Basingstoke Voluntary Sports Council
Home hosting in Basingstoke - Who should host?
Anyone that is connected with a sport or school exchange with our twin town of Euskirchen. It is best to encourage younger participants aged between 10 and 16 as this makes hosting easier and allows longer term twinning opportunities.
When placing guests with host families you should always be mindful of the possible combinations and stay clear of any potential mismatches ie. 12 year old girl with 15 year old boy or 18 year old girl with 30 year old man etc. This may all sound common sense, but still needs to be thought about and planned. It is also often best to treat youngsters as staying over for the weekend with friends so don't think you need a separate room or special treatment for guests. They are here to experience English life and not stay in Hotel conditions.
Please remember that when you are hosting children, they are in your care/hospitality, their health and wellbeing are your responsibility. Ensure that Under 18's are never left alone with an adult wherever possible to ensure no safeguarding issues arise.
How many to host?
The answer is, as many as you possibly can comfortably! When your guests are over, they only typically use your home as a base as you will find there is a lot going on.
However many you host, ensure that you are comfortable with the arrangements, again remember to not allow guests of different sexes to share a room unless related. Even though the above statement is common sense; in the eyes of child protection it is always best to err on the side of caution.
What to do?
This is always a tricky subject and cost can often be a stumbling block especially if you are hosting multiple guests.
Guests arrive on a Thursday evening approximately 6pm and leave on Sunday morning about 7am. At some point in the weekend there will be a competition and last evening results celebration on the Saturday evening.
Getting together as a club and playing games is often a cheap way to entertain guests together and allow your guests to touch base with each other whilst integrating both sides. Venues for such outdoor games could be Down Grange, Carpenters down, Memorial park, Eastrop park etc.
Showing off our town centre is often a hit with guests of teenage years. Basingstoke has a lot to offer leisure wise and suggestions to fill the time could include: swimming (Aquadrome), pitch and putt, bowling, cinema and ice-skating.
To give you an example:
- Thursday evening – guests arrive (normally around 18:30hrs) then straight home for younger guests
- Friday morning – competition or social activities
- Friday afternoon/evening – Competition or social activities and maybe BBQ
- Saturday – sightseeing/swimming/shopping etc or more competition
- Saturday evening – results celebration evening for all participants and families
- Sunday morning – guests depart early about 7am
Your guests would more than likely wish to "phone home" especially the younger ones. Please make this as easy as possible bearing in mind they might be homesick.
This is something that is often overlooked yet very fundamental to the Festival of sport. Please always remember that you are not only representing your sport but also your town and country. Nobody finds the following behaviour funny and the Local Sports Council will act upon any reports:
- Mocking the war or racist remarks etc
- Getting people drunk and ill
- Teaching your guests how to swear
- Leaving your guests to their own devices without any assistance or guidance
Please be courteous at all time and where possible try and include your guests in conversations. Make them feel welcome.
What to feed guests
As per common sense it is always advisable to ask your guest if they do not like anything. This could be especially important with allergies. However, in most cases you should be informed of any serious allergies, it is always better to double check.
Generally, feed them what you feed yourselves. The festival is not only to promote sporting links, but also friendships and to expand cultural experiences.
Please make sure that your guests have a packed lunch to travel home with on Monday (be sure to ask them what they want). Be sure to check any up to date restrictions on taking food into other countries
The most important thing is the health of your visitor. Should an emergency occur away from their coach/leader you should not panic and follow these simple rules:
- Assess the situation, find the facts
- Take your visitor to the hospital if needed with medical card
- Contact their sports leader and your own
- Allow their leader to speak to the parents with the facts and resolution
- Once the situation has settled allow your guest to ring home
It is important that your guests’ coach/leader speaks to the parents first. This stops any confusion and panic.
Away visit to Euskirchen - Who should go?
The first answer is, players who hosted in the previous year. We often find that by introducing children into the exchange in this way, that they would be interested for years and build up friendships year on year.
We recommend taking children from ten years old onwards.
A ratio of 1 official to 7 children is the minimum recommended amount to ensure the welfare of your group.
In these days of child protection worries, everything possible will be done by host teams to ensure that families are known and are as safe as possible regarding hosting. All participants have a contact list for leaders if any concerns arise and are with friends for most if the visit to raise any issue. The very young are normally hosted in pairs and the very idea of twinning is that participants get to know each other. All clubs are known to the German officials and any worry will be promptly investigated. After many years of exchanges with no reported incidents, we are confident in these exchanges but still encourage anyone to raise any concern for resolution. As a safety precaution, please ensure that no Under 18 is left alone at any time with an adult.
As a footnote to consider, do your children sleep over or visit friends homes in Basingstoke and are they or yourselves fully confident of the family or friends present ? Can our host clubs 100% guarantee the behaviour of all their hosts and friends ?
Unless you know your host well, it is often hard to think what gift to take with you. Realistically it is a token of gratitude and not so much the gift or the amount spent.
Any generic English gift is recommended: English marmalade or Jam, English chocolates (ensure in tin for good travel), Biscuits or Shortbread. As you can imagine, flowers do not travel well but you can get them in Euskirchen !
Your etiquette is even more important when you are away. Please remember that you are a visitor in someone else’s home and country. Do not abuse it! Common sense should always prevail. The object is to be invited back in two years time so always try to be polite, courteous and well behaved.
If you are old enough to drink, please know your limits. Waking up in a pool of your vomit in someone else’s house is not nice, clever or funny. If you are not old enough to drink; don’t! Underage drinking (especially in excess), is not clever and it invariably embarrasses yourselves, your team-mates and your coach.
What to do?
Simple. Do what your hosts do. Very often your hosts will ask you what you want to do.
Your first person to notify should be your team / coach leader. They will know how to contact others. Allow your coach to get in touch with your family and explain the facts if needed.
If you are feeling ‘home sick’ or you wish to speak to your family, do not be afraid to ask your host, they won’t mind. Please do not abuse the hospitability by continually phoning friends.