Through the European Scout Voluntary Program, young leaders from the Boy Scouts of America have the opportunity to learn more about Scouting in Europe by volunteering at a European Scout center.
Framework of the Typical European Scout Center
Scout centers in Europe do not operate in the same way that BSA camps do. The staff members of a typical European Scout center are usually involved in many different aspects of operating the center rather than specializing in one particular area and do so on a volunteer basis. This is different from the situation in a BSA camp, where staff members are usually assigned to a particular activity or skill with which they work for the majority of their time at camp and usually receive a salary for this work. In addition, Scouting in Europe normally operates on a coeducational basis, with males and females having the opportunity to be equally involved at all levels.
How to Apply
All participants in the European Scout Voluntary Program must be between 18 and 30 years of age, must be members registered with the Boy Scouts of America, and have current Youth Protection Training. To ensure that the experience is worthwhile, participants should be prepared to commit themselves to volunteer for a minimum of six weeks.
Before applying, you should be certain that you wish to take part in this program. If you are accepted by a site and then “drop out,” that could cause problems for that particular site, as it will prevent other youth from having the opportunity to take part in the program.
For information regarding available centers, please go to http://rovernet.eu/site/european-scout-voluntary-programme. Throughout that page, you’ll access the initial information about the staff program offered by the participating sites. However, it is then up to you to contact the sites for more specific information, and then to complete the relevant application process for the chosen site. Be sure to contact the International Department when applying for the position and when a position has been offered for proper approval and insurance coverage.
Travel Costs and Insurance
Well before traveling, make sure that you have a valid passport for your time abroad. Visit the passport section of www.travel.state.gov for information on how to obtain or renew your passport. You should also check whether you need a visa to volunteer in the country where your site is located. You can visit the international travel section of the same website for country-specific visa information. It is of the utmost importance that you secure these travel documents early, as it can take several weeks to months to obtain them.
Many European Scout centers will provide accident and sickness insurance while serving in your position, but be sure to determine what coverage is provided, when it begins, and when it ends. The Council Accident and Sickness Insurance Plan (“BSA Excess Plan”) provides accident and sickness insurance during your travel to and from the Scout center as well as during your off-duty hours, but ONLY if you contacted the International Department as requested above. Any touring before your position begins or after your position ends will not be covered, so be sure to secure travel insurance as your primary insurance may not cover any accidents or sickness outside of the United States.
It is the responsibility of the participants to pay for their own travel to and from the Scout center; however, the European Scout Region offers a travel reimbursement at the end of the camp assignment. According to each year’s budget, the amount that will be reimbursed can vary, but as a general rule, they aim to cover a minimum of 30 percent of the overall travel costs. The reimbursement will be made through your Scout center.