2009 – Viernheim camp

Viernheim Camp, Overview

The 1st Cuffley Scouts recently completed another successful twinning project, this time with Potters Bar’s German partners in Viernheim. The group of five spent a week in Viernheim, south-west Germany, joining in activities with Geman Scouts and a local youth project. Scout Leader Alex Bedwell said, “Viernheim is a very flat town but nonetheless very beautiful. There is a really good welcome in Viernheim for visitors and plenty to do for children.”

The Scouts participated in the Viernheim youth project, which ran from Monday 20th to Friday 24th July 2009 and was entitled ‘English Week’. This was one of three weeks which taught the children about their twin town. The Scouts enjoyed many sports and games during the week as well as a trip to the historic city of Heidelberg. One of the Scouts main tasks was to help their new German friends find out about England and Potters Bar. For one of the challenges the German children had to select one hundred words that they wanted to know in English. In reciprical fashion, the Potters Bar Scouts then chose words they wanted to know in German.”Some of our younger Scouts, knew no German at all and so started with some basics such as school and sports vocabulary. The Germans had a harder time of it, as they all spoke rather good English!” Mr Bedwell commented. “The children then did their best to learn the words throughout the week. It then became rather competitive when I started learning them too!”

One other feature of the daily course was the menu, being tailored to be as English as possible. Mr Bedwell and the Scouts helped to prepare a full English breakfast on one day and even transported to Germany many bottles of ‘proper English’ vinegar for use on fish and chips. Scout Oliver Virtue remarked, “the chef loved the fried bread and continued to make it as a snack for the rest of the week!” 

Twinning activities have been happening between the Scouts in Viernheim and Potters Bar since the 1970s and through the efforts of the 1st Cuffley Scouts supported by the Potters Bar Town Twinning Association, this has been rejuvinated. 

EMMA CRACKNELL, SENIOR PATROL LEADER (AGE 14) “Viernheim was an interesting experience. The weather was hot, if a little rainy at times, the people we stayed with, our hosts, were polite, understanding, funny and interesting people whose background in Scouting and being “outdoorsy” was obvious. The range of activities we participated in during the week was phenomenal, varying from football to 20- foot- high assault courses to town trips, experiencing German culture and education.

Several nights we cooked “Backwoods” style, over campfires, using traditional German ways of cooking, which differed from British Scouts in many ways, including the use of a swinging barbecue suspended from a tripod. One evening, however, we (the four British Scouts and Skip, our leader, cooked a proper three course meal, consisting of fish cakes (Fischküchen), stew (Eintopf) and chocolate cake (Schokoladeküchen), to allow them to sample “English cuisine”.

Their campfire songs were also dfferent to ours, the words alternating due to the different laguage (obviously), despite using the same melodies.
We then introduced them to some of our songs, such as “The Penguin Song” and some chants like “Oggi Oggi Oggi”. All in all, I thorougly enjoyed our excursion to Germany and wish to return there before too long.”

Guest written by “Skip” Bedwell, SL.