Interview with Juan Reig, Vice-president of the Spanish Scout Federation (FEE) and candidate for the World Scout Committee
Hi Juan. Welcome! Before we start with the interview, we would like to introduce yourself and tell all the Scouts and Adult Guides in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries a bit about you.
Juan Reig: Hello! First of all thank you very much for having the initiative to contact me and want to know a bit of me, it is a pleasure to be able to respond to this interview. About me, I can say that I am 36 years old, and I was scout since I was 11 years old, in a group of my city, Madrid. I studied Commercial Management and Marketing, and currently I am General Director of a company of consulting and investigation of markets.
2.JD: At what age did you start in the Scouts and what is the most beautiful memory you have kept from that time?
JR: As I said before, I joined the Scouts at the age of 11, and it was an immediate awakening to another way of life: to enter the troop with older boys than myself who soon became great friends, living a thousand of adventures away from home, to discover the mountains and forests, the nights in the tent, those magical evenings by the campfire … my world became much bigger in a blink of an eye. Perhaps the best moment I remember from that time was when I made my scout Promise, the moment to step forward and tell to the world “Yes, I promise, I want to be a scout.” It is a magical moment that has undoubtedly been transcendental in my life.
- JD: How do you think the Scouting has changed since you started up to now, and what do you like the most about this Movement?
JR: I do not think that the movement has changed, I think it has simply evolved with the society; indeed, I would say that it is not the Movement, but the Scout organizations (from the groups to WOSM) who have been forced to adapt to the New times and the new demands of communities and social environments. This fact has made everything more controlled with less space for improvisation and for certain types of adventures, but the safety of activities and educational content have also improved, for example. In any case, I believe that the Principles and Spirit of the Scout Movement are still present in the day to day and I do not think they have changed. If I should stay with some of the Scout Movement, it is a real world brotherhood, which gets up every day with the clear and shared goal of making the world a better place, that is impressive.
- JD: What was the first international event in which you participated and what did you recover from that experience?
JR: Well, my first international event was the Jamboree in Sweden and it was an experience that really marked me. For almost 20 years I had lived the Scouting intensely, in my group scout, with some sporadic participation at the regional and national level, and suddenly, I was able to live with all the possible intensity the concept of “world brotherhood” so essential in the Scouting. It was a real revelation; I remember going every day walking the Jamboree without being able to stop smiling and thinking that there could be no better place in the world.
- JD: Tell us a bit about how the idea of your candidacy for the World Scout Council came about, and what you learned during these last months.
JR: The truth is that it came naturally, although I was very surprised (hahaha¡-laughs). After having done a very intense job as an International Commissioner and having acquired extensive experience in this area, I began to recurrently receive the same question from different places “Why do not you present yourself as a candidate for the World Committee? You would do very well”. From the beginning, I did not raise it, I did not think about it, but when more and more people from different parts of the world, who you value and respect, explain why they think you should do it, you have to raise it with the seriousness it deserves. After reflecting in depth, I sincerely believe that I can offer a relevant service to the Committee and I believe it is my responsibility as a scout to offer my time and my work for this task. For the last few months, with which I remain is that scouts are incredible anywhere in the world; sometimes it seems that we despise the strength of the Promise, but I can assure you that after having participated in scout events in all regions of the world, this commitment makes us more similar than we believe, despite the great cultural diversity that exists in the world.
- JD: Today in a highly computerized and globalized world, how do you imagine the Scouts of the future and what do you think will be their challenges?
JR: I think the Scouts will remain the same, although they will incorporate the technology into their day to day life, but the essence of the Promise and Law, the life in small groups, the learning by doing, the contact with nature, the good action … all those things are not going to change, we will continue being Scouts and we will continue to change the world every day.
- JD: How do you think Scouts and Adult Guides can continue to support the work of Youth Scouts and WOSM?
JR: Adults play a key role in the Scout Movement, and they could have more roles if they wanted to. I think it is very important to support the groups Scout, on the one hand, by creating a favorable environment for them (promoting Scouting in the society, and for young people) and on the other hand helping them in tasks not related to the pedagogical work as Economic support, logistics management, search sponsors, etc.
8.JD: If you had the opportunity to put a question to our Founder, Lord Baden-Powell, what would you like to ask him?
JR: Rather than ask him I would observe him, I would like to see how he would develop the Principles of movement in the today’s society and how he would adapt the method he proposed to this permanently changing scenario that is the world of nowadays.
9.JD: Juan, before finishing this interview, we would like to wish you from AISG Spain the best during the next World Scout Conference that will take place this summer in Baku, Azerbaijan, and we invite you to share some final words.
JR: Just once again thank you for the opportunity to speak with you, to encourage ISGF to continue growing and joining all those adults who once were Scouts and to all its members to approach to the groups Scout offering their support to get more and more children (boys and girls) and young people who enjoy this wonderful movement that is the Scouting.
