• May 11, 2015
  • 322

ZHPnL bets on the young

After the last Extraordinary Meeting, ZHP in Lithuania has new authorities. Elections were not just formality – the whole executive board has been changed. Is that a predictor of changes? “The winds of change will definitely be felt” – Sabina Maksimowicz, the new leader of ZHPnL, told Wilnoteka.

This year’s Extraordinary Meeting of ZHP in Lithuania has taken place due to the resignation of two board members. According to the organisation’s charter, in the case when 1/3 of the members resign from office, an Extraordinary Meeting must take place in order to elect new authorities. The candidates are nominated by board delegates, and the nominated person has to give their consent to present their candidacy. “The meeting was full of emotions as the issues which are important for the board, including the personal ones, were brought up” – says the pwd. Ewa Giliauskienė.

Phm. Sabina Maksimowicz was elected the leader. Not only does the new leader has never been a leader before, but also she is the first woman and the youngest leader in the history of ZHPnL. ”I am getting used to that thought, it is an interesting experience” – she told Wilnoteka. Maksimowicz has been studying at Medical University in Warsaw for 4 years,  which does not stop her from participating in scouting organisations in the Vilnius region: “Vilnius is definitely closer to my heart than Warsaw, and I stay loyal to it” – she stresses.

The newly-elected board mainly consists of people who also have never been part of a similar board. The leader is the only one who has already been a member of the previous board, she then was acting as the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs. “The board has been renewed in many ways, so that acquiring a common direction, common aims, both for the board and for particular organisations is crucial to us right now”.

Sabina Maksimowicz enjoys the trust and support among other scouts. “She is young but very energetic, ambitious, she is not guided by her feelings but always looks for strong arguments and talks calmly, which is very important during heated debates – HO Paweł Giliauskas comments the choice. – She is determined and always stubbornly pursues her aim. Apart from that, experience that she gained as the Commisioner for Foreign Affairs matters a lot. It will allow our board to see the world much more broadly, which may have already been noticed during the last board when the leader introduced the idea of cooperation with the Confederation of European Scouts (CES). The choice is also important for younger scouts as it shows that you do not have be over 40 to carry out an important role – engagement and experience in working with scouts is enough.”

And what does the matter of the quota looks like in ZHPnL’s board? The women definitely prevail. Śnieżana Katowicz became the rapporteur of the young scouts, while phm. Wika Strenakowa is the vice-leader. As for men, there is the quartermaster (pwd. Romuald Dadeło), the scout chief (phm. Ryszard Gierasim), and the chaplain (ks. Pwd. Jarosław Spiridowicz). It is no coincidence: “The female scouts’ organisation is numerous, it works very vigorously – the leader explains – Besides, it has been well known for many years that female scouts are more courageous when it comes to taking up new challenges, and they accept the proposed appointment more willingly. They are not afraid to say: yes, I agree, even if the task is a big challenge. They understand very well that the instructor level is an obligation.”

The new chief scout for females, pwd. Ewa Giliauskienė also wants to start taking more and more intensive actions: “For me, cooperation with the scoutmasters, achieving common goals. I want to draw a lot of attention to education, even outside the Lithuanian borders if it is possible”. The chief scout is graduating from psychology studies, and the female scouts mainly stress her openness and cheerfulness.

Scouting as an adult person’s passions is easier to pursue when it connects a marriage. “I’m glad that my wife is a scout, that she became the scout chief – Pawł Giliauskas stresses. – I know that she can give the girls a lot. The fact that we both are scouts makes it better for us to understand our engagement. I don’t have to explain to her why I want to go somewhere or why I’m sitting in front of the computer, making some kind of project. We just understand each other better.”

Translated by Anna Plebanek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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