What is a Gilwell Reunion
Lord Baden-Powell organised and ran the first training course for Scouters at Gilwell Park in England in 1919. At the end of the course, to celebrate the fellowship of Scouting, he invested the Scouters as members of the 1st Gilwell Park Troop by presenting them with two each from a set of Zulu beads he had recieved as a gift when he was in Africa. The tradition has continued to this day around the world.
Today, Scouters who complete their Wood Badge Training receive the "Gilwell" Scarf and a leather thong containing two wooden beads. These are the mark of an individual who has invested the time needed to complete the training.
Each year, Gilwell Reunions are held as an opportunity for those who have completed their Woodbadge (aka Gilwellians) to meet together again. These Reunions are planned for and by Gilwellians.
In Ontario, one of these annual reunions takes place at Blue Springs Scout Reserve and all Gilwellians are invited to attend. Blue Springs Scout Reserve is located just west of the town of Acton. The first Ontario reunion of Gilwellians was held at Blue Springs in 1952 in Ebor Park. The Gilwell weekend has grown annually in attendance and currently has almost 1200 participants.
Gilwellians are invited to attend the Ontario Gilwell Reunion to:
- Meet again with others that were on their Woodbadge training course
- Discover new program ideas
- Renew that spark in preparation for a new year of Scouting
Perhaps the best reasons to attend the Reunion can be summed up in the song written by Ralph Reader so many years ago: In my Dreams, I'm Going Back to Gilwell
In my dreams I'm going back to Gilwell,
To the joys and the happiness I found
On those grand week-ends
With my dear old friends and see the training ground.
Oh the grass is greener back in Gilwell,
And I breathe again that Scouting air,
While in memory, I see B.P.
Who never will be far from there.
Hope we will see you at the Reunion ....