At the end of a busy afternoon attending different preparatory sessions and various network meetings, everybody left the Conference venue. It was time to celebrate.
Representatives of Guidisme et Scoutisme en Belgique, led by its President, Laurent Geeraerts, as well as members of the two
Regional Committees, members of World and other Regional committees, and invited guests were hosted by the Mayor of the City of Brussels at the reception held in the city’s magnificent town hall on Grand Place. Pascale Lejeune, Head of the Youth in Action Programme at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, was invited to address the participants. Recalling fond memories of his days as a Cub Scout and Rover in France, stressed the importance of youth participation and volunteering and the particularly valuable contribution made by Scouting and Guiding to social development. There followed an excellent opportunity for informal talks with the speaker and other guests.
Remaining participants of the conference had discovered parts of the city centre while walking to the Horta Gallery, where the 440 Scout and Guide leaders from around Europe gathered for the official opening ceremony of the Conference.
Wishing participants a great conference and five memorable days Laurent Geeraets introduced Mr Karel De Grucht, Belgian representative in the European Commission, who shared his thoughts on embracing change and volunteering. A blaze of colourful lights and music announced the start of the opening ceremony and a great performance of Belgian Scouts and Guides was the evening’s first highlight, involving audience participation and a symbolic raising of the flags of Belgium, WAGGGS and WOSM.
The Chairmen of the European Guide and Scout Committees, Fabiola Canavesi and Craig Turpie emphasised the conference theme of “No Limit” with it vision of big ideas for future actions, and express their wish that this would inspire all participants and their organisations. With the traditional hit on the lectern of the conference’s gavel Fabiola and Craig formally declared the conference opened.
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Some photos from the 17th July:
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