In our inaugural international trip for our newly formed Network section, 50 participants, comprising scout leaders and MSF volunteers from across the UK, embarked on a remarkable journey to Bosnia. Our mission: to learn, connect, and draw inspiration from the resilient spirit of this remarkable nation.

A pivotal part of our journey included a visit to the Srebrenica Memorial, serving as a solemn reminder of the atrocities committed in the 90s. At this poignant site, we paid our respects to the thousands of innocent lives lost and heard firsthand accounts from survivors, reinforcing the significance of never forgetting history. Certainly, we will never forget the horror we felt, walking past plaque after plaque after plaque, each bearing testimony to the generations of families who were completely erased from existence during the five day massacre. It was a moment that left us shaken to the core.

We also explored the picturesque cities of Mostar, Konjic, and Sarajevo, each with its own unique story to share. From the preservation of historical landmarks to the haunting presence of bullet-ridden buildings that stand as living testaments to the recent past, the cultural and historical richness of these places was truly captivating.

A key highlight of our trip was the invaluable lessons we were able to derive from speaking with the survivors themselves. Their resilience, perseverance, and unwavering strength of character left a deep impact on us. From the incredible courage they had to have to face down the fourth largest military in the world (at the time), with scant resources and military training, to their incredible ability to rebuild most of the country in the years since, the people of Bosnia demonstrated the very best of human spirit, fortified by their unwavering conviction in Allah. Their stories also served as a reminder to us all of our own privilege and the vital importance of never taking the freedom to practice our faith for granted.

Amidst these powerful experiences, there were also moments of levity, and ample opportunities for fun and adventure. White-water rafting and hiking allowed us to immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of Bosnia. These activities not only served as a reminder to remain hopeful and resilient in the face of hardships but also underscored the importance of appreciating the natural beauty of the world around us.

This journey has been a profound and life-changing experience for our Network section. This section has been developed to ensure that as our young people graduate from the official scouting program, we can continue to support their development and guide them through the challenges of higher education, careers, and other life choices they will now face. By investing in these leaders, equipping them with valuable lessons and age-appropriate opportunities and experiences, they are better prepared for the journey ahead and have more to offer the young people they will now mentor. This journey reinforces our commitment to nurturing future generations with a deep sense of empathy, understanding, and resilience.

Experiences like this are essential for personal growth and global awareness. We wholeheartedly encourage everyone to consider embarking on a similar journey. It’s not your usual trip; it really is an opportunity to expand your horizons, gain perspective, and make a lasting positive impact.

Bosnia, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for the profound lessons, the inspiration, and the unforgettable memories you have gifted us.