Gilwell Reunion – Reunion Express Live!

  • Reunion Express Summary Edition

    While we have loved running this blog, and we hope you have enjoyed it, we know its not quite the same as the printed article.
    Please enjoy this special summary edition. – click to read all 20 pages on Issuu


  • Scouts Own – a Chance to Reflect

    Scout’s Own. A moment of calm, a time to reflect on everything we’ve done together over the last weekend. Why we belong to this great movement, what binds us all together, what we have in common.

    These were Ayesha’s themes for Scouts Own this year, inspired by the late MP Jo Cox in her maiden speech to parliament: “we have more in common than that which divides us.”

    There are three things we all have in common as Scouts: our values, our promise and our scarf.

    Scarf. Necker. Neckie. So many different patterns and designs, it shows we belong to one family. Every scarf has a story, a reason for its being, and we heard five such stories today. From the tartans of Scotland to the wildlife of Brazil, every necker has a story to tell, a reason for being unique.

    Scouts are also connected by our values – the very fundamentals of Scouting. Each speaker this afternoon explored a different value, allowing us to reflect upon its importance.

    Our first speaker Andrew Sharkey, Chief Commissioner of Scotland, spoke on Integrity. “When we act with integrity, we inspire other people to the same. We are all role models for our young people and for each other.”

    Gee, an Scout Adventures volunteer at Gilwell Park, reflected on Respect. “Listening to each other is the best way to show respect. Just by listening to each other, you care about what they’re saying and you show them that they are welcome wherever they are. “

    Next, we heard from CJ, about caring. “When we each all show care and kindness, something truly remarkable happens: everyone around us feels better. We feel like we’re welcome, that we’re safe and we belong.”

    Craig Turpie, our Deputy UK Chief Commissioner (Transformation) was greeted to the stage to talk about belief. “Understanding our beliefs is one part of discovering our own identities […] Scouts is a safe place to be while we make these discoveries. It’s a place to belong; no judgement, no pressure and all the help we need to find our place in the world.”

    Last but not least we Marina Kruger, another Scout Adventures volunteer, spoke about cooperation. “When we cooperate, we make a really positive difference. We make friends, and that’s all Scouts is about, right? Teamwork.”

    Finally, of course, Scouts are connected by our promise, a celebration of the values we follow. As is traditional, attendees were given the chance to renew their promise, before bidding farewell to their friends and embarking on their journeys home.

  • Sunday Gallery

    Many of you partied the night away on Saturday and still you found Sunday was a day full of activities. We hope you had fun! Here’s some moments to remind you of the fun we had today!

  • WSJ25: Adding a Global Flavour to Scouting

    The UK Contingent were delighted at the turnout of their reception yesterday afternoon, with over 200 unit leaders, IST and even alumni from the 1991 Korean World Scout Jamboree attending. It was a great opportunity for attendees to meet up, helping to form a strong team to attend the jamboree a mere 333 days later. As UK contingent leader Liz Walker said, “whether you’re alumni, IST, unit leaders… whatever your part in all this, we are a team. And I think at each step of this journey we can work hand in hand to deliver our dream, but more importantly their dreams. As after all, dreams only come true when we come together.”

    One of the big themes for the meeting was facilitating the “unique opportunities that the jamboree has for young people” especially for those who aren’t able to attend the event in person. “We want to make sure that this isn’t just about people going to the jamboree, it’s about adding a global flavour to their Scouting.”

    As a part of this initiative, the team is creating pre-planned sessions, which are posted online every few weeks. The team are also planning an event called Dream:LIVE on the 6th August 2023 – an online event being run straight from Korea. It can be done individually or with groups. So be sure to follow the UK Contingent on social media for more information!

