1st Gilwell Netters Reunion Report
Gino Lucrezi (lucrezi@IINF01.ING.UNIVAQ.IT.)
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 19:38:42 MET
In 1919, Gilwell Park was opened to Scouting, and on September 2-4,
1994 celebrated its 75th birthday.
Actually, every year since 1927 all members of the Gilwell 1st Scout
Group, i.e. all Woodbadge holders of the world, have been invited to
the Gilwell Reunion, but this year's reunion was special for two
The first one was already mentioned, but this Reunion was also the
"1st Gilwell 'Netters Reunion". Thru notices posted on the SCOUTS-L
Mailing List and the rec.scouting newsgroup, an Elite group of
Internet Pioneers from four countries and two continents (ok, ok,
that's not too much.. we'll do better next time!) started a new
tradition. To be honest, it must be told that *the other* Reunion (not
the 'Netters one...) had people from all five continents taking part
in it, but I am sure that at the 75th Gilwell 'Netters Reunion we'll
see Leaders from other planets, too... I just hope I'll be there to
see it... :-)
But more on that later...
The 75th Gilwell Reunion started at 9:30 of Friday the 2nd, but the
action didn't start before 8 pm, when Derek Twine, Executive
Commissioner (Programme & Training), i.e. the man with *SIX* Woodbadge
Beads, extended his welcome to all participants (and they were *really*
a lot!). While his address lasted just a handful of minutes, the
following Barn Dance more than made up for that. For the people who
didn't like dancing, a Reunion Quiz was running at the same time.
On the following day, the main theme was "Activ-8" i.e. 8 bases where
a *lot* of activities were demonstrated. Archery, canoeing, aerial
runway, stoves and lanterns, natural campsite, Faith badges, knotting,
cycling and fitness, model hot air balloons, fantasy film base,
ecology, woodcarving and pyrography, pool late, the Scout
Environmental Challenge Fund, Russian Scouting, racism, backwoods
cooking and technology, you name it. Anyway, I am cheating, I just
copied the list from the booklet, there simply wasn't enough time to
see them all. Especially since they had the bad idea of programming it
during the 'Netters Reunion.
Yeah, at 10.30 am we were in front of the Radio Shack, and so they
lost our presence for the whole morning. We decided not to be too
pricky about that, and we dedicated to non-Netters the afternoon
Anyway, the participants in the 1st Gilwell 'Netters Reunion were:
email@example.com Gino Lucrezi
firstname.lastname@example.org Ian Ford
email@example.com Kimmo Heikkinen
Mike@miket.demon.co.uk Mike D. Tester
k.j.Clay@open.ac.uk Kevin Clay
firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Lees
email@example.com (Dave Lees) was a "lurker" who just showed up at
the meeting without warning, he was nonetheless the welcome, while
P.J.Cowley@herts.ac.uk (Peter Cowley) and joakes@UNM.edu (John Oakes)
who had said they would be coming were sadly missed.
Don't be fooled by Ian Ford's .uk address. He is from Troop 401 BSA,
that is the *American Scouts*, so we really covered two continents.
We had an informal discussion on Scouting and Global Networks, and so
on. We inquired if the Packet Radio demonstrations they were going to
have could allow us to show off some Internet, but alas we had
overestimated the power of the Waves, so we couldn't reach out from
there. Next year, we hope. Kimmo was the first to go away. You see, he
had to receive his Woodbadge in the Training Ground later, and had to
prepare. Ok, so this means that technically he shouldn't have been at
the Gilwell Reunion in first place, since he wansn't yet a Woodbadge
holder, but we promised we wouldn't tell anybody.
Anybody except the Net, of course.
Anyway, we all envyed him. I mean, it's not so common to get your
Woodbadge *at* Gilwell Park, in the Training Ground, and during the
75th Reunion. Had it been me, I would be boasting it all 'round the
Back to the other Reunion. In the afternoon there was the inauguration
of the new, refurbished White House. Actually it wasn't new, since
it's there from a lot of time, and it's not really refurbished either
since work is still underway, but since there aren't many 75th
anniversaries, and Betty Clay was there, they decided to inaugurate it
anyway. Oh, you say you don't know who this Betty is? Well, just wait
a few minutes and I'll tell you...
The Activ-8 was still going on in the afternoon, and there were also
the people from Scouting Magazine (the UK one, of course...), there
was a sale of *really* old scout books, a magician teaching tricks, a
Belt Branding stand, the Scout Shop from Buckingam Palace Road which
had moved itself to Gilwell, and maybe something else I missed. Oh,
yes, of course. Since we were in England, it rained.
In the Evening there was a funny guy leading a Camp Fire.. since he
had his name prefixed by "Fr." he is a R.C. friar, but you wouldn't
have realized that :-)
Two notable events were the presence of Betty Clay (have a little
patience, and I'll tell you who she is) and a quite noisy group of
Italian Leaders who had just started a new friendship with English
After that there was a show called "The Gilwell Story", which I would
recommend you watch, too. Just write to them and ask if you can still
buy the Video. BTW, they had to have *two* performances of it, because
of the *really* many people present.
In the morning there were guided visits. English only, so yours truly
had to act as Interpreter.. I hope they'll give me a badge for it
Afterwards, there was a *huge* Scouts' Own Service in the Lid,
followed by some recollections. We got the chance to know Dr. John
Wilkinson, the last survivor of the first training course held at
Gilwell Park. Many addresses from various scout associations or people
who couldn't come were read. Unfortunately I didn't know of that
beforehand, otherwise a collective message from all the 'Netters who
had told me they couldn't come would have been in order. Again, we'll
try to do that next year.
Of course Betty Clay was still there, so I could ask her to sign some
postcards for some of the 'Netters who couldn't come. Actually, I just
had her sign one.. but that's because you can't address a postcard to
someone@somewhere, but you need a street address, and I had that
(stolen from a .sig) for just one lucky scouter...
I would just like to have a GIF of his face when he gets a postcard
signed by B-P's daugther herself.. what do you mean who is B-P's
daughter? It's Betty, of course... :-)
Anyway, I won't tell who this lucky person is, to keep you all guessing.
The afternoon was punctuated by the "Tuppenny Fair", where people got
the chance to have Derek Twine (yes, the man with six beads) take a
bath for just tuppence... there were all kind of amusements for the
same price, and all proceeds went to Unite, i.e. to help Ugandan
Well, I guess that's the end.
Until next year, of course.
Actually until tonight, since "In my Dreams I am going Back to Gilwell".
Group Scout Leader
Gino Lucrezi @ Universita` "V. Rivera" - L'Aquila - Italy
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