We asked two of our Venture Scouts to record their experiences at Roverway. Here’s Andy’s report
I first heard about Roverway at Ventect last year. I thought it would be cool to see scouting at an international level. It would be my first international camp. My friends and I began fundraising for the trip in September. To be honest when the time came to head for the airport I wasn’t really excited because I thought it was going to be like every other camp I had been on. How wrong was I!
We left the grey, wet skies of Ireland for the sunny Helsinki on the 19th. We had the opening ceremony in the Olympic stadium which was fitting as London’s Olympics were going to kick off in a few days. The opening ceremony was amazing! There were scouts from all over the world. It was funny to hear different countries sing a song you know, just in a different language. After the ceremony we headed out on our paths. A path is a four day activity you take part in with your tribe (a tribe is made up of 6 patrols). In our tribe there were two Spanish patrols, one Swiss, one Portuguese, one Dutch and us (the Irish).
Our path was to experience Finnish life with the Forest Visitors. We got a bus to a forest about an hour outside Helsinki. Our leaders were really nice and always smiling. There was Pinja, Iris and Pippuri. We pitched our tents and began playing games to get to know everyone’s names. The four days we spent in the forest was so much fun. We usually got up at seven to raise the flag and then had breakfast. After breakfast we did activities like capture the flag in the woods or build a MOSS BEAR. After lunch we normally headed to the lake which was a short walk from our camp to cool off and clean ourselves. Dinner was always a hit and miss. There was salmon two nights which I didn’t eat and then we had reindeer which was delicious. It tasted like burger meat (and not like chicken which everyone was probably expecting!). My highlight of the path was on the last night when we were invested into the Forest Visitor group. We all got neckerchiefs which I am very privileged to have as Forest Visitors aren’t allowed to swap their neckers so you have to be a member to get one.
We headed for EVO the 24th. When we got there I was slightly awe stroke. It was like a little city in the woods. There was the main street which had all the cafés, shops and contingent tents. Off the main street were the sub camps and valleys. Valleys were activities you did each day and you had two valleys a day. There was Rover Momentum, Creative Corner, Forest Fun, Aqua Arena and Live Your Life. My favourite parts of EVO were the festivals at night. It was like a mini Oxygen. Everyone was packed into a field and there were people crowd surfing and going crazy. One night we had to write a message and put it in a balloon as part of Loverway. We the music started we had to throw the balloon up in the air and keep them up. It made some great photographs seeing literally thousands of balloons in the air. When the music stopped you had to pop a balloon and read the message. My message read “hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but I love you!” .
Leaving EVO was hard. We had made so many great friends and had gone through the whole Roverway journey together. We all promised to go to the next Roverway in France and If we are lucky we might all be in the same tribe again! I think every scout, venture and rover should go to an international camp if they get the chance. It gives you a whole new perspective on scouting when you talk to scouts from around the globe. I think I am a better scout because of Roverway and can’t wait till France!
By Andy O’Carroll