Go Jamboree Service Camp 2009

Two years ago Go Jamboree went to a Build Weekend for the World Scout Jamboree, we arrived Friday, worked all-day Saturday, went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in the Evening and went home on Sunday. This weekend we did something similar, unfortunately there isn’t another WSJ to help out with so I picked us out a campsite and cinema for Mary to get us booked on as service crew.

We arrived at Danemead Campsite from 7pm, we had originally planned to be camping but due to the silver tongued efforts of Colin and Dave we managed to get use of a building (which as it turns out was built by Italian POWs). The motives for this weren’t entirely altruistic as there were several jobs for us to do in and around the building! It turned out to be a blessing though as the wind and rain weren’t the kindest this weekend and we were certainly aching by the end of the Saturday.

Once we’d settled in we started cleaning the kitchen, which involved Spoon, Knife and Fork soups! With the cooking equipment and CD player clean we made a start on supper and began to wind down with some Monty Python Fluxx; a game of cards with a changeable ruleset. Its surprising how much I’d forgotten about MP, lucky The Meaning of Life was on the Movie channels on the Monday for a refresher course, coincidence?

Saturday, 18th June 2009

Mary and Dave Painting Wagons and Trailers at Danemead Campsite

We all emerged from the dorms at around 7-8am, Dave was cooking us all a wonderful cooked breakfast to start the day with. We expected the Warden around 9am so quickly sent out the fetchers for supplies, for those left behind we finished off some tidying and Colin and I introduced the Explorers to the game.

Danemead Campsite Car Park before and after Go Jamboree

Started off branding the sites new Trailers with paint and quickly moved on to trimming the brush from the Car Park, not an easy task (photo right). It was a little weird because most Leaders would avoid giving sharp implements to their YP but we gave them scythes and the Combustion Powered Quad-Blade Rotator (or Brushcutter for Short).

Rather than leaving the brush were it fell we were asked to burn it which we grudgingly accepted. 😉 To get it there we had to transport it to the new Fire circle, later we would find that the old one was under 4 feet of shrubbery! Anyway, getting it to the campfire was going to be difficult as all the trolleys/trailers were flat beds, seriously what sort of campsite doesn’t have them with sides? So we ended up going back and for a bazillion times with Wheel Barrows.

Mike and Colin's Shrubbery Burning Campfire

Team Scout started the campfire with 1 match, having lost two to the wind, honestly the wind caught them, I forgot to light from an up wind position! When the fire reached a sufficient heat we piled on the vegetation and put the entire campsite under cover of smoke which made for some spectacular photos one I’ve used for the title image.

After breaking for Lunch and continuing more of the same all afternoon we sat down to finalise the plans for watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Considering the amount of hard work during the day we decided that stenching out the cinema wouldn’t be the kindest thing for the other patrons so we opted out. Instead, with a little jury-rigging we fed the Xbox phonos through the main deflector and into the Pig Music Box. This enabled us to watch, for those following my tweets, Keeping Mum but due to unforeseen technical difficulties and a Moth we changed the in hut première to Kiss Kiss Bang Gang.

Sunday, 19th June 2009

Sunday was like most last days of camp, we very slowly packed up our own kit and began scrubbing the hut down behind us. Leaving the building a lot cleaner than when we arrived was a very satisfying experience, Fred and John, the Wardens were very pleased with our work and gifted us some site badges aswell.

I thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing with my Fellow Go Jammers and I hope everyone else enjoyed it as much. The comments and suggestions have been positive that we will attempt to do something next year, probably not to the same site but it would be nice to come back some years later to see how thing have changed.

Scout Network Gathering 2008

For the Milton Keynes Scout Network, the Network:MK, this is the one time of the year we can expect to see all our members. Whether it be University, work or disinterest that stops a member coming to the weekly meetings they are almost sure to turn-up for the Long Easter weekend in West Lancashire. It’s hard not to understand why; drinking, food, adventure, fun, friends and tents what more could you not possibly want from a weekend?

As such there is usually a major effort to co-ordinate transport, this year 8 cars full of people, equipment or both made the expedition. My chariot, the Aluminium Falcon, would be transporting the cheerful Faye, the cherubic Lisa and the tempestuous Kat. Originally I would’ve had Matt as well but a reshuffle meant I didn’t so there was more room for everyone else.

