Eurosea 1 Conference 14-18 September 1985: Thessaloniki, Greece Summary

Eurosea 1 Conference 14-18 September 1985: Thessaloniki, Greece Summary

This Seminar was organised directly by the European Region. The planning committee was Patrick McLoughlin, European Scout Region Executive, Michael Papatheodoulou and Vassilis Kalfopoulos (Soma Hellinon Proskopon), Eoghan Lavelle (Scout Association of Ireland). The venue was the Sea Scout Base just outside Thessaloniki, where all the local Sea Scout Groups maintain their boats. There were 42 participants from 22 associations in 13 countries.
The main aim of the first seminar was to explore the definition of Sea Scouting in the different associations. It was a good exercise to introduce Sea Scout Leaders to each other and for them to discover Sea Scouting in each others’ associations with all the differences in organisation, training, weather and climate, geographical conditions and local practices and traditions. Various topics were presented, followed by discussion groups and plenary report-backs. Sea Scouting in the host country, Greece, was an important item and one half day was devoted to practical sailing in the traditional Sailing craft used by the Greek Sea Scouts.

There were presentations on Training for Adult Leaders, with particular stress on the ways in which leaders were trained and assessed for boating qualifications – eg. Charge Certificates or Certificates of Competence, etc. A presentation on Canoeing was unexpectedly popular because in some countries canoeing was not perceived to be part of Sea Scouting.

The Regional Executive, Patrick McLoughlin, told the Seminar about a new project being considered by the European Committee – a European Water Activities Centre in Spain. He asked the assembled Sea Scout Leaders to consider the possible development of this project, with particular reference to the Water activities programme and the equipment requirements for the centre. After considerable discussion a fairly detailed provisional list of suggestions was made.

Another subject discussed was to appear again on the agendas of later Seminars – the problems of adolescents, and the possibilities or probabilities of retaining adolescents longer with a good sea programme.

The social part of the programme included an International Evening and also a Market Place where each country presented a display of its own Sea Scouting. Some Greek history and culture was also included in a visit to the Museum where the discoveries from the excavation of the Verbena tomb site were displayed. These related to Philip II of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great.

In summary, the participants at the first seminar learned about Sea Scouting in each others countries, and started to think about Sea Scouting in an international context. The most important thing about this seminar was that it took place, and its great success was the unanimous conclusion that it should be repeated regularly. The Sea Scout sections in the various associations have benefited over the years from the exchanges of information and programme ideas, comparisons of craft and the development of personal friendships which have occurred at these seminars.

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