and execution of the events. As a Scout leader, I give up a lot of time to Scouting, but for some reason didn't think the CMT did the same. Bizarre, but hey, I've since learned.

I'm incredibly fortunate to have been able to work with this group of people. They're all wonderful, smart and I couldn't have imagined a better team to take all of us to the Moot.

Just some of the participants coming through the doors to the opening ceremony

Skipping over the next 18 months, the two briefing weekends, countless weekends and evenings...and we get to 21st July 2017 where we flew out to Iceland. Main mission: find the hostel, find the schools where the IST and participants would be, explore Reykjavik, remember to eat, do some more planning, look at the time and realise we need to sleep...repeat. The next few days were slightly busy, involving getting to the airports to meet the IST and make sure they got on the coaches to Reykjavik and to the schools where they'd be staying for a night. Helping with the pre-event and handing the IST over to the Icelandic organisers so that they could be trained. This was leading on to getting the participants from the airport and schools!

Oh and I had to go to hospital because I got bitten in the UK and it went nasty...fun fact, without an EHIC it costs 62,000ISK (£450) just to get checked by a doctor. Don't worry, it's only £45 with an EHIC. Luckily my parents managed to send me a picture of mine as I'd left my card at home...

Full credit goes to whoever's picture this is. Well done on the picture by the way...

In the middle of all of this, those of us in the CMST who had additional roles (me, Kay, Paul and Jemma) had to get some training. The first training was the most important. Not because of the general introduction to Iceland and what we'd be doing, but because we got a free lunch box! It compacts and everything :D

So I've written quite a lot and I haven't even got to the start of the Moot yet. That's slightly embarrassing..! Hey, if you've read this far, then you'll probably read part two whenever I write it. I promise it'll be about the Moot, Skaftafell, Tribe Scoutafell, returning to Úlfljótsvatn and the end. Hang in there.

Part two. Same goes for this link as way up there