It may have been raining in Brussels last week but this didn’t dampen the spirits of the Guide and Scout volunteers taking part in the European Youth Forum Convention on Volunteering, taking place between 7 and 10 September in the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Parliament.
The Convention was organised against the background of the European Year of Volunteering, bringing together volunteers, youth and other civil society organisations including WAGGGS and WOSM, to discuss a rights-based approach to volunteering and to develop a common declaration on the Rights of the Volunteer. WAGGGS took part in the opening plenary, outlining some of the issues faced by volunteers active in Guiding and Scouting, such as lack of time for voluntary activities or the need for better recognition of skills and competences gained through volunteering.
For the second part of the convention, YFJ member organisations and other organisations interested in volunteering took over the esplanade in front of the European Parliament to build a Volunteer Village, with stands displaying information and organising workshops on different aspects of volunteering. Following the opening of the V-Village on 8 September, we were honoured by HRH the Princess Mathilde of Belgium, as well as representatives of the European Commission the following day, when they visited the village. WAGGGS and WOSM joined together with Guiding and Scouting in Belgium to present the Guide and Scout path to volunteering, where participants could learn and experience the different voluntary activities and responsibilities of Guide and Scout leaders.
WAGGGS and WOSM also organised workshops on the recognition of skills and competences gained through volunteering, recruiting and retaining volunteer leaders, the contribution of volunteering to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and on the OECD Better Life Initiative, organised by WOSM together with the OECD.
Through these different activities at thie Convention, we were able to make the voice of Guiding and Scouting heard at this landmark event to celebrate the European Year of Volunteering!
Picture 2: Guide and Scout volunteers taliking with HRH the Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Picture 3: Workshops organised by WAGGGS and WOSM