With my trusty Sat Nav I set off for Great Tower Campsite, however that is not where it was taking me! Luckily I corrected this problem mid journey however the arrival time I had told the passengers was much earlier so I had to bare the brunt of their dissatisfaction. I probably would’ve been able to get away without a sully to my character if I hadn’t lost faith from passenger doubt on the last leg; I turned the car around and asked for directions! Yes, I know, a bloke asking directions, but if I had just kept going for 100m I would’ve made it and no-one would’ve thought the less of me.

Most of the first day we just spent catching up with each other, you know how it is when you’ve not seen your closest ‘old skool’ friends in months. We kept to our own little site on the first evening, with beer flowing, good music and old friends why would you need much more? Although we weren’t on our usual site with our own private ‘lake’, admittedly we couldn’t fit on it anymore but it really was a nice site, the new tenants certainly seemed to be enjoying it.

Saturday, Day Two

The second days tends to be a lazy one, I was originally going to do Wii games in the morning just because it would be nice to play against some similarly aged Scout that most likely play a lot more than me, I figure even if I get my butt whooped at least I might pick up some tips. In the end I opted against this for a lay in instead, Saturday night always has the big band that you stay up for.

My afternoon activity was Horse riding, I can’t remember ever doing it before so this would be something new. I was expecting a quick introduction course, a trot journey seeing the local countryside then perhaps a little cantering or galloping back at their pasture. With a quick get to know you we went for a trot around the local village and we were done. It was a pleasant experience, I was riding a 15 hand tall Stallion called Father Ted (there was a Dougal in the herd too). He was well behaved and I enjoyed several conversations with him during our time together.

During the wind-down before dinner, we gathered wood and relaxed around the campfire waiting for our hiking team to return. There was a slight unease in the camp as the whether can gotten colder than expected on the hilltops and winds were picking up. They made it home safely and with a few picture of them hiking on snow laden footpaths. To distract ourselves there was some larking about, particularly with my camera, which is why I’ve got some awfully bad artistic shots, but you have to take some bad shots to learn what your doing wrong!

After dinner and a quick change into our fancy dress, between us we had a Traffic Warden, a Jedi Knight, Pirates, Optimus Prime, a 90s Scout, a Pilot and a whole lotta in between. The costume seemed to get us a lot of attention at the Bield, were the band was playing. The band are rather awesome, I particularly look forward to their With or Without You and I’m a Believer each year.

Sunday, Day Three

Every year we make our own little trip offsite, we did consider going further a field than Ambleside Park but considering how late it was when we finally got our arses into gear the journey time just didn’t leave us with long enough there to be worthwhile. We had a lot of fun in the snow, making snowmen, chillin’ our drinks, climbing the mound and in the children’s adventure playground (naughty us!)

I pretty much handed over my camera to Abby that afternoon, she wanted to get some practise in taking shot with an dSLR camera before she starts her course in the autumn. Her shots weren’t half bad, she tries as hard as me to get some artistic ones, I think she does a little better, not sure if that’s luck or me being over critical. I don’t think I’m a natural for that sort of thing, I’m naturally oriented to take photos with purpose not creativity so go for her and her raw talent.

With the full moon this weekend I was hoping to get some lovely campsite landscape photos, particularly from the top of Tower rock, but I didn’t want to go all that way on my own just for some photos and nobody made a point of going up all that way so I didn’t. I did get this cracking shot from our site, I’ve embellished it a little with photoshop but its a nice one nonetheless.

Monday, Day Four

We wanted to make a quick getaway with a meetup at the M6 services, I wasn’t too keen on this as I’m not one for driving fast which meant I was likely to be getting some stick for everyone seeing my car occupants walking in rather than us watch everyone else.

We did alright for time on the journey home, taking a scenic route around the first part of the M6 out of Lancaster, a longer route but with a higher constant pace. I’d rather be driving slowly for longer than crawling for shorter. Overall the return journey was the same as the full voyage time home.

This was another fantastic Gathering weekend, unfortunately I pushed it this year being ever so slightly too old to attend but luckily the organisers didn’t mind so much seeing it was my farewell to Network event. I’ve got the option to go next year as staff but I’ll make my mind up on that one closer to the time.

Delivery Day

To cleverly order the exact amount of kit for the World Scout Jamboree attenders orders were taken from every Unit and person for what they wanted from a catalogue of items, anything from cufflinks to neck-ties was available to order. The orders were taken a whooping 6 months earlier and today we finally get the first of our kit with the World Scout Jamboree Brand on.

