We’re always excited about working to boost the international travel experiences of Scout and Guide groups. And are always grateful to hear from your trips abroad with us.
Which is why it was great to catch up with Brian Hobden, party leader of Royal Tunbridge Wells Scouts, to find out about his group’s international adventure in Kandersteg, Switzerland.
What Inspired Your Group’s International Adventure?
‘We often speak to our members being part of the worldwide family of Scouts, and that’s as far as it goes.
Apart from every four years – when we select two young people to represent the District at the next World Scout Jamboree – international scouting does not really feature in any significant way.
And it was after such a selection event that we decided to offer International Scouting for all – but where to start?’
Why did You Choose a Trip Operator?
‘Our volunteers are busy people, often having two or more roles in Scouting as well as being involved in other organisations. Plus, there’s their employment and family lives.
And it was clear organising an international trip for a large number of people was a difficult task, which none of us wanted to take it on. So, after a little research, we contacted Venture Abroad, who really took the headache out of the organisation side of the trip.’
What did You Want the Group to Get Out of an International Trip?
‘A true international experience where our young people could mix with Scouts from other countries, adventure outside of the UK and see a different part of the world.
And within a few hours of us being in Kandersteg, the group were playing football with Scouts from across Europe.’
How did You Find the Organisation in the Lead Up to Your Trip?
‘Venture Abroad quickly identified Kandersteg International Scout Camp as an ideal location. Then, after a bit more research, it was evident that lots of groups undertake their own planning and organisation to visit the village from the UK, but we simply did not have the time.
But, we need not have worried as, in a nutshell, Venture Abroad took care of everything. All the travel arrangements, catering equipment and all we had to do was gather the numbers and organise payments.
And VA helped there too by providing an easy-to-use presentation which we were able to adapt for our needs to show young people and their parents the plans for the event.’
How did You Find the Support out in Kandersteg?
‘We were greeted by the VA rep on site with our tents and lunch ready! Which made us the envy of other groups who had organised their trip themselves and then had to pitch tents and organise food.
Our rep, Lewis, spent time with the leadership team explaining the site and showing us round. Everything was so easy.
Also, Lewis was on-call the whole week and accompanied us on some trips – such as the trip to the Jungfraujoch. Here, some of the train changes may have been a little complex with a party size of 51, but Lewis provided lots of useful advice throughout.
And when one of our members needed hospital treatment (nothing serious thankfully) Lewis was again on hand and accompanied us to the hospital to ensure we found it OK.’
How would You Sum Up Your Experience?
‘From my perspective, the trip was an outstanding success. A few young people have stayed members of Scouting and are now progressing into leadership roles purely as a result of the trip.
Having completed the experience with VA, would I be tempted to go it alone next time?
No! The first thing we did when we got back was book for four years’ time. It was an international trip to remember, which for us was only possible with the help and expertise of Venture Abroad.’
Your Next Trip?
Thanks for speaking with us Brian and letting us know how much you enjoyed your VA adventure.
And if you want to explore KISC or any of our awesome destinations for your next scout or guide trip, call us today.