Camps, Theme Days & Expeditions

Camps and other full day or weekend activities are an excellent opportunity to focus on Uganda and to have a go at many of the programme ideas in these webpages.

Programme Ideas

1. Ugandan camp

You could try spending a whole weekend camping 'Ugandan style'. If you want to do this properly, you will need to plan carefully.

In previous sections there is information about how to build Ugandan shelters (for tents) and some recipes of typical Ugandan food. Remember that if you want to really experience Ugandan camping, you will have to fetch and carry water from over a mile away, to dig your own latrines and to use only fresh food (no tins or packets). You could learn songs and dances from Uganda, make typical handicrafts, invite speakers to promote discussion on certain issues and prepare a banquet at the end for parents and friends to show off your Ugandan cuisine.

2. Theme days, evenings

Take one of the issues in this book for example AIDS, water, immunisation, homelessness, developing world debt or tourism, and use it to develop a whole evening or day of programme ideas. You could have a quiz night to test knowledge on the chosen theme or have different bases, which people go to in rotation, taking part in an activity at each one. Why not hold a District Venture Scout evening in order to play the 'trading game'. Or invite a speaker from UNICEF, Oxfam, Shelter or any other relief agency to explore some of the issues in greater depth?

3. Global development village

If you are taking part in a larger camp at District or County area level, you should consider having a 'global development village' at the camp. This is an idea, which was first tried out at the World Scout jamboree in Korea 91 but could easily be scaled down for your own District and County area camps. It is also an activity which Venture Scouts could run at District or County area Scout camps.

The 'global development village' is a village that you create, which comprises educational activities, games and workshops so that participants become more aware of global problems and how they can help to make the world a better place. The 'village' should have real life elements to give it character for example:

  • a cafe (where discussions can take place, and sing songs).
  • a cinema (for short videos about Uganda/ UNICEF).
  • an educational centre (for learning about the UNICEF Immunisation and AIDS awareness programmes).
  • a market (for making Ugandan handicrafts, tasting Ugandan food, listening to music and so on).
  • a town hall for discussions with political representatives on certain issues.
  • a theatre to see performances relating to health and the environment.

The above are examples only, many other options could be explored such as a hospital, a factory, or a radio station, and restaurant. It all depends on how many willing Leaders you have to run the 'village'!

A visit to the 'global development village' should involve a stop at all parts of the village (depending on the number of participants, this may need to be carefully timetabled). The village should make people think but should also involve lots of fun and active activities. It should be situated at the centre of the camp and can involve as many or as few props and people as you like. Try to involve outside parties such as Oxfam, UNICEF, the Red Cross, World Wide Fund for Nature, and the such like who can help with posters, videos, activity ideas and maybe even people who will help to run some of the activities!

4. Close Encounters of the Useful Kind

All this talk about other countries,

understanding other people and their culture may inspire you to want to take part in an overseas exchange visit of some sort. That's great! But STOP just for a short while and consider the following questions:

1. Is your understanding of people of other races, cultures and nationalities based on:

  • What you learned at school?
  • What you read in the papers?
  • What you see on TV?
  • What you know from your friends (are they white, black/Asian or people from other continents)?
  • What you see or experience in your own community?
  • Your own experience of living overseas?
  • Holidays abroad?

2. How much does your Unit know about the experience, culture, attitudes and faith of black and Asian people living in Britain?

If you have been forced to admit a large degree of ignorance about people of other cultures, then you should read the following section on the benefits and pitfalls of youth exchanges. Before you charge off to organise your own overseas exchange, examine what you are really hoping to achieve!

First of all, why have overseas exchanges?

Overseas exchanges are not glorified holidays. They are a source of 'education without materials'. Education not only for those Unit members who travel to another town or country, but also for your families and Scout Groups who are involved. The aims of a real exchange can therefore be summarised as:

  • To expose the participants, hosts and guests to one another, so that a process of mutual learning and appreciation can take place.
  • To forge some permanent links between ordinary people of different cultures and/or countries and faiths.
  • To enable all participants to recognise their inter-dependence, and to appreciate the rich variety and complexity of our different societies

But beware of the pitfalls:

  • Visits from Britain to (poorer) countries are opportunities for learning. But beware those
    who argue that 'all travel is a broadening experience'. Overseas visits of the 'tourist' kind can simply reinforce arrogant, patronising attitudes towards people of other cultures. 'Do you know, the babies were sleeping in orange boxes! "They don't even have flush lavatories."They have such strange customs ... and their food!'
  • It is relatively easy for large 'tour parties' to visit poor countries. We tend to be less enthusiastic about enabling parties of a similar size to come to Britain from these places as our guests.
  • Overseas visits have a certain glamour.

Young people and their parents are often ready to make great sacrifices in order to participate. An exchange between Scout Groups in some predominantly black inner-city areas of Britain and those in rural or suburban areas may be less attractive at first sight. But it is an equally important area for any Unit considering taking part in an exchange.

However to make sure that your youth exchange avoids these pitfalls, the following information may be helpful:

Where to Begin

1. Start your thinking and planning in good time (between 18 and 24 months before you want the visit, incoming or outgoing, to take place). Consider your aims carefully.

2. Make contact with a suitable partner group. This can be difficult. It calls for careful thought, tact and (gracious) persistence. Contacts may be made in a variety of ways - such as through your Scout Group, or through friends with overseas links; but useful help and advice on this and other aspect of youth exchanges can be obtained from one of the organisations listed below. For Scout contacts in another country, ask your Assistant County area Commissioner (International) for help or contact the International Department, Baden-Powell House, Queen's Gate, London, SW7 5JS, tel: 071 584 7030.

3. Exchange letters with your partner group, in which both sides share the aims and expectations with which they are approaching the visit.

4. Consider carefully with your partner group whether you want the incoming or outgoing visit to take place first. As strong cases can be made for either, and you must not assume that the outgoing visit is the most important one. More people can be involved and greater interest often aroused in the incoming visit.

5. Consult your partner about the numbers in each party. Several factors apply here:

  • Your partner group may need a lot of help, such as with travel costs. Unless your exchange is to be very unbalanced, your Group will have to share responsibility for fund-raising for both outgoing and incoming visits.
  • Real 'encounter' must be the purpose of your exchange; so decide from the start to restrict numbers drastically. It is difficult to prevent large groups becoming 'tour parties'. Experience suggests that six plus a Leader is an ideal number. Ten is probably the maximum.
  • The visits should be completely reciprocal, so both groups must be the same size.

6. For further advice about the next stages in planning your exchange such as information on budgets, dates, programme, health precautions, briefings and so on write to one of the following:

Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council 18 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1AA
(Tel. 071 353 3901 ).

The Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges
Seymour Mews House, Seymour Mews, London, W1H 9PE
(Tel. 071 486 5101).

The Methodist World Affairs Youth
25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR (Tel. 071 935 2541)

Christians Abroad
15 Tufton Street, London, SWI (Tel. 071 222 2165).

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