Talkings about partnerships between groups within the CES are as old as the the CES – almost 30 years. I don’t know, who it was, but the idea, to install partnerships in the early 70‘s, was a stroke of genius. With this idea you can combine the aims of the CES (to bring Europes youngsters together) with the fundamental ideas of scouting. And it works! It is prooved since almost 20 years by the 5th and 2nd Lancashire groups from Manchester and the Mauritius group from Köln (Cologne). A partnership, that is unice in matters of time and intesity.
After 20 years it should be allowed to call our partnership a really „grown“ one. The first meeting was 1981 in the first ERUPJAM in Bramhope. The first partnership-contract was signed in 1983 and since then partnership meetings (that most times took a week or two) were held in the average of 1,25 years in Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy or Belgium. According to the distance between Manchester and Köln this closed sequence is a proove for the trust of the group-leaders on both sides in the postitive effects a partnership can offer. And of course it is also a proove for the friendships, that have been bult and that are of course „the“ fundamental element of each partnership. The trust was given form one generation of leaders to the next and so it grew in both groups, new ideas were added and every single member got in touch with it.
An elementary reason for the long permanence of theese friendships are the camps, that have been held concertedly. Here friendships could be found or could be deepend. The closed sequence allows every scout to make the „partnership-expierience“ twice as a member. When the scouts become older and step into the rover crew or maybe into the group-leadership they’ll meet their friends, who have also developed in their group-structures. Now they can collect experiences from another point of view (leader or rover). It doesn’t matter, if they are leaders with responsibility for the camp programme or rovers. What only matters is that the ties, that result from the common expieriences touch the lives of those who had them. Because then a partnership gets basic elements of a real friendship. Than we can speak about a growing partnership. The advatage is, that those people do not need an explanation of partnership, because they „grew“ into it. And if they decide to become leaders who have responsibility for the partnership it will be much easier for them to take this responsability, because they can take profit out of zheir experiences.
During the first CES-EUROJAM in 1981 leaders of the 5th Lancashire group and the Mauritius gruoup meet and form contacts. The surrounding atmosphere allows common activities and new friendships.
In November 1983 the first partnership contract is signed by leaders of both groups and the CES headquarter. The partnership camp in Ashworth Valley in 1984 ist the first of 12 camps by now in which the spirit of partnership has always been present.
The second „real“ partnership camp is held whithin the EUROJAM 1985, that is organized by the BEP in the Niederhosenbachtal im Hunsrück. On this occasion the boys from Mauritius get in closer contact to the members of the 2nd Lancashire group. The separation that is connoted by the two different names is never felt by the members of the groups. Also a part of this camp is the group La Lurcette from Belgium. But it does not work out to integrate the belgium scouts into the partnership.
In 1987 some Rovers from Manchester visit the DOMINO-whitsun-camp of the German federation (DPV), in which the BEP is organized. In the summer the troop from Köln comes over to Wales for a two-week-camp with 5th and 2nd Lancashier where the partnership contract is renewed for another three years.
1989: Two years later the groups meet for one week near Euskirchen in Germany. After the partnership-week the scouts from Manchester are invited to Köln for a weekend. Everybody who atennded to that meeting is still full of rememberance. After the weekend 5th and 2nd Lancs and Mauritius start for the3rd EUROJAM in Heeze/NL.
In 1990 the troop from Köln spends a weekend in Manchester on ist way to Ireland.
One year –1991- later the german BEP organizes the CES whitsun camp near Monschau. Like in the DOMINO-camp a small delegation from Manchester takes part. Whithin those 3 days some main features for the next partnership camp in 1992 are prepared.
This partnership camp in Truro / Cornwall is the central event of bicycle-hiking tour of the Mauritius – scouts. At a little farm they run a week together and create some ideas for 1993 when the partnership becomes 10 years old.
1993: During the fourth EUROJAM in Olloy sur Viroin / Belgium 5th Lancs, 2nd Lancs and Mauritius share a „sub-camp“. In their sub-camp the scouts build a „Partnership-museum“ where visitors can have a look at the many presents the groups gave each other on any occasion. This exhibition is meant to be a motivating aspect to other scout groups. The most exciting thing is the „Parade“. Just like a carnival-parade it goes over the whole EUROJAM – camp site and all the italian, french, dutch and spanish scouts who stop eating to watch it, see a grown relationship that is meanwhile completely independent from any activities organized by others.
In 1995 the scouts from Köln and Manchester meet in Waterloo near Brussels in Belgium. In this camp also a belgium group takes part.
Two years later the groups meet in Bassano Romano whithin the 5th EUROJAM in Italy. Both groups manage it to place some „partnership-activities“ into the main-programme.
1999: Another two years later the troops of 5th Lancs, 2nd Lancs and Mauritius meet in England again. Near Skegness at the english east-cost they share a camp for two weeks. The Lichstafette-group from Wuppertal is also on the camp-site and holds the first camp together with the scouts from 1st and 2nd Derbyshire.
In the summer of 2001 the EUROJAM has to be delayed. The scouts from Manchester decide to join their friends‘ summer camp in Born / Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is the first time for them to meet in the former GDR. In this camp first talks are done about the 20th anniversary in 2003.
In 2002 the EUROJAM can be held at last. Again the partnership prooves its felxibility. A new „mile-stone“ is the „senior-rover-camp“ of the „retired“ leaders from germany. Many of them –not only from Köln- made good experiences during their active scout-life. During this week some ideas for the 20th annivesary of the partnership in 2003 are fixed.
Summer 2003: 20 years of partnership - and no end in sight ... We are a little proud, that we can look back on such a long tradition of friendly relationships with our partnership group. Of course, this had to be celebrated properly. On the North Sea coast near Staelduin in Holland there were around 100 cubs, scouts, Rover and friends of the group together to celebrate a ceremony at the partnership camp. In addition to a colorful supporting program, the signing of a new partnership agreement was the highlight of the evening. For the first time, the Manchester Group 2nd Lancashire will also be officially included in the contract. Unofficially they have always been there anyway. A weekend later there is another lookup in Cologne. A BBQ evening (on August 15th) marks the end of the celebrations on the property. Before that, the English had been a guest in our city for 3 days.
Summer 2009: Partnership camp St. Ives / GB
Summer 2013: 30 years of partnership - and still no end in sight ... Immediately after the summer camp in Holland (Ommen) the groups lead to Cologne to celebrate the anniversary there as part of a weeklong partnership camp. Around 40 scouts from Manchester and Cologne experienced a varied program on the meadows of a former church site in Bocklemünd. Many elderly also came to the anniversary celebration itself and provided a worthy setting. In the end, gifts were exchanged - almost routine - and above all the new partnership agreement was signed. In the end everyone went apart filled with the will to keep the partnership alive for another 3 years.