In the first of a series of articles about the Luxembourg-based Telstar International Scout Group, Chronicle.lu sat down with group leader Rani Roloff to learn more about this English-speaking Scouting group.
Chronicle.lu: Please tell us how many members of Telstar there are in Luxembourg, including leaders, and how they are "grouped". Also, how many different nationalities are members? And are Scouts limited to just boys?
Rani Roloff: Telstar Scouts was started in 1974 and attracts English-speaking young people from across Luxembourg. There are about 160 young people and 60 adults in the group today and it is one of the Scout Groups in the Northern Europe District of British Scouting Overseas (BSO) and is also a full member of the Fédération des Eclaireurs et Eclaireuses du Luxembourg (FNEL), one of two Luxembourg Scout Federations.
Telstar aims to offer challenge and adventure to all its members. We believe in helping our young people fulfil their potential by working in teams, learning by doing and thinking for themselves. We're working to make Scouting available to all and we're passionate about what we do.
Through the adventure of Scouting, young people get to take risks in a safe environment and have their first taste of responsibility. We give young people experiences they'll never forget. The sort of adventure we offer is the chance to experience something different and the opportunity for young people to discover their potential. When a Beaver Scout wakes up the morning after a sleepover or a Scout has just got over her fear of heights by completing her first high ropes – that's adventure.
Scouting is offered to both girls and boys and is all inclusive. There are four sections: Beaver Scouts (aged six to eight years), Cub Scouts (aged eight to ten and a half years) , Scouts (aged ten and a half to fourteen years) and Explorer Scouts (aged fourteen to eighteen years).
All this is made possible by the efforts of our dedicated team of hard-working voluntary adults. Our training scheme and one-to-one support ensures that each of our volunteers gets to make the best use of their skills and talents. We have Leaders who run weekly meetings and we also have an Executive Committee that looks after the logistic support needed to run a big active group. We also have volunteers in our Scout Active Support team who volunteer at camps and events.
Chronicle.lu: Telstar held a Group Camp in September: please tell us about this, e.g. how many people were involved, where did it take place, did everyone camp outdoors, what activities did you arrange, etc.
Rani Roloff: Group Camp this year was attended by 110 Scouts and adults. It was held in Ferme Misere, which is a national youth Scout centre in northern Luxembourg. Many fun activities were run around the theme of "Prehistoric Warriors – the forebearers of sustainability". The Scouts were totally engaged in their activities and in learning new skills. Learning to use knives safely and fire lighting were part of the activities along with cave paintings made with blueberry dyes. Other activities were archery, tracking with pre-laid trails and pottery. Much fun was also had around our big campfire with all Scouts joining in in singing campfire songs.
Chronicle.lu: Telstar is part of the Northern Europe District of British Scouting Overseas: please tell us about the district, its geographic scope and if you meet up with other scouts from the district from time to time
Rani Roloff: Telstar International Scout Group is part of British Scouting and belongs to a Scouting Area called British Scouting Overseas and the District of Northern Europe. The Northern Europe District is one of the four Scout Districts of British Scouting Overseas. It comprises of Germany, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.
We meet once a year in a big District Camp and in camps for different sections. Adult volunteers also meet up in for an event called Natter&Noggin to team build and address various issues that the groups may be facing and to have some social time.
Chronicle.lu: In May this year, Telstar hosted a District Camp: where was this held, how many people attended, from where did they came, what activities did you organise?
Rani Roloff: Telstar hosted the District Camp in Luxembourg this year. This was held in Wiltz at the camping grounds of Scouts St Sébastien. 360 Scouts attended this camp and came from Brussels, Prague, Germany, Djursholm and Luxembourg. The theme for the camp was "Witches and Wizards" and all the activities were planned around this theme. Quidditch matches were played, wands were made, potions brewed and a Harry Potter themed wide game was run at the end of the camp. All activities involved teaching new skills, team building and having fun while meeting Scouts from other Scout groups and forging new friendships.
Chronicle.lu: And what is your role, as Group Scout Leader at Telstar?
Rani Roloff: My role as Group Scout Leader is basically to manage and support the Scout Group and its Leaders to ensure it runs effectively and that Scouting within the Group develops in accordance with the rules and policies of The Scout Association. I facilitate a respectful, positive and inclusive Scout Group that gives opportunities for young people to be successful in their Scouting journey.
I took on this role in 2013 and am quite pleased to say that currently Telstar is the second largest Scout group in Luxembourg and the largest group in Northern Europe. The group has grown tremendously over the last nine years and is very popular. Currently we have 80 children on our waiting list.
Chronicle.lu: Where did the name Telstar come from?
Rani Roloff: Telstar Scout Group was started in November 1974. It gets its name from the Telstar, the various communications satellite which was launched a few years earlier... hoping to be like a satellite and form a group of like-minded people with a passion for Scouting.