This 9th Conference took place in congress centre VINCI in Tours, France, from 11 to 15 September 2016.
Tours is the main town of Touraine; it is located in the Loire Valley, which, with its castles, its landscapes and its vineyard, was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage of Humanity.
Sunday, September 11, after the welcome at the Tours train station and the installation in the hotels close to VINCI, many of the participants gathered in a city park with hundreds of Scouts and Guides (*) for a very nice intergenerational party.
On Monday 12th: opening ceremony and the parade of flags of the 27 present nationalities and a few official speeches.
Statutory parts took place from Monday 12 afternoon to Wednesday 14 afternoon. Minutes of the Conference will be added later on the ISGF website when ready. The 10th Europe Region Conference will take place in 2019 in Bremen, Germany.
The statutory parts were interrupted by presentations by the countries and by the following presentations:
• On Monday afternoon a presentation on Tours and Touraine followed by a walk in Tours and a nice evening with a glass at Place Plumereau lined with houses of the 15th century. Some scouts gave a concert.
• On Tuesday afternoon, there was a presentation on Scouting Guiding, schools of Peace and Citizenship, which raised many questions from participants. Tours Municipality then received us in its magnificent hall whose history was presented to us.
• Wednesday morning a presentation on St Martin for the 16th centenary of his birth.
Small surprise before the lunch Wednesday 14: the Vice-Chairman of ISGF, Nana, and the outgoing Chairman of the European Committee, Hans, were inducted into the Commandery of Sainte Maure de Touraine cheese! Beautiful ceremony indeed!
Thursday 15: the participants visited the castles of Blois, Chaumont, Chambord, Cheverny, Azay le Rideau, Chenonceau according to the choices made before. Also visits of wine cellars and wine tasting delighted participants.
The gala dinner was held at the “Grange de Meslay”, built in 1220 and now the Mecca of music in France created by Sviatoslav Richter. We were greeted by pipers with their horns. The dinner that followed was as delicious as all the other meals of the Conference.
On Friday 16 many of the 130 participants from the 24 European countries (plus Benin, Libya and Nepal) left Tours to return to their respective countries, delighted with their short stay and the Conference and its sidelines.
And on Friday 16 and Saturday 17, about thirty participants visited castles other than those where they went on 15.
(*) I'll talk of scouts and guides that are universally known terms; but be aware that in France, among the 5 associations recognized by the Federation of French Scouting there are 3 whose members are called “eclaireurs et eclaireuses”, and 2 whose members are called scouts and guides.
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