What Happens At A HOC Meeting?
This summer we accompanied some of the members of the CMT (Contingent Management Team) of the UK Contingent to Iceland for the HOC (Head of Contingent) meeting in preparation of the 15th World Scout Moot. Over 40 people attended from 22 different countries and a great informative time was had by all.
We have attended a number of these visits through the years and they are key in the successful delivery of an international event. What is incredible to see is the enthusiasm from all the volunteers helping to make the event happen – it really is like having two full time jobs but only one pays the bills!
After spending the day darting around Reykjavik and the surrounding area scouting out potential venues for UK Contingent programme we headed to the main bus station where we congregated with all the other HOC’s. The event organising committee were easily spotted in their bright orange t-shirts and jackets and we were greeted with a detailed information pack and a smiling face.
We headed out to venue of the 15th World Scout Moot – Ulfljótsvatn Scout Centre (approximately 1 hour outside Reykjavik) where after putting up our tents we met up for dinner in the IST canteen. Most HOC meetings coincide with an event, in this case the Icelandic National Jamboree so you are able to see the site facilities and activities functioning first hand.
The first evening everyone came together for a welcome meeting where we met all the key members of the organising committee along with their version of Bear Grylls – their Chief Scout Bragi Björnsson and João Gonçalves the President of WOSM. It was great to hear these inspirational people talk about Scouting and international events – it definitely makes you realise how much of an important part you play in changing Scouts lives for the better!
After a night under canvas trying to sleep in the continuous daylight, as it never gets dark during the summer months in Iceland we were treated to a day trip to see some of the expedition centres. The Icelandic hospitality was first class – there were people to meet us wherever we stopped to show us around, we even had lunch with the mayor at the town hall in Selfoss. We also had a whistle stop tour of some of the key Icelandic sights we passed on the way around. Their countryside is incredible, from Gulfoss waterfall to Þingvellir National Park there are ‘Kodak moments’ wherever you look. We were even treated to a quick dip in a naturally heated geothermal swimming pool an experience that all participants will get when they visit next year. When we returned back to Ulfljótsvatn we were taken on a guided tour of the event site where we were shown everything from sub camp sites to activity centres. You will be pleased to know that there is abundance of hot water even on their campsites.
The next day we were based at the event site, where we had a number of workshop sessions to discuss all aspects of the event – we really did discuss everything. It was great to have a cross section of countries represented, as they say two heads are better than one, or in this case a lot more heads!
Just to give you an indication of how important this event is to Iceland and its Scouting population, we were invited to a VIP reception which was attended by the President of Iceland. It really is a big deal to them – they can’t wait to showcase Iceland to the rest of the world and this is evident in their meticulous planning.
To end the weekend, we all attended the closing ceremony of Landsmot Skata, their national jamboree. The HOC’s event took centre stage to introduce the Moot to the crowd. After just 48 hours everyone came together as life-long friends to perform a song ending the with iconic Icelandic football fan clap! Take a look at this performance on our Travel Places Scouts Facebook page.
Icelandic Scouts are definitely ready to welcome the world to Iceland next year – they are super organised and their warmth and hospitality, along with incredible countryside will have a lasting positive effect on everyone that attends the 15th World Scout Moot.
We can’t wait to head back next year – we will see you there!
Scout Department Manager
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