  • Inclusive Brunch with Flags
    In recent years there has been a lot of pressure in the wider world to make everything inclusive and accessible. We know that Scouting has long met this challenge offering a safe space for every member and volunteer to meet their potential and be engaged with the movement.
    The Brunch Reception on the Buffalo Lawn was hosted by the UK Inclusion Team with FLAGS SASU as their guest of honour.
    FLAGS not only offers a fellowship group for members of the LGBTQ community and allies but also encourages education on LGBTQ related issues. Offering support on inclusion and resources to share with youth sections. FLAGS has also been the catalyst behind The Scouts attending Pride marches up and down the country.
    Jake Orros, National Inclusion Team Manager, spoke to us about the reception. “It was amazing, we had over 100 people to Brunch this morning. It made it a really special celebration. I thanked everyone for coming and shared something of the journey FLAGS and The Scouts have been on. We attended our first pride in 2009 and year on year that has grown. This year we will attend 17 different pride events. We don’t just march, we run activity zones and family areas too.”
    Don’t forget if you have any questions or concerns contact the HQ Inclusion Team.
  • An interview with our new UK Youth Commissioner

    We had a chance to catch up with Ayesha Karim, the new UK Youth Commissioner, and Ollie Wood, her predecessor, after the handover yesterday afternoon.

    So Ollie, now that you’ve finished your time as UK Youth Commissioner, what would you say you are most proud of achieving in your role?

    “Probably three things. What we’ve done to support Youth Commissioners – I know that that’s made a difference to them. That we’ve created an indication and support system that’s worked really well. It’s been challenging but now it’s a great time for Ayesha to come in as everyone’s still resurging out.

    Second is the YouShape award as that was one of my early ideas. Previously we had YouShape month but we didn’t want people to think that Youth Shaped Scouting was just for February, but that it was something you do every month of every year. And so, to have an award that basically for all YouShape things for all sections in one place with a different section-specific award… it felt like a really good idea. We did some consultations and everyone supported it and eventually it launched last October and more than 100,000 people have taken part already!

    Finally, we created this national role pool as, when I first started, people kept coming up to me saying “Congratulations! By the way I need someone for this committee.” and I thought “I don’t know enough people, I only know a few people from my county!”

    We have this thing called the UK Rep Pool for international trips, for young people to represent UK Scouts, so I thought “Let’s create one of those for national roles” and so now we’ve had about 40 young people in national roles. Three of four of the last elected youth member trustees have come through the role pool, it’s pretty great!

    It certainly sounds like you’ve achieved a lot! So, now that the handover is complete, any final words of wisdom to pass along?

    Never underestimate the impact you can have just through one conversation with somebody, because whether that’s a young person who didn’t realise how big the world was beyond what they were used to in Scouts, or someone who might have been feeling a bit down – you can say just one thing that gives them some encouragement and you never quite know where that will lead to. But the more you meet people and the more you can expose yourself to difference places, the more impact you can have.

    And also, just enjoy it – it’s just a bit surreal sometimes when you stand in places like this and you meet all sorts of people and you’ve got to enjoy it along the way. It’s hard sometimes to just step back and take everything in.

    So, Ayesha, first of all congratulations on your new role. But tell us, what inspired you to apply for this role, especially given you weren’t a Youth Commissioner before?

    Yeah, so, I come from an area where we don’t have a district or county Youth Commissioner and like I’ve said before I came from a Muslim Scout group and Muslim Scouting is massive – there’s 8000 Muslim Scouts in the country in Muslim Scout groups – and none of those young people are Youth Commissioners! So even though in the communities where there are Youth Commissioners its had a massive impact, it hasn’t really translated over [to Muslim Scouting] and so until I was sent the information for this role by my Explorer Scout leader, I hadn’t even heard of a Youth Commissioner. My leader said “you’ve got to decide whether you want to apply for this by midnight” and I was like “ok, you know what, lets just go for it” and I sent it through within a couple of days and next thing I know I’ve got an email from Carl [Hankinson] saying to come to an interview and next thing I know I’m standing here! So it was a really whirlwind journey, but its been so much fun because even though Scouting has been such a big part of my life, I never realised just how much of it I wasn’t aware of and I think in a way being so fresh faced with this I will have a very different perspective which I think will be very impactful.

    So now that you’re here, what are your plans? What do you hope to achieve as the new UK Youth Commissioner?

    I mean, first of all I want to build upon the foundations that Ollie has already put in place. The YouShape award and its roll-out has been incredible. I don’t want to make any massive changes to the award yet as it’s still very much still rolling out nationally. Later down the line there will be chances for development but at the moment making sure that Youth Commissioners are rolling out the YouShape award because I think that the aim should be that every single member of Scouting should have it.

    I think that sometimes people think that Youth Shaped Scouting comes at the expense of something else like a certain badge. No, it’s the undercurrent through which all of Scouting should be run. Every single young person should be in charge of the programme in some way.

