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Lithuanian Scouting is Fun!
Vydūnas Foundation's 'Skautų Aidas' - My Summer Camp Contest
Vydūnas Foundation is sponsoring a Skautų Aidas - My Summer Camp contest that ends September 12. There are several categories and age groups to enter. Monetary prizes will be awarded. Submit your entry for a chance to win! (Rules are in Lithuanian. Ask for help if you need a translation.)
"What can I do to help", asked the vilkiukas and vilkė (cub scouts, both boys and girls) from Vilnius? I handed them some cucumbers and tomatoes and asked them to wash them in the unspoiled Mera River. Then we began to chop them up and make a salad. Every few minutes a few more would join us, until we ran out of knives, cutting boards, and things to do. As I tried to explain to one vilkiukas, that there's nothing more to do, he suggested that he would hand me the tomato. How can I argue with that? He stood next to me and took a tomato out of the bowl and placed it on the cutting board. It was a simple task, but a great example of doing a good turn daily.
That's the type of wonderful scouts that I encountered during my visit to Lithuania in July. The leaders were 18-25 year olds, full of scout spirit. The scouts looked up to their leaders as big brothers and big sisters, and the leaders took their responsibility seriously. During every waking moment I saw how the leaders planned the program, conducted the activities, watched out for the scouts safety and wellbeing, played games, laughed, and most importantly - instilled a sense of right and wrong, of moral courage into their lives.
Some people vacation in Disneyland, other head for the beach, but I can't think of a better place to relax than at scout camp. I'm a scout-aholic, and in June and July I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend an extended period of time with Lithuanian scouts in Lithuanian and England. You'll be able to read more about my trip in an upcoming issue of "Skautų Aidas", but I want to provide a quick overview here.
Lietuvos Skautija (Lithuanian Scouting) - Vilnius regional camp and Indėniada
Indėniada - an Indian scout camp, in which tribes will compete for the honor of carrying the mystical Tomahawk trophy.
The younger and older scouts did not participate in the Indėniada activities, but camped in the usual way. They wore uniforms and shoes, not Indian clothing and moccasins. Everyone went on hikes, cooked food over an open fire, put up fences and gates, decorated their campsite, played various games, and sang songs during the day and around campfires. (The vyr. skautės (senior girl scouts) join into a circle of sisterhood sing at the conclusion of a campfire to end their day by singing a traditional song "Toli, Toli (Far, Far Away). You can listen to a group of 30 vyr. skautės at camp singing on YouTube. It was an unexpected treat to hear them sing in the sutartinė format, a highly unique example of folk music!)
I quickly felt a special warmth among the scouts, and asked the teens and older scouts why they continue to attend scout camp. Every one of them answered that they attend because their friends are scouts too. I interpreted this to mean that their best and closest friends are scouts. A significant number added that they felt a loving bond in scouting that they lacked in their "other" lives. They were scout-aholics, just like me.
Lietuvos Jūrų Skautija (Lithuanian Sea Scouts)
While visiting the Laisvalaikio Centras I had the opportunity to meet the Įgula (The Crew), consisting of older teens and young adults that hold positions of responsibility in their organization, but also find time to participate in scouting activities with their peers. Members of the Įgula had assembled from Klaipėda (200 km / 120 miles away), Tauragė (150 km / 90 miles) and Kaunas (local). As the afternoon went on we got to know each other as we spoke about our respective scout organizations and the activities we oraganize. Lietuvos Jūrų Skautija puts a lot of thought and effort into fostering patriotism and morality among their members.
While on the water I asked one of the girl sea scouts from Tauragė what her plans were for the future. Though the economic situation appears bleak at times, and many young people are immigrating, she said "I want to remain in Lithuanian as long as I can."
I returned to the Laisvalaikio Centras the following day to meet the younger sea scouts. The "Įgulą" was still there, after spending the night at the Center, finishing up their preparation for a major trip. Clearly, the sea scouts are not only fostering patriotism and morality, but also responsibility and leadership. I spent just over an hour with the young sea scouts, and they even taught me how to tie a Double Becket Bend with rope.
On July 20 Lietuvos Jūrų Skautija began a challenging regatta. Scouts from Poland and Turkey, and Sea Cadets from Sweden joined the Lithuanians for a 10 day trip from Kaunas to Klaipėda along the Nemunas River and up the Curonian Gulf. What an adventure! I hope our scouts will have an opportunity to join our sea scout brothers and sisters in Lithuanian on a similar trip in the future.
Oro Skautai (Air Scouts)
Europos Skautai (International Union of the Guides and Scouts of Europe) and Akademikai (College Division)
I had an opportunity to get to meet one of the Europos Skautai leaders and several Akademikai, but I did not have a chance to participate in their activities.
I will write about the "most Lithuanian camp outside of Lithuania", the LSS scout camp near London, which I attended, in my September letter. Stay tuned.
Though we wear distinct uniforms, conduct a variety of activities, and have slightly different traditions, we all follow the same basic įžodis and įstatai (scout oath and law). We are all scouts, and we are all Lithuanians.
Contest Between February and July there were various challenges and activities based on Brolijos specialybės (Lithuanian boy scout merit badges) published in this section. The contst is now closed, and unfortunately very few scouts participated this year.
There still is time to participate in the Vydūnas Foundation sponsored Skautų Aidas - My Summer Camp contest that ends September 12. Monetary prizes will be awarded in several categories and age groups. Submit your entry for a chance to win! (Rules are in Lithuanian. Ask for help if you need a translation.)
Budėk! Gero Vėjo!
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