My World Scout Jamboree 2015 Kit List (v1.3)

I’ve been lucky enough to be selected to go as an International Service Team (IST) member to the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan during 2015. Having been to a few Jamborees before I know what to pack! Below you can see my kit list, and at the bottom a PDF you can download to print off to use as your own packing list checker.

Continue reading My World Scout Jamboree 2015 Kit List (v1.3)

Sunrises on a New Century

Here it is, the actual 100th Birthday of Scouting, 1st August 1907 to 1st August 2007, some 23 Scouts (everyone forgets that Baden-Powell counts as well) started the movement on Brownsea Island at 8am to the sound of 3 blasts from a Kudu horn. Now a century later, at 28 million members Worldwide, we’re the largest uniformed youth movement.

To mark this special occasion an entire day of the 21st World Scout Jamboree has been moulded to fit a special programme including a 6am wake-up for a 8am ceremony to mark exactly when the first camp started. To dawn in the new century Peter Duncan, the current Chief Scout, blew the Kudu horn. This event was witnessed by hundreds of Scouts at Brownsea Island, by thousands via Satellite link-up at Hylands Park (Jamboree site) and millions across the World through television.

After some moving words Peter Duncan led us with The Promise, a promise at the root of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, from country to country, from person to person its different but the meaning is the same; to do your Best, to keep your allegiance and to follow the Scout Law.

Keeping politically correct Peter Duncan performed the international promise but most spoke their own version, myself I opted for the UK Version:

On my honour, I promise that I will do my best,
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people,
And to keep the Scout Law.

After this moving experience we were treated to a fitting speech from HRH the Duke of Kent, President of the Scout Association UK and a reading of a letter from the Queen of England.

All in all a very impressive event, but something completely unexpected, the Current Lord Baden-Powel, the founder’s Grandson, graced us with a letter written by B-P to be read after his departure.

And to round off the mornings celebration to a selection of musical performances we all tried to get our special Sunrise Neckers signed by everyone around us, preferably from as many nationalities as possible.

Buckinghamshire Centenary Camp

Many moons ago a Buckinghamshire Guide Unit, Hughenden Valley Guides asked for my assistance leading at the Scouting Centenary Camp in Bucks. I quite happily accepted the offer for 2 reasons; the most important being ‘fun’ and the second as a tale for afterdark on a Scout camp in the future.

The weekend started of a little breezy but calmed down on the Saturday morning. A first point of order was to erect an entrance gate, I was to supervise the Guides performing this activity. What I didn’t expect was to have to teach the Guides how to tie knots! Apparently this troop had performed all sorts of outdoor pursuits like climbing and kayaking but were never taught basic knot tying. Despite this they put to use lashings and clove hitches quite well to construct a sturdy pyramid gate which they later decorated in multicolour camouflage netting they’d made prior to the event.

There was a small multi-ethnic concert in the evening along with a gigantic necker presumably constructed from all the neckers in a particular local, I couldn’t really hear :(. But it looked good non-the-less.

Sunday turned out to be one heck of a day, the weather just went from bad to worse. Tents that had been put up sufficiently started leaning over and had to be strictly re-pegged to stop from flying away. Other campers were not so lucky as we saw more than 1 hike tent make like a tumble-weed in the gale force winds.

At some point it became obvious that we couldn’t last out the storm and started making preparations to send the girls home. There would be no quick escapes and we eventually hid out in the miniature fiesta tent we dined in.

With the onsite activities quickly packing up, or in some cases closing down boredom and unhappiness became infectious so entertainment had to be jury rigged in a limited environment with little apparatus. Combining a beach ball weighted down in the corner with a wall made of the girl’s camp ‘buckets’ dividing the tent in two I improvised a volley ball tournament. This kept everyone occupied for a lot longer than I expected and next moved onto verbal games and then some right out of the Guiding handbook.

As the afternoon pressed on the rain started to breach the tent and any pen and paper games quickly went out the window, actually it was through the walls but that doesn’t really matter. Majority of the girls had been picked up by this point so the remaining girls and I moved to a smaller tent to wait. With the area too small to move I grabbed my book (you should always have playing cards and a book on camp) to read to the girls. Usually I’d have the Douglas Adams classic, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy with me but with the highly acclaimed Order of the Phoenix AND the final book; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows due out this summer I was re-reading my way through all the books and was upto Chamber of Secrets.

We each took turns reading a chapter, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to read aloud with it being so long since I’ve had to read anything in public, although saying that I had done a lot of speaking in public since they which has obviously helped as I read through Chapter 1 without any major trips.

As we read through the book the winds continued to gush and the rain to blanket down, the numbers remaining dropped and soon it was just the leaders to pack up the remaining 3 tents and leave for a hot drink at Mary’s Cottage, the troops intrepid Leader home.

Despite the hardship I certainly enjoyed the weekend, I grew as a person as I better understand the Guiding dynamic and the inherent pitfalls of hands-on leading. So I say a big thank you to Hughenden Valley Guides and I hope we can do it again something similar in the future.

100 Days till 100 Years

Many members of Go Jamboree have been counting down from 718 days (EuroJam till WSJ) so with this being the last day of a 3 digit countdown the excitement will grow that little bit more than usual.

What is it we’re counting down to?

The 21st World Scout Jamboree is a once in every 4 year opportunity, similar to the Olympics, except that this event is extra special, we are also celebrating the 100 Year anniversary of the first camp at Brownsea Island held by Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell in 1907 with 22 boys. Now a century later there are members in practically every Country and territory across the globe with memberships numbering near 29 million!

The only requisite for attendance is age. To attend WorldJam you need only be 14-17 years of age at time of the event. So its possible that if you have a Birthday on the cusp of the start and finish dates then you might not be able to go as a participant.

Don’t fret, you can go when you are over the age of 18 but you will be part of the Jamboree Organising Team, most likely was one of the ~8000 International Service Team (IST) or if you’re lucky enough as Jamboree Development Team (Leader to many IST).

Still there are other ways, Unit Leaders will have to go look after their participants, and someone has to organise the Units (Contingent Managers) so aslong as you are willing to do a little work there will be something for you to do.

Go Jamboree 1 Year Anniversery

Over a year ago at the European Scout Jamboree there was an epiphany, the EuroJam forum was closing and there were no plans to launch a WSJ one anytime soon. So to bridge the gap a forum for contingents was created hosted on the most obscure of hosts, hidden in the furthest deeps of the interweb, the site grew and moved onto its own pastures.

Since the original conception 365 days have passed and the forum stands tall at 280 members and 12,000 posts. I knew the idea had a lot of potential but I never thought it would result in what we have, a critical mass of multiple social groups interacting and attracting more everyday, a logo with meaning routed in the deepest core of Scout teachings and an ever growing memorabilia collection.

It certainly turned out well but so far the competition has been fleeting, although I have no doubt that when the official WSJ site and forum launches it will be difficult for us to shine a light compared to the prestige that precedes it. What I can tell you is that regardless we will keep expanding the Go Jamboree forum making and keeping it better than anything else out there, the EuroJam was under featured and we kept wanting more from it I feel we’ve shown what we wanted and how it can be done.