    Youth Commissioners – the work they do is incredible. And they do have a lot of support available to them but not all of them know how to access that support. And also the distribution of Youth Commissioners is not evenly spread across the country – I think those are the immediate goals at the moment.

    Is there anything you’re most looking forward to in this role?

    I think meeting a lot of new people. I’ve only just started branching out into national/international Scouting since the latter half of Explorers and, I’m only 19 so I’ve only done a few years of that, and so I’m still constantly meeting new people in scouting and this is the kind of role where I’m ging to be doing that constantly.

    And so finally, do either of you have any advice for young people wanting to get involved?

    Ollie: I would say for anyone who is thinking about taking on a local commissioner role – or even joining Ayesha’s team – you should do it. You only regret the things you didn’t do, not the things that you tried and sometimes it can feel a little bit daunting at first, that it’s a different environment to anything you’re used to but actually I think that the different challenges you’re exposed to, the different environments you encounter, they really go on to help you develop skills. So I think it’s an awesome role and it helps give us future leaders in Scouts.

    Ayesha: I would just say Scouting has had an impact in so many people and I would say to every young person: remember the impact its had on you and think okay, this has been my relationship with Scouts my whole life. I am in a new chapter of my life now, my needs are going to be changing, my capacities are going to be changing, so what can I do to stay involved in Scouts? You might have moved out for uni or got a new job, but there is always something you can take on. Just always keep an eye out for those opportunities and don’t be afraid to take them on.

  • What’s On Sunday

    After a busy Saturday you would be forgiven for thinking Sunday would be a day of rest. However, there is still plenty on offer.

    If you’re game you can kick of Sunday with some Zumba in the AGM marquee on the Branchet Field (this is a change of venue) training ground at 0900. Not your style, how about joining the Inclusion Team for Brunch with flags (BYOD) at 10.30 on Buffalo Lawn. Warhammer and Raspberry Pi will be back in the White House Barn, while Bushscout Skills Village will be open again if you are still working towards their special badge.

    The wide range of workshops continue to be on offer across site until 13.00 including the Gilwell Park Heritage Tour, leaving the White House Lawn at 10am and a session on the Money Skills Activity Badge in Jack Petchey Lodge at 11.45.

    If you don’t have to dash away do stay for Scouts Own on the Training Ground at 13.00 and take time to reflect on the Scouting year ahead surrounded by other volunteers.

  • Saturday Round Up Gallery

    It’s been an action packed day at Gilwell Reunion 2022

  • A History of Camp Chiefs and their woodbeads

    Gilwell Reunion has a long history, for over 100 years leaders have been gathering and learning at Gilwell Park. Initially as part of structured Wood Badge training courses, now our much loved Reunion is an opportunity to catch up with friends as much as it is an chance to learn.

    During last nights opening address this history of the Camp Chiefs wood badge was mentioned and we thought we’d add to it.

    The role or title of Camp Chief has always been held by a paid member of staff. Initially the Camp Chief was in charge of all Leader training, in 1923 this extended to being in charge of all Gilwell based activity.

    Officially the job of Camp Chief ended with John Thurman in the late 1960’s when it became an honoury title linked to the senior member of staff in charge of leader training.

    In the 1920’s Baden Powell awarded his Deputy Chief Scout, Sir Percy Everett with this own set of 6 wood beads to match the Chief Scouts own.  The beads were from the original necklace of Chief Dinizulu.

    In 1949 Everett gave his set of 6 wood beads to the then Camp Chief John Thurman to be passed to his successor in time.

    The original woodbeads were retired to the Scout Heritage Collection in 2015 and now a replica set of 6 beads is worn by the Camp Chief of the day.

    Whilst in the UK we are used to being awarded two beads when we complete our training, the Camp Chief’s set of six hold particular importance to our international brothers and sisters, who often still use 2, 3 and event 4 beads to identify their roles.

    Camp Chiefs 

    Captain Francis Gidney Camp Chief 1919 – 1923
    John Skinner Wilson Camp Chief 1923 – 1943
    R. F. (John) Thurman Camp Chief 1943 – 1969
    John Huskins Director of Leader Training 1969 – 1974
    Bryan Dodgson Director of Leader Training 1975 – 1983
    G. Hiscocks (acting) Director of Leader Training 1983 – 1984
    Derek Twine Executive Commissioner Programmes & training 1985 – 1995
    Stephen Peck Director of Programme and Development

    Director of Scouting Operations

    1995 – 2014

    2014 – 2015

    Ross Maloney Director of Scouting Operations

    Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO

    2015 – 2022
    Sam Morris Chief Volunteering Officer 2022 –

    You can find out more about the History of the Woodbadge on the Scouts Heritage Website.

