Early this spring I was contacted by a aquintance who was going to recieve a visit from an Australian family. He is a confirmed bachelor, and was a bit worried how to entertain the ten-year-old in the family, but knew that the girl was a Cub and her mother a Cub leader. I put him in contact with one of our other leaders, who I knew had been Down Under, and I thought might be interested in trying to arrange something. We figured that Cubs would be slightly to young, as their English isn't that good yet, so the younger scouts were invited on a short hike and sleepover.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to go, but it was reported that all had a great time, even though it rained on the lightweight shelters, they had to fight off mosquitoes the size of aeroplanes, one or two wasps and quite a few flying ants, and now we have a great, new mascot: A cuddly Aussi Roo, with a cork hat and a lovely necker with Aboriginal artwork on it!
I'm sure we'll stay in touch somehow, and I look forward to getting the opportunity to fight of some Aussi mossies at some point!
Tomorrow term starts for most children in this little town, and most schools in the country start sometime around this time. For some it's a greater change than others, moving up from one stage to another, both in school and scouts. The daughter of a good friend, who is a very talented musician, has been accepted to a music sixth form in Gothenburg, almost an hour and a half away. My friend has been looking to find lodgings for her, but it's not easy as Gothenburg is a popular place to live, and you nessecarily don't want to house a 16-year-old in any crummy flat, or room, to fend for themself for the first time. She was at her wits' end when she went to pick her younger daughter up from summer camp, and found herself sharing a table at the farwell feast with a family from Gothenburg.
-I thought I might as well ask, she says. The greatest risk I took was getting a no for an answer.
Instead, she came home with an adress and new friends. Their oldest daughter had just flewn the nest, and their youngest is a year younger than my friends daughter.
-And it feels safe. They're lovely people, and as they are scouts I know what values and standards they have. I'm sure it will be great!
In scouting we have a great web of contacts. As any contacts they are not to be abused, but do not hesitate to make use of them! The only thing you are risking, asking for a favour, is getting a no. And most people are willing to lend a hand if they can, because we know we'll get a good turn back - at some point.