Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the Frequent Asked Questions about Witan so far. We'll be updating and adding to these with any good questions we get, so please do keep an eye on it in the run up to Witan!
If you have a questions that we haven't yet answered here, please feel free to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Witan?
Witan is a trip abroad for UK SSAGO, that takes place every four years. Recently this has included visiting Kandersteg in 2012, and Berlin in 2016
. More about Witans of the past can be found on our history page
. The next Witan is being planned for the summer of 2021, to Kandersteg in Switzerland.
Who can attend Witan?
Any current members of SSAGO, or anyone who has been a member of SSAGO since the 18th February 2018 (the date of the AGM where it was decided to hold Witan).
When is Witan?
Witan will take place from Saturday 3rd to Sunday 11th July 2021.
How much will Witan cost?
The final cost of Witan will be £600 to cover the whole 9 days of the trip. Check out our blog post
for a justification and breakdown of the costs.
What will be included in that cost?
The cost of Witan will include;
- Your flights to and from Switzerland from a UK Airport (exact flight details TBC) Option A only
- Transport to and from the Swiss airport to Kandersteg Option A only
- Space in a tent at Kandersteg
- Insurance (see FAQ below)
- Lots of activities (you can pay extra to do even more if you wish)
- An international SSAGO Necker.
When will I have to pay for Witan?
You can pay for Witan in as many or as few instalments as you like, we just ask that you meet the following payment deadlines as a minimum
- At least £150, paid within three weeks of making my booking - the first £150 will act as your deposit
- A further £150 by January 2021
- A further £150, plus any money you choose to spend in the Witan shop, by Easter 2021
- Any remaining money owed (the final £150), will need to be paid in early summer 2021.
What are my options with regards to travelling to and from Witan?
We’re offering two transport options to and from Witan;
- Option A: This will include all of your transport from a UK Airport (exact flight details TBC), to Kandersteg and back
- Option B: You will be responsible for getting you and your personal kit to Kandersteg by yourself, and getting you and your personal kit home afterwards. We will remove the cost that we are charged by our travel providers from your final payment installment(s).
Will there be regional flights on offer?
Regional flights were offered in the booking process, however flights from Manchester are not available on our travel days. We may be able to offer flights from Edinburgh if there is sufficient demand for this.
However, anyone is welcome to book on choosing travel Option B and arrange their own travel to Kandersteg and back.
Do I need a passport to book onto Witan?
You’ll need a valid passport to complete your booking (regardless of whether you are Option A or B) and it will need to be valid for at least 6 months after we return from Witan, so if you haven’t got one at the moment, or if it will expire before the 11th January 2022
, then you need to get one sorted out as soon as possible. Passport renewals can take up to 3 weeks and first time applications will take at least 6 weeks, so if it looks like your new passport won't get here in time, or if there is a problem please contact us on email@example.com
before booking closes.
How does accommodation work?
The price of Witan includes a space in a shared tent which will be allocated closer to the time of the trip. There will be a mechanism in place to have some say over who you share with, when this takes place.
We will also be offering some indoor accommodation in Booking Stage 2, however, if you would like to discuss the possibility of having an individual tent, or require indoor accommodation for a medical or similar reason, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
so we can save you a space.
What insurance is provided by Witan, and will I need to take out my own cover?
Insurance provided by Unity (Scout Insurance Services) is included in the cost of Witan. Coverage will only be taken out after bookings have closed, and after all participant places and details have been confirmed.
You must fill out our questions for the insurance company fully and correctly when you make your booking. Failure to do so could invalidate your insurance for the entire trip. The insurance will cover personal accident and medical costs, personal belongings, loss of Passports etc. The full details of our insurance cover provided is available here
The insurance will not cover disruption or delays due to COVID-19.
You are of course welcome to take out your own personal travel insurance in addition to this.
What level of fitness is required for different activities?