    With thanks to the Scouts Heritage Service

  • Food, Glorious Food!

    Feeling peckish? Need a break from boil-in-the-bag rice and squashed sandwiches? Well luckily for you, the Food Village has you covered with a wide variety of choices. From Greek Souvlaki to freshly-cooked Italian, there’s bound to be something to tickle your fancy.

    Speaking to the Angus burger van team, our Scouting reputation rang true with the news that bacon sandwiches had been the most popular item on the menu this morning, while the bacon cheeseburger was the big seller last night. Why not branch out tonight and try the spicy chicken burger?

    There’s a wide variety of snacks on offer as well, from sweets to doughnuts. And of course there’s range of teas and coffees available from the coffee van. The slush stall is run by two families of Scouts and Guides, who have been coming to Reunion since 2016! Apparently the piña colada slush has proven rather popular so far, although this reporter can confirm that the freshly-cooked doughnuts were rather tasty as well, especially when served warm!

  • Scout AGM 2022 Gallery

    The Scouts AGM took place this morning. 
    Here’s a gallery of images from the meeting.

  • Walking with Chris
    As scouts we all love the outside and can’t resist an adventure. How many of us have had that conversation of “I’d like to walk the coast”, which bit?  “All of it!” Not many of us then? Didn’t think so. Meet Chris Howard otherwise known as Chris the Coast Walker. Chris is no stranger to adventures having rowed the Atlantic, Cycled across Europe and walked Northern India, to name but a few, however this latest adventure came when none us could adventure – Lockdown 2020. “I’ve always been an adventurer and at that time I could do little else.” At the end of July 2020 Chris left his wife and family and headed off on his epic adventure.  It would take 450 days of consecutive walking, with a break of almost four months due to the Welsh lockdown, seeing Chris finally officially home in March of this year. His walk wasn’t just to get out and have an adventure. Chris used his journey to share his passion for the environment as well as raise money for Children in Need. The early months of travelling, with Covid-19 restrictions still in place meant the walk was often isolated, as restrictions lifted there were more opportunities to see and interact with people. In the four month break, between Christmas 2020 and April 2021, Chris reached out and made more contacts with scout and youth groups. Sharing his experience and passion for our coast and environment with online talks. “The whole experience has become less about the places, our coast is stunning and there is so much to see, but it was the people. As restrictions lifted and people heard about the walk they started meeting me on the beach, offering me food, places to stay or even a night In a hotel with a meal”. Scout Groups, youth clubs, schools and individuals would meet Chris and either spend time litter picking or walking with him for part of the day. Chris’ adventures started in Scouts. “I am where I am now because of Scouts. The impact you as volunteers on young people is incredible and you need to know how important you are. Never underestimate the experience you are giving and the impact you have on the young people you interact with”. To date Chris has raised £42,500 for Children in Need but his “greatest achievement to date” is the The Conservation Award. Its Occasional Badge supported by Devon Scouts. You can find out more about the badge here. Chris is here at Reunion 2022 to share his experience as the Guest Speaker. You can hear Chris on the Training Ground this afternoon (Saturday) around 15:00 following the Youth Commissioners Handover. If you want to find our more about Chris, his adventures and his talks check out his website:
  • Brunch with Flags
    Not planning to be up with the lark tomorrow? Why not join Flags for Brunch on Buffalo lawn from 1030 on Sunday. The Inclusion team are hosting Brunch with Flags as the special guests. Cakes and Pastries will be provided. Bring your own Tea, Coffee or morning Orange Juice. If you are a member of the LGBTQ community or want to know more about how to support members who identify as LGBTQ check out the HQ inclusion team webpages
  • What’s on: Saturday

    Picture the scene: it’s Saturday morning and you’re in a field. You’ve partied the night away and awoken to the delicious smell of freshly cooked bacon. Sound familiar?

    But now what? With such a full timetable of activities and workshops, where do you even start? If you’re an “early-bird”, the activities team are opening up the Archery, Climbing and Leap of Faith from 9am.

