HP Field Visit to Iceland

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Eighteen members of the Honours Programme gathered in Iceland (from 29.09 to 02.10.2016) for the 4th HP Field Visit.

The aim of these Field Visits is to give Members of the Honours Programme an insight and an indepth experience how World Scouting benefits from the donations received from over 2'300 Baden-Powell Fellows. As with every Field Visit there was a project that the participants supported. The Aurora Solidarity Operation of the World Scout Moot (supporting Rover Scouts from less developed countries to attend) will be supported with a donation of just under US$20'000. The Field Visit generated in total an additional accumulated donation for World Scouting of around US$85'000.

The National Scout Organisation of Iceland or Bandalag íslenskra Skáta (BiS) has 3'500 members on a total population of just over 300'000 and thus forms an important part of society and plays an important role in the daily live of the population. With thanks to Bragi Björnsson - Chief Scout of Iceland - and his staff we were able to learn about 3 major projects the Scouts are involved in:

  1. The Green Scout Project: this is a business unit of BiS and is a major party in the recycling of glas, plastic and metal in Iceland. Numourus collection points are available around the country. The bussiness unit uses mainly unemployed and less abled people for the day to day business, with the aim to bring them back (or prepare them) for a full role in working live - the results are very encouraging. The annual surplus of the business unit (around US$100'000 and growing) flows directly to BiS supporting the development of Scouting in lesser populated areas of Iceland.
  2. Solheimar: was established in 1930 and is now a world renowned sustainable community with 100 residents, who are very diverse, including disabled people, long-time unemployed people, prisoners and long-term patients. Scouting has played an important role here since 1930 and the current Scout Group consist of over 50 members of which the majority are Scouts with special needs.
  3. The Search & Rescue Teams of Iceland: over 80 years ago one of the Scout groups had frequently been called upon in the previous years to assist authorities when their alpine and mountain­eer­ing skills were needed in incidents involving lost and/or injured people. Now 80% of all members of the Search & Rescue are either active Scouts or alumni Scouts. The biggest base and oldest team is in Reykjavik.

We also had the privilige to be received by the new President of Iceland, HE Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who is also the Patron of BiS. The visit was used to brief the President on World Scouting, the role that BiS plays in World Scouting and the importance of the World Scout Rover Moot which will take place in Iceland in 2017.

Last but not least the Field Visit was used to gather government officials and CEO's of nearly all major businesses for a seminar on a Scouting and leadership development. Three inspiring keynote speakers, 2 alumni Scouts and Icelandic business owners and Lars Kolind, shared their experiences to an audience of 60 participants. The feedback from the Chief Scout is really encouraging as many of the participants are now interested in discussing their support to BiS and the World Scout Moot.

A selection of pictures of the Field Visit can be found here.