The 42nd Forum in Grossarl, Austria, took place from 19th - 26 June, 2010 and the first time it was held in summer. During the week we got new friends and a lot of new experiences. Each day you could participate in various hikes but there was also the opportunity to make your own hikes and trips around the area.
Before arriving in Grossarl we did not know quite well what to expect. Kirstine's (one of the authors of this article) parents who have been to the Forum seven times, talked a little about what they normally did when they attended the winter Forums, but nevertheless we were surprised by what was waiting for us.
We arrived Saturday evening in light rain, but although the rain was getting worse, the mood among the 225 participants from 12 countries was very positive.
Already Saturday, the evening of arrival, all participants gathered to celebrate midsummer. This event is yearly celebrated in Grossarl area by lighting bonfires at all the mountain tops and sides. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side, and later we heard that the only bonfire that had been lit that evening was the huge bonfire of the adult Scouts and Guides. After this bonfire was lit, all of us stowed into the mountain restaurant which offered local drinks and was a welcome shelter for the rain.
The Forum in Grossarl has always been a unique link to the town. Therefore, it was obvious that the participants of the Forum were invited to the opening ceremony of the new leisure complex on Sunday morning. The rest of the day we used to become familiar with the city and the local cafes. In the evening we got a glimpse of how nice it actually can be in Grossarl and its surroundings, as there was a stunning slideshow and storytelling from a professional local nature photographer.
The entire program for the week was built around tourist trips to sights nearby and trails or hikes of various length and category. Several of the hikes were arranged with local residents and we selected the “Herbs trail” which was guided by the local pedagogue in herbs. The remaining days of the week we mostly did some hiking, and we reached two peaks, one of them is above 2000 meters altitude. We also took a slightly alternative activity. We went to the local bike and ski rental shop and rented two mountain bikes, carrying us the approx. 18 km to Tallschluss (the end of the valley). Along the way we got a really beautiful ride through a stunning valley. All evenings there were different events, such as the above mentioned slideshow and a sing-along song evening, where you met most of the Forum participants.
The last evening the city centre was closed for through traffic and tables and benches were set up. Those participants who attended the Forum 10, 20, 25 and 30 times were honoured and the local hunting club saluted them and the band played music.
Will we all meet again in 2011?
Grossarl 2010 has been a different experience with beautiful scenery and good company, and will be something we would consider doing again at a later date. We can only encourage also young adult scouts like we to come and be part of it, because the more we are the more fun it will also be at the next 2011 Forum in Grossarl from 18-25 June.
Greetings from two young enthusiastic Scouts being in their 30’s
Kirstine Laustsen and Soren Fischer, Denmark
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