2,300 Scouts meet in Estavayer / Switzerland for Camporee

2,300 Scouts meet in Estavayer / Switzerland for Camporee

2’300 Christian scouts and leaders from 20 countries met at the Adventist Youth Camporee

August 12, 2015 | APD; CD-EUDNews; Pictures Camporee Archive

Estavayer-le-Lac, Switzerland, August 12, 2015 [APD/CD-EUDNews]. From August 3 to 9, 2’300 Christian scouts and leaders from 20 countries met at the Adventist Youth Camporee (international scouting event) at La Corbiére Farm in Estavayer-le-Lac, on the eastern shore of Lake Neuchâtel. 
At the Camporee, the scouts strengthened their friendships and made new friends while reflecting on spiritual topics and their own relationship with God. The event’s spiritual theme, inspired by the biblical story of Jonah, was “The Whale way. Surprised by grace.” On Friday evening, a baptismal ceremony was celebrated at the lake and 7 youth were baptized.

Throughout the day, the camporee program provided specific activities tailored to the needs and interests of the participants, who were 12-16 years of age. The scouts had the possibility of choosing which of the 90 creative activity workshops they wished to join, with topics ranging from various scouting techniques to environmental concerns.
"By holding a Camporee every four years, we are promoting intercultural exchanges across national borders, as well as encouraging the holistic development of youth," said Stephan Sigg, Youth Leader of the Inter-European Division (EUD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This holistic approach includes the social, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of young people. The Adventist Scouting program, called Pathfinders, is open to children coming from Adventist homes, as well as from all other religious or non-religious backgrounds, who wish to participate in such an experience.

“The camporee is an educational event that provides 12-16 year-old pathfinders an experience of intercultural fellowship and international friendship. Teenagers learn and share scouting skills, enjoy camaraderie through games and activities and celebrate life and their Creator," said Sigg.
Scouts from European and non-European countries
According to the EUD Youth Department, European participants came from 13 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Slovakia, Spain and Czech Republic. In these countries there are 1’346 local Pathfinder groups with more than 19’000 children and adolescents from 6 to 16 years old. One group also came from the United Kingdom. In addition to these participants from Europe, one delegation came from Thailand and one with 60 participants came from Brazil.

The worldwide youth department of the Adventist Church was founded in 1907 in Gland / VD, Switzerland. In the same year, Robert Baden-Powell started the Pathfinder movement.

Children and youth promotion - not just words
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church promotes the healthy and balanced development of children and young people, considering them a central concern. This is the reason they gave a budget of 450’000 Swiss francs (424,000 euros) for this event,” explained Sigg. Not all pathfinders have the same possibility of participating in terms of finances. Pathfinders coming from countries with a weak economy were greatly subsidized because their families could not afford the camp fees and travel expenses.  
The success of the camp was also made possible by the collaboration of 120 volunteers who gave their time and energy as a free contribution before, during and after the Camporee, sometimes from their own personal holiday time.
Authorities of Estavayer: big event, but cooperation without problems
“The cooperation between the camp organizers and the landowners in the planning and preparation phase didn’t generate any problems,” said Marlis Schwarzentrub, Vice-Mayor of the 6’000 inhabitants in the touristic town of Estavayer-le-Lac, at the media conference. The inhabitants increased by a good third with the camporee population, and she believes that the good experiences that the young people have had during the camporee will likely bring them back into the region later on for future holidays. The event would cost nothing to Estavayer, declared Schwarzentrub, because the organizers would cover all costs. As a mother of three, she supports scouting, since it helps children learn important values, she affirmed.

Near the camp grounds, the landowners have a private beach the scouts can use.  
The whole area established as a village
Joint events took place in the mornings and evenings in a circus tent, with a seating capacity of 3’000 persons, that was rented from Circus Monti.
The food preparation area was housed in a 150 meter-long tent, which was divided into 17 separate country kitchens. “For ecological reasons, the waste water was collected and drained into the sewage,” said Fabian Looser, one of the event managers and Swiss German youth leader. 

The camp was laid out as a "Village," where scouts could buy ice-cream, snacks and gifts, as well as the t-shirt of the event. According to Looser, “the camp authorities worked with the local emergency services to put in place a comprehensive emergency action plan.” For security reasons, the organization provided fences for demarcation of the camp area. A team of volunteers directed by a leader, who was trained by the police, supervised the whole area night and day. Additionally, a medical team was constantly on duty.

Language mixture
“The joint events were presented on stage in French and translated into German or vice versa. Then it was translated in the different sectors of the circus tent to the appropriate languages by the separate country delegations,” explained Esther Hanselmann, EUD Youth department Administrative Assistant, who was responsible for logistic administration and translation. Among themselves, the youth generally spoke in English.
Participating both in joint programs as well as in the workshops, the young people were divided in groups by colored bracelets so that they could have the chance to meet scouts and make friends from other countries.

A visitation day was organized on Wednesday, August 5 in order to give the nearby population a glimpse of the event that was going on just next-door in their beautiful countryside. 

For further information from the event visit:, or on the Camporee’s Facebook page: or under the hashtag #AYCAMP15.

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