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In August, seven rovers and scout leaders of the Brazilian Guides and Explorers Association – AG&E (Associação Guias e Exploradores do Brasil – AG&E), had the big joy to participate in Euromoot 2019 of UIGSE-FSE.

Together we formed the Don Bosco Clan and hiked along the Saint Benedict’s path in the High Mountains. We have had a unique twinning experience with three other clans (Italy, Slovakia, and Mexico), and especially with Monsignor Cyril Vasiľ – SJ, who was our spiritual adviser and made the route with us. Impossible to tell the experiences of Euromoot in a few lines: You cannot tell the road, you have to live it! However, we would like to highlight three points that marked us during this very special summer road: the humility of an archbishop, the strength of youth, and the experience of unity.

Some highlights:

  • To celebrate the holy mass with rovers from so many other countries
  • To learn that hierarchy is not power, but service!
  • To walk a whole day under the rain and to see how full of attention and care the rovers had for each other
  • To visit the sanctuary of Subiaco and to visit the Monastery of Saint Benedict, guided by Mgr. Cyril Vasil
  • To arrive in a camp with more than thousand rovers and senior guides after a hard day of climbing in the mountains
  • To be enthusiastically welcomed and greeted by European brothers and sisters who were so happy and surprised to meet scouts from Brazil!
  • To have a fantastic camp fire with 1200 persons from fifteen countries
  • To meet the Holy Father Pope Francis together with 5000 other rovers and senior guides in Rome! How not to get emotional!

We are not yet members of the Federation of European Scouting, but after the Euromoot, we are more than ever convinced that that is what we want! We had several moments of physical exhaustion, but seing our European brothers still singing, smiling, playing games gave us a much deeper understanding of scouting: to become and to be men and women always ready to serve.

Our reality in Brazil is different from Europe. We have spaces of significant material poverty, slums, and outskirts, and we suffer from a lack of security, we have many ultra-urban regions far from any reference of nature, etc. We feel that our mission is to bring our scouting, as a path to a happy and healthy life, to people in all these realities, preparing scouts and guides to undertake this mission. FSE scouting is a a search for a true Christian way of life, a way of sanctifying ourselves: We cannot keep this treasure for ourselves but should seek to share it with as many persons as possible! That’s our wish for scouting here in Brazil and everywhere!

Denis Duarte, president of AG&E

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The annual Youth Forum of the Polish Scouts of Europe took place on November 30th, 2019 in Warsaw. It is a conference weekend, with lectures and workshops on a variety of topics concerning the young people of our Catholic Scouting Association.

This year, the topics ranged from “Roman soul of Europe” and “Leader in action” to “More than words – about the meaning of our gestures”. It is the 14th time the leaders of the Polish Association organised the event for young people from all around the country and even Europe. The event is mainly advertised to the chiefs of the Association; however, guests are always warmly welcome! Continue reading

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On the last November weekend, the third edition of the Choir Workshop for singers and choir leaders took place in the little village of Sigüenza (Castilla-La Mancha), annually organized by the Spanish National Technical Team of Sound and Music. This year more than 60 unit leaders, pilots, rovers and senior guides tripled the 2017’s attendance, when the first edition was celebrated.

The activity started early on Saturday 23rd with the Lauds and the mass celebration. In the morning, the participants coming from Madrid, Toledo, Castellón, Catalonia and Lithuania (!) enjoyed, divided into groups, the first lessons focused on improving both singing and choir leading. Continue reading

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On 22-24 November 2019, twenty-eight chiefs from the Federation of North-American Explorers (FNE) gathered an hour southeast of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. These senior leaders represented fourteen FNE groups from two Canadian provinces and nine US states. Bruno Borde, Federal Commissioner of UIGSE, and Jean-Luc Angélis, UIGSE Assistant to the Federal Commissioner for English-speaking Countries, were also in attendance, to offer their leadership and support. Why? The FNE was holding their first Assembly! As a young, thriving, and growing Association, it was time for us to reflect on our history, where we are today, and where we want to go in the future.

The history of the FNE started with its founding on 10 August 1999 with only ten members, and was first named The Association des Éclaireurs Baden-Powell (AEBP). Sadly, the AEBP terminated its union with FSE in 2007 which is when FNE founder Paul Ritchi advocated for a new FSE Association. Paul Ritchi’s vision was for a united North America that would remain in union with our older brother and parent movement, the FSE. This request was granted, and twelve years later, on 5 November 2011, the first group in the United States of America was established.

Due to legal reasons, we use the term “Explorers” in North America to describe our movement, a name that encompasses the same meaning as “scout” or “guide”. Explorers search and discover God in all creation. We explore the image of God in our fellow human and neighbour. We look for Him in the great outdoors. We find him in our Catholic faith that we have inherited primarily from Europe. And it is through this growth and exploration that our Lord reveals who we are as children of God.

At our First Assembly, we realized that we had overcome many challenges already, including legal struggles, liability insurance issues, and local group challenges. Although we continue to face new obstacles, FNE is growing, with new families joining every year and new groups sprouting up in Canada and the USA. It is a critical time right now, for us to be better organized so that we can prepare for and embrace the future.

Federal Commissioner Borde encouraged FNE, and reminded us, “We [UIGSE] are a movement, which means that we are all moving together.” Our FNE association proudly belongs to the UIGSE family. Mr. Borde also said, “You may feel small but you belong to a big brotherhood.” The bond that we have with our European scout brothers and sisters is essential, empowering, and inspirational.

We look to our European brothers and sisters with great hope and honour. Sometimes, we look with trembling and intimidation since we are their offspring and their history is so deep. We are facing the pains of growth and an unknown future. The Federal Commissioner reminded us to not be afraid: “Fear can prevent growth. Don’t be afraid of growth. We need to grow, to explore, to expand.” Through the affection and goodwill of Mr. Borde and Mr. Angélis, we find great strength under the wings of the UIGSE in Christ, like a child in the arms of her mother. We rely on our European counterparts most especially for pedagogical training, but also for smaller things such as assistance in translating booklets and music.

So, what is the future of FNE? What will our Association look like next year, in five years, in fifty years? We are preparing for more growth as we observe non-UIGSE scouting groups going through many changes, and watch new reactionary efforts come and go. Our commissioner and board leadership positions are nearly filled, including some who were elected at our Assembly. Finally, our Group Chiefs and Deputies are focusing their efforts on true scouting pedagogy while nurturing a sense of family. Sandy Polocz, General Commissioner for the Girls, said it well: “As you learn more, you want more.” Our chiefs and members are hungry for scouting. We want America to have this European scouting movement blow through our land and rest upon us. Thanks be to God for his many blessings for and protection of our FNE movement.