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Anna Munsterhjelm: Guiding and scouting always offers challenging roles

Anna Munsterhjelm | 25.11.2015

”Hi! Would you like to buy the advent calendar of the Guides and Scouts of Finland? All proceeds go to guiding and scouting activities!”

There are not many Finns who have not heard these words at some time or other. We know that Christmas is around the corner when young and also a little older scouts appear at street corners, store entrances and our doors selling advent calendars.

Many K-stores have a tradition to offer scouts a point of sale in front of the store. In this picture, scouts are selling calendars in the Iso Omena shopping centre in Espoo. Photo: The Guides and Scouts of Finland / Otso Nuotio.

And there are not many Finns either who would say ’no’ to a cub scout. The Guides and Scouts of Finland have been selling the advent calendar every year since 1947, and for many of us, Christmas would not be the same without it. In fact, the calendar has gained popularity, proof of which the record number of calendars sold last year. The traditional favourite lives with the time: the completely Finnish made advent calendar, carrying the Key Flag symbol, can now be purchased online for the first time ( Why not send it to your stakeholders as a Christmas greeting for example.

The advent calendar is a much loved herald of Christmas, but also a very important fundraising tool. Guiding and scouting is almost entirely based on volunteer work, but it would not be possible without any money. The groups need a place, a hut, for their weekly meetings, it is impossible to organise camps and adventures without tents and cookers, and boats need regular maintenance. Larger camps and trips abroad are often so expensive that the common funds are used to enable participation.

Even more important are the activities taking place at excursions, camps and huts. Children and youths are always given the opportunity to take responsibility and grow with the challenge – in group leadership, arranging an activity, or finding the next orienteering control point. They are allowed to mess up, succeed, get excited and change direction with adult back up always available, but without interfering. The young can take lead and make decisions – even if it goes wrong sometimes. And when young people are trusted, they become confident with their skills and trust other people.

Such youths will become adults who know how to take responsibility for issues of common concern and also want to do it. Seven euros is a small price for it.

Anna Munsterhjelm is the President of the Guides and Scouts of Finland (Suomen Partiolaiset – Finlands Scouter ry), Finland’s largest youth organization. Every year, it offers new experiences and adventures to some 65,000 children and youths, and teaches them skills ranging from leadership to outdoor pursuits and from group work to international contacts. For adults, guiding and scouting provides meaningful voluntary work.

Photo of Anna Munsterhjelm: The Guides and Scouts of Finland.

Kesko participates in several projects that promote wellbeing and physical activity among young people. The Guides and Scouts of Finland is one of Kesko’s long-term partners. For several years, guides and scouts have sold their advent calendar at K-stores too, raising funds for their operations that promote leisure activities for young people.

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