World Committee member Alf Runar Bakke represented ISGF at the combined 15th WAGGGS and 22nd WOSM European Conference at Melsomvik, Norway, 17-21 June 2016. Ivan Chetwynd, journalist for the St Georg Newsletter of NSGF Norway met him there.
I suppose you have met a lot of old friends from the time you were Chief Scout in Norway and deeply involved in international scouting?
Only a couple, I’m glad to say! If those who were active 25 years ago were still in charge today, it would be a very bad sign for scouting!
Have you seen any good signs for guiding and scouting here at the Conference?
Yes. Not least the fact that the average age of the delegates is much lower now than it was at the last international conferences I attended. And the younger guide and scout leaders are not afraid to stand up and make their voices heard. The enthusiasm of the delegates is a sign that guiding and scouting have a bright future!
Are the delegates familiar with ISGF?
A few are, but not many. That may be because the average age is so low. They don’t feel that ISGF is something for them. I explain to them that we are adult scouts, not old scouts. And that we exist to support the guide and scout movement.
Alf Runar leaves to mingle with delegates to tell them more about ISGF. He uses a PowerPoint presentation to explain about ISGF.
“In the footsteps of the Founder.” Runar measures his foot against a bronze cast of B-P’s footprint from 1928, which was exhibited in the booth of the Norwegian Scout and Guide Museum at the Conference.
At the beginning of the spring, the Spain adult Scouts have gathered again in the Scout House of Madrid, our wonderful new headquarters, for in addition, to holding our annual Assembly, to meet us and to live together for a complete weekend.
We deal with the usual prosaic administrative matters, and especially the approval of our Internal Bye-Laws, with which we will be able to adequately address the issues arising within our operations.
We also had more suggestive topics, such as the presentation of the Meeting that ASGAEx is preparing for the next autumn at Llerena city (Badajoz). With an innovative exhibition, they showed us the city that invite us to attend, and the very interesting activities that have prepared for all of us.
And the endearing moment of the award of the Iradier medals to Jose Antonio Lazaro Velamazan, presented by the Association of Aragon; and to Angel Baspino Pazos, presented by the association of Galicia.
We finished the Assembly with an emotional tribute to our brother from Madrid, Fernando Bethencourt, for the heroic act that He had starred at the Madrid Underground, few days earlier.
Finalized the Assembly, we celebrated the ceremony of Trebolís distinctions to the Scouts of Madrid, which were collected by its President, accompanied by the President of MSC Spain and other members of the leadership, and also to the Explorers of Madrid. Then, we had a fellowship dinner that was prepared in their honour, in which we have had the presence of the Scouts of Madrid.
On Sunday, as this is becoming usual in our meetings, Fidel from ASGAM, prepared for us with love a cultural visit to the world of Cervantes, to commemorate the fourth centenary of his death that we celebrate this year; leading us to the exhibition, that dedicated to our most famous writer is being held at the National Library; and then to walk around the “Neighborhood of the Letters”, where Cervantes lived, stopping us at the most important places.
Among these places, we visited the house in which lived another famous and illustrious of our letters, Lope de Vega; after which we went to the old printing house of Juan de la Cuesta, now a museum, where the first edition of Don Quixote was printed; and where they explained us in detail how was the printing process in the “Golden Century”.
We just finished our meeting days with a fellowship lunch at the popular Tirso de Molina square, where the “Neighborhood of the Letters” and the “Neighborhood of Lavapies” join together, and saying goodbye until next October at Llerena city.
Madrid, April 3rd 2016
Invalid Displayed Gallery
World fraternity in Scouting and Guiding is not an empty word. During these tragic hours that France lives, it is a particular comfort to read the numerous messages of support that were sent to the Fédération des associations d’adultes et d’anciens du Scoutisme français (FAAS) by its sister associations, members of the International Scout and Guide Fellowship.
On behalf of FAAS, we wish to express our deepest and warmest thanks for all the messages of friendship and hope that strike into our hearts. Scouting and Guiding, movements of education to peace, have always had the aim of bringing peoples and spiritualities, religious or not, close to each other.
We shall more than ever implement the words of hope that Baden Powell expressed at the end of the 1920 Jamboree: “let us go forth fully determined that we will develop among ourselves and our boys that comradeship, through the world wide spirit of the Scout brotherhood, so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among men”.
Yours in fellowship,
Jean-Jacques Gauthé, President of FAAS
Jean-François Lévy, international secretary of FAAS
Scouting improves young people and adults through education for brotherhood, peace, friendship among human beings.
What happened in Paris on November 13, and that happens every day in other parts of the world, where children, women and men are killed and tortured by human barbarity, is the opposite of the teachings of Scouting.
We are convinced that we must strongly condemn any form of violence and war, but we are also confident that the sentences of circumstance are no longer sufficient.
We, SCOUTS, must commit most strongly “ALL” ourselves for education for brotherhood, peace and friendship among human beings, precisely because what has happened shows that the teachings of Baden Powell is the right way for all mankind.
