Our second Gilwell weekend started already on Thursday, when we started our 5 hour drive towards Flen and Sparreholm, slightly tired after a days work, but full of anticipation and singing along with sixties hits and ABBA-songs on the car stereo. We arrived in the dark, to find the lodge warm and welcoming, already full of life. We helped make the bread for the Friday breakfast, before we went to bed.
Non violent communication
Before dinner we were given half an hour's solitary reflection. I took a lantern and took a walk in the nearby woods. I lost the path in the dark, but as I never lost my barings I still enjoyed the walk, though it got slightly adventurous, climbing over rocks and sliding down the hillside to the bigger path along the lakeside. I saw fresh roedeer hooves' marks in the snow, and the lights from Rockelstad castle across the bay. It was beautiful!
After dinner we met our mentors for evaluation of the between time and the tasks we had been set. Then we spent the rest of the evening, socialising and using our hands, making leather covers for our books among other things. The cooks had made us carrot cake for evening tea, and there was a happy little log fire crackling in the big fire place in the hall.
After starting off outside with more group dynamics and practical discussions we had another quiet half hour to ourselves to reflect, this time in daylight. I walked along the waterfront and found the little beach, where the jetty usually is in the summer. The ice lay still underneath the thin snow cover, and I sat down on a rock a little bit out on the lake, looking across the bay at the castle, that now was clearly visable, with it's farmhouses, barns, boathouses and lawns sloping down towards the lake. It was crisp and still, and for some reason I started thinking about the Mumin trolls...
Lunch was organised as a competition: In our groups we were given some sausage, an onion, and a few other bits and pieces. On a table were then layed out a collection of vegetables, spices, pasta and other condiments. Our task was to cook a two course meal on our Trangias, for ten people, and to present a helping to the jury for evaluation. When I saw the beetroots and the fresh lemons I had an idea for the starter, that I communicated to my group. Marie, a chemist at one largest pharmaceutical companies in the world volonteered to make the starter, and as "sixer" I took the task of co-ordinate the cooking. Two minutes before time we delivered a THREE course lunch for evaluation: A starter consisting of grated beetroot, sauteed in balsamic vinager, served on a lettuce leaf with a dollop of greek yoghurt with lemon rind, a main course that we named sausage cassarole and pepper symphony, a colourful dish with reds, yellows and orange colours, creamy and mild, as one of us can't handle hot spices very well. As a desert, we served fried apple rings with cinamon and sugar, with marengue crumbs. And we WON! Then we had a thought provocing walk, discussing symbols and ceremonies, how to use them and how to make them meaningful and inclusive. We had some time to prepare the theme for the evening: Spirituality. We had a wonderful group discussion about our definition of spirituality, faith, or lack of the same. Together we found that to us LOVE and respect is the essence of spirituality.
We had another lovely three course meal, a filled chicken breast as main course, cooked by our excellent kitchen crew, before we went outside to try and visualize our views for the others. We found a lovely clearing close the lodge, and put lanterns out in a heart shape. Then we got some soft reindeer hides and sleeping mats and laid them out on the ground. We lay down to try our installation. Softly, we talked about the wonders of nature, listening to the ice on the lake singing, watching the stars in the deep, black sky above us. Nobody really wanted to go inside, even though it was almost -5.
The cooks had made us semla for evening snack, and we went to bed, filled with inner piece and sweet weat bun and cream.
There are very few situations where you can find 40 adults playing tag in the snow, laughing and having fun, tumbling around like children, having fun. The youngest on the course is 24 and the oldest member of the Gilwell team is in his 70ies, and we all gave our heart and soul in the game!
The Sunday program was to be about children with special needs and how to meet those needs in scouting. Although all of us agreed that scouting should be open for everyone, there was a collective sense of frustration as we don't have the resources to care for everyone, and many had experienced loosing members due to one or two very difficult children. We never found a good answer to how to deal with these situations, but the discussion took us forward nevertheless.
After a light lunch we travelled back, filled with energy and thoughts, already looking forward to the third and last weekend in May.