Some level of fitness will be required for the more challenging activities, however there is plenty on offer for any fitness level. Many of the activities that are likely to need a higher level of fitness, such as the overnight hikes, are organised directly by KISC. They rate all their activities by their physical difficulty on their website
, so if you’re concerned we’d suggest taking a look at these ratings on their website before the activity selection booking stage opens in the new year.
Will there be a buddy system?
Part of the fun of Witan, and all international trips, is meeting new people and making new friends, and we’d really encourage everyone to enter into the spirit of that, as much as they feel comfortable to do so, and not just stay with your existing friends. That being said, there will be some sort of buddy system in place for those who wish to use it.
Can I arrive late or depart early so I don’t miss my graduation?
When you book, you must choose Option B, and email the committee on email@example.com
before booking closes so we can agree your exact arrangements.
How could Brexit Impact the trip?
We are closely monitoring the situation with regards to Brexit. Current UK Government advice
indicates that when travelling to most EU countries or Switzerland as a tourist from the 1st of January 2021 for less than 90 days in a 180 day period you would not need a visa.
What are the rules regarding alcohol?
When booking, all participants agree to SSAGO's standard event behaviour policy which covers SSAGO's approach to alcohol. Witan will additionally follow KISC's rules on alcohol, and their guidance is as follows:
"Though we discourage alcohol consumption, KISC is not an entirely alcohol free centre. The majority of guests are under aged children and youth. We therefore expect from all our guests to be role models and reduce the consumption of alcohol to a minimum, if at all. Drunken behaviour is NOT tolerated on our property and may lead to removal from the KISC property"
What personal kit is required?
We’ll be providing tents, so the kit you’ll need for Witan is very similar to what you might take on a typical summer camp in the UK. We will publish a recommended kit list on the Witan website so everyone knows the sort of kit that they should bring with them.
How can I get involved with the planning of Witan?
Keep an eye on the get involved
page for new opportunities!
My question hasn’t been answered here, what should I do?
If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(and you never know, your question may even end up on here!)
After our Witan 2021 webinar, we've pulled together some of the questions we received about how Coronavirus may affect Witan, and have highlighted them with more detailed answers below.
How likely is it that Witan will be cancelled or postponed, and when will that decision be made?
At this point, with us being eight months out from Witan 2021, we’re still confident that the trip will be able to go-ahead as planned, although obviously contingency planning and monitoring the covid situation are now, and have for some time been, a core part of how we prepare for Witan. News of recent successes in developing vaccines do seem positive, and further increase the chance that Witan will be able to take place.
However, we only have access to the same information on how the virus is developing and what restrictions are currently in place as you. The situation has changed enormously over the nearly eight months that we have been living with Coronavirus, and as the situation continues to change further, it will likely still be some time before we will know if cancelling or postponing Witan is necessary. As with last year, we would aim to make this call as early as possible to minimise any financial losses.
What would happen to my payment if Witan 2021 were to be postponed or cancelled?
As the trip is so far away, we are not really yet in a position to be able to make guarantees either way as to what refunds would be available, should we be forced to cancel or postpone again.
What we can say, which will hopefully help inform your decision as to whether or not to book on, is that for Witan 2020 we were able to refund everyone all but £15 of their Witan fees, and that we will constantly be making judgements as our planning progresses throughout the year, of what money we commit and when, to strike the best balance we can between ensuring the trip can take place and offers good value, whilst doing everything we can to minimise the risk to participants.
How could specific Coronavirus restrictions affect Witan?
Since March, various parts of the UK have had many different levels of restrictions placed on them to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, and the exact nature of these restrictions change regularly. With Witan still eight months away, it would be impossible to accurately predict what sort of restrictions will be in place in different parts of the UK or Switzerland at the time that the trip is due to take place.
However, it is worth noting that SSAGO follows the Scouts and Guide Coronavirus guidance, which only allows international trips to take place once we are in the ‘green’ readiness level. This is defined as being either when there are no new cases, or when a vaccine is readily available. With the latest vaccine news looking promising for early 2021, this is hopeful, and will likely lead to a drop in the amount of other restrictions that are placed on us.
If you experience any issues in the booking process, please contact email@example.com.