For International Service Team Members like myself its just for the Jamboree management to save some pounds on delivery which means that the money saved can be spent on something much more worth while like improved food services or a few extra types of brew in the IST bar tent.

For Unit Leaders its an entire different kettle of fish, they have they have to collect not only their own kit but all the kit of the participants in their Unit! They each get (sleeping tents, Uniform, badges, scarf, woggle, ruc-sac and holdall more…) so there is an awful lot to take.

As well as the kit collection a few presentations have been scheduled to lift the veil on information pertaining to arrival and a few other unknown aspects.

And possibly the most important event to all the members of the the Go Jamboree website; a chance to meet each other!

What started as a simple circle around a rather flimsy mess shelter turned into a small village of Go Jamboree members, past present and future! It was marvellous to meet some people who until now were either had their posts associated to their profile through a username or nondescript avatar.

Having put so much time into creating the website, forum and paraphernalia getting thanks and congratulations in person it was very heart-warming to know that people are appreciative.

Hopefully I’ll get to meet all of our members at the world Scout Jamboree!

Scout Network Gathering 2007

This was to be my first independent voyage to the land of West Lancs. In previous years I’ve hitched a ride with almighty Neil a couple of times, and indeed Jon Ellison once but this year due to academic demands I’m arriving unexpectedly late home into the Easter Holidays and so I depart alone.

The Millennium Canary should be upto it, we’re going to be breaching the 50000 mile mark at some point, either on the way there or on the way back so this is a rather important milestone in the cars history. I know I’m going to wish that I had something more than a radio and tape player for this presumed 5 hour drive but at least I get to listen the the local stations and listen to their accents.

Arrived early expecting to be one of the first on site, I was infact around the last! Most had arrived the day before to assure our usual pitch!

Saturday was quite docile, we spent most of the day in Ambleside in the park playing Frisbee and chilling, fortunately we didn’t have a run with 2 little kids wanting to watergun us. In the evening we played some Guitar Hero, Div and Kelly both did there stint on Dead or alive.

To be concluded

Harlequin Disco

In an aid to raise Funds for her Jambo-fee Merry has organised a Disco near enough to Saint Patrick’s Day for the theme to be green. Since the Disco has been done with some help from her Ranger Guide unit my fair lady will be there, and having beautiful red hair you know she’s going to look good dressing in theme!

This is also a good excuse for many Go Jammers to get together and party so hopefully the attendance will make a large reduction on the amount she is lacking. At meagre £s;5 for entry you know that its not all going to her as the hall has to ask for something, then there is the disk jockey and then….

I was happy to be there, although I didn’t see the point of her inviting other participants, I mean if they give £s;5 to her, and she gives them £5 for going to their barbecue (or whatever) then they’ve both ended up with the same amount anyway. Alas I suppose you at least get the evening together.

It was a goodnight, good songs (with the DJ needing a little prompting) slightly small drinks provided by courteous bar staff. Eventually Colin and I got fed-up of that so when into the main bar for a pint of Coke each, boy we got some funny looks and eventually got told to leave was our “party of people” were supposed to stay in our room. Pft.

Well here’s hoping that this little shindig helped the cause, I don’t wear a feather boas just for fun you know!

Comodities

There are many things available for free that everybody has in some form or another. The time for example; a Rich Person would have a highly expensive watch or an aboriginal could tell you by looking at the Sun. In either case I’m sure they would tell you without cost.

There are more important properties than that though, and most of them are intangible. Among my favourites are Freedom and Honour. Freedom, in all its forms, can be taken away, its happened extensively throughout history and I’m not qualified to quantify it. The other, honour, I am quite happy to talk about.

A person’s behaviour, attitude, and honesty all play big parts in someone’s honour. Someone who acts wrongly but has the best of intentions has honour, someone who is caught lying about it does not. There are many aspects to honour, a trait that is less a less represented by the person but by little bits of paper marked with “CV“, resumé and ‘balance’.

All too often society, even individuals shun someone who on one occasion acted rudely, even inappropriately but for the other 364 days in the year has been a upstanding individual. People have started to forget a person’s honour and how important it is. So next time someone ticks you off think how long you’ve known them and whether their reason for being that way was well intended but was received poorly.