All this also stems from the MED of Marrakech, where adult scouts from 18 countries have experienced the encounter as true brothers, although in their diversity.
Sonia Mondin (National President)
Luigi Cioffi (National Secretary)
Mons. Guido Lucchiari (National Assistant)
Franco Vecchiocattivi (International Secretary)
We, gathered together around an oval, a way that all of us we were able to see our faces, the adult Scouts of Spain, opened this first Meeting of Presidents.
The spacious and bright room, with the right equipment for these Meetings, it smells new, like everything else in our headquarters also opening today, by the deferent welcome given to us by the Scouts of Madrid, and in which we will be able to hold our Meetings, Assemblies and Activities.
In addition, we have a new accommodation in the new Scout hostel, that will allows us to come to Madrid with an austere cost, in the line with our principles, but at the same time dignified and comfortable.
We would like to talk about our topics, to where we want lead our Federation, what we are doing well, what we can do better, what kind of difficulties we found… all these questions were developed by Toñi, in a dynamic and participative manner of all attendees, and the conclusions we will be able to consult in the new web page of AISG.
In the evening, we were guided around the Madrid night’s by Fidel from ASGAM, in an original tour to the heights of some landmark buildings, from where you can admire the interplay of light, shadows and moving life of this city, especially in Saturday.
Paying attention to the reality in which we live, we reflected on the next international situation: the refugee’s issue, and what we can do, the Scouts, from our spirit to build a better world.
We put our first bricks to start a project for their reception, each one in their environment, collaborating with entities that know how to help them; and because there are not lines of action yet, from AISG, in collaboration with all the adults Scouts, we will be giving shape to our contribution. Just as an appetizer, Emilio made for us the whatsapp AISG Solidarity Group, in which we are issuing our experiences and contributions.
To finish the Meeting, we made a cultural visit to some jewels of Madrid poorly known, even to the locals –people of Madrid, such as the cemetery (Memorial) of the fallen of Dos de Mayo, the bridge of the Princess, and, specially, the hermitage of San Antonio de Florida, with one of the top works of the painter Francisco de Goya. All this excellently illustrated, with the love and care that always puts Fidel when he shows us Madrid.
And because a Meeting with friends is faded without meals, we said goodbye at Casa Mingo, one of the oldest houses of meals (small old restaurant) in Madrid, where a reasonable cost you can eat very well and, as Asturian “chigre” (typical pub to drink apple cider), we drunk good natural cider.
Madrid. October 4th 2015
“A brother may not be a friend, but a friend will always be a brother”
(Demetrio de Falero, Athenian statesman, 350 B.C.)
Dear Friends, Scouts and Guides:
Today is an important day for our organization; just today is the 62nd anniversary of its creation. ISGF-AISG was officially established on October 25, 1953, the day following the 8th anniversary of the founding of the UN, and in honor of this fact, the color of our world scout neckerchief was chosen: blue UN.
Therefore, today, all the World Associations of adult Scouts and Guides celebrate the Fellowship Day.
Fellowship is born when people find common concerns and feelings. Our Associations help to find people with similar interests and styles of life, even if they have not been known since childhood, and enable them to implement projects according to the Scout ethics.
The current Society, demands our teamwork, solidarity and commitment to social justice, more than ever. We are part of a dense network of Associations with attractive activities and channeling the common interests of its members; but as well, more than ever, we must participate in useful projects, at the service of who are suffering situations of extreme necessity or emergency.
I encourage you to generate ideas and to put them into action, even for small and humble initiatives you think.
BP said: “Plan your work and then work on your plan”. I would add to this sentence: “Let work as a team with your friends and brothers Scouts and grow with this useful manner the FELLOWSHIP WITH CAPITAL LETTERS.
Greetings to all of you and Happy Fellowship Day
Antonio Jesús Lillo Fernández
Presidente AISG España
Theme: Live together Scouting and Guiding, a school for Peace and citizenship
-within Val de Loire, historical centre of France, designated by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage.
The conference will take place in Tours, France, in the “Conference centre Vinci”.
The draft programme is as follows:
- Delegates will be welcome at the railway station of Tours (in front of the Vinci) in the afternoon of Sunday 11
- In the late afternoon first opportunity of getting acquainted thanks to a friendly welcome in the “Parc de la Préfecture” close to the Vinci with young guides and scouts
- Conference per se from Monday 12 to Wednesday 14. In addition to the traditional elements of a European Conference which will be discussed with the Europe Committee there will be:
- lecture on Tours and Chateaux de la Loire followed by a visit of the town;
- a round table linked with the name of the Conference
- a gala evening in Grange de Meslay (a barn) aged 8 centuries
- Thursday 15, day of visits: two chateaux and one wine cave … wines from Touraine are highly famous and various
- additional tours from Friday 16 will be organised for those who want to visit more of the Val de Loire but the programme is presently being established.