    But if you’d rather a more leisurely start to the day, the range of workshops across site are opening at 10am. The Raspberry Pi and Warhammer workshops have set up in the White House Barn for all to explore, while the Buffalo Lawn will be alive with the sounds of samba drumming throughout the day.

    Later in the day of course we have our Drinks Reception on the training ground at 3pm (be sure to bring your drinks voucher!) following our AGM and Youth Commissioner handover in the AGM Marquee.

    This evening the AGM Marquee becomes entertainment central, with bingo starting at 6pm and the quiz starting at 8pm, while across the site the traditional Reunion Campfire starts at 7:30pm in the large campfire circle.

    And of course if none of that sounds appealing to you, the Queen’s Squiggy Woggle Pub will be open from 6pm, and the disco starts in The Lid at 8:30.

  • Friday Gallery

    A summary gallery of arrivals and opening on Friday night

  • Reunion: A Chance to Recharge
    It was to thunderous applause that Matt Hyde officially welcomed everyone to Reunion 2022 tonight, expressing how much of an honour it was for Reunion to be back at Gilwell once more. Welcoming participants both new and old, his speech quickly fell to the wayside in favour of finding out just who had attended Reunion the most. But following Matt’s introduction was Sam Morris, Chief Volunteering Officer and our new Camp Chief, following Ross Maloney’s departure to The Ramblers. As Camp Chief he reported that he was awarded six wooden beads, just as Baden Powell gave to Francis Gidney, the first Camp Chief of Reunion. But he stressed that Reunion was not about himself, rather that it’s about the participants, making friends and “learning something new along the way”. Next to take the stage was Carl Hankinson, our UK chief commissioner, and a heartfelt thank you for the exceptional work everyone has put in over the last couple of years. “We know that when we come together and get to know each other, that’s the magic of Scouting. That’s where it really works for us – that’s where it fuels the flames of Scouting.” Last but not least we were joined by Ollie Wood, UK Youth Commissioner (for the next few hours) with an encouragement to make the most of what Reunion has to offer. “Whether that’s in the bar or the workshops, we want you to get as much out of this weekend as possible.” **Edit Baden Powell presented Sir Percy Everett a set of 6 Woodbeads to match his own.
  • Welcome to Reunion!
    Welcome to Gilwell Reunion 2022! It’s been over 100 years since Baden Powell first called leaders back to Gilwell Park to renew their training, beginning the tradition that evolved into the event we know today. But now that we’re reconvening for the 96th time, we hope you’re looking forward to a weekend of activities, training and – of course – reunions with old friends. Over 2800 people have been streaming into Gilwell Park today from across the globe, trying desperately not to get lost, finding friends and remembering how awkward their tents are to pitch. Be sure to head over to the Training Ground at 8PM tonight for the Welcome, and of course look out for your volunteer media team across the site this weekend!
  • The Soundtrack to your Reunion
    Our friends at Scout Radio are returning to Reunion once again, broadcasting music, interviews, shoutouts and more live from Gilwell all weekend on 99.6 FM. Don’t have a radio? Fear not! Scout Radio also broadcast their coverage on the UK Radio Player app (available for Android or iOS) or to anywhere in the world via their website And of course, be sure to follow them on social media for more updates from the team.
  • Gilwell is getting ready for a great event!

    (Click images to enlarge)

    Everything is being spruced up, tidied and prepared – large marquees are mushrooming across the site to be ready for Reunion. There is a new entrance, new reception and the refreshments are being delivered and set up, as you can see.

    vital services are in…

    Scout Adventures staff are hard at work making sure all is ready – even the Promise Path is swept in preparation.

    We looking forward to seeing everyone and getting our bearings!

  • Reunion Express – goes digital!
    We hope you are looking forward to the return of Gilwell Reunion. We know we are. The much loved Reunion Express is trialling a new format this year. Instead of our sought after printed pages being published once a day from Friday to Sunday, we thought we’d join Scout Adventures in their sustainable approach with an online format. Keep an eye on Gilwell Reunion’s social media channels or check back here for regular updates and glimpses behind the scenes. Follow along for all updates on Twitter and Facebook: @GilwellReunion
  • Gilwell Reunion is back!
    We’re looking forward to providing content for Gilwell Reunion 2022, it’s going to be great to be back together at the home of Scouting! Gilwell Reunion Campfire