One year ago, I returned home from the best summer of my life. Over 21 days, I made new international friends, learnt about different cultures and was able to share my stories. Since my return a year ago I have been on a reunion camp, raised funds for EJ2020 (let’s not talk about that), met up with my Shropshire friends, been on a day trip to Poland, become Maths captain, written some more blog posts, been in lock down and finished year 12. I am still so grateful that it was COVID-19 and not COVID-18 but I never expected a year after returning from WSJ the world would be a completely different place.
Today’s blog is going to be slightly different- it is an update on EJ2020. A few weeks ago we were told that it has been postponed until next year due to the current pandemic however, due to turning 17 recently, I will be over the age of 18 next summer. At the time, we had to wait for our national organisations to respond with what they will do and on Saturday (2nd May) I discovered that UK Scouting decided that over 18s will not be able to attend as participants whom if the Jamboree was put on this summer would have been.
I am very disappointing by this decision made due to having spent the last year fundraising with many of my peers. This action has not been taken very well by all year 12 students as other national Scout organisations are still allowing those who will turn 18 to attend including UK Girl Guiding.
I would like to challenge this as why should we be disadvantaged after all our hard work fundraising?
Yesterday I received the news I’d been waiting for; the European Jamboree has been postponed until next year.
To be honest I was expecting this outcome but it’s still a big disappointment, mainly because I now have the added uncertainty of whether I’ll be able to go next year as I will be turning 18 before the event.
I had a good chat to Blue about it all and he’s sure that whatever happens next will be just as amazing. He’s also feeling blue about the situation but is excited by the prospect of a new adventure.
Anyway back to the revision for my year 12 assessments – 84
A couple of weeks ago, I met with some of my World Scout Jamboree unit in Birmingham. The reunion included Blue the bear and if you remember Brian the flamingo. Yes, you read that right, we walked around Birmingham with a flamingo and a bear.
We started the day off with coffee before then heading to do a little bit of shopping. We went into the Worlds largest Primark where there was a Disney café, a Harry Potter section, and over 5 floors of clothing and sales. In the make up section, we decorated Brian (the flamingo) with some of the eyeshadow before we headed to get some food to eat. The downfall here was, we all agreed to meet at McDonalds, except we went too 2 different stores – however, En route we did see a Santander building. (I’m still a proud member of the International Anthony Santander Fan Club)!
After lunch we did a bit more shopping and went into all 3 Pandora shops looking for a charm for my friend. In the end, we managed to find the charm in one of the shops. We then wondered around for a little while before, one of my friends brothers (who did attend WSJ) met up with us and so he took a photo of us by the Bullring statue. We all then wondered around for a bit more until it was nearly time to leave – in order for everyone to be able to get the right trains home as in the morning there was a little bit of a train issue.
A couple of us went into Tesco Express before saying goodbye where we brought a meal deal to share between us all. The chicken and bacon sandwich was very nice – thank you! It was then time to say our goodbyes before everyone headed home.
As I then went to meet my parents, we spotted some bears in H&M home, so conveniently, Blue had to have a photo with them. Also, as we headed home we stopped at IKEA for our usual rendezvous before continuing to head home.
My last World Scout Jamboree meet up camp stared with boarding the minibus and drinking custard – a tradition we have upheld since our very first camp as a unit. Soon, we realised we had no speaker to play music with so started playing I-Spy.
This did not last very long.
Soon, we got the radio on and began listening to BBC Radio 2 – at first the music was substantial until it soon became clear it was mostly 60s music (which none of us knew). We then proceeded to sit in silence for the rest of our journey.
That evening, it was patrol 1s cooking duty where we cooked hot dogs with onion – the onions were so strong that we were all in tears cooking. After supper, we watched a movie called Hot Fuzz before heading to bed.
The next morning we all awoke at 8 o’clock due to the sound of unfashionable music – to say the least. Personally I’m still loving golden hour from our journey up. We then waited for the rugby to be put on except that ITV hub seems to be down – due to the amount if traffic.
We watched the rugby – no spoiler but we lost which was disappointing. Nevertheless, we then played a game of ‘Pigs’ which some of our unit learnt on the Jamboree before doing some reviews. We reviewed our personal unit kit, selection process and then fundraising – which was followed by lunch.
After lunch we played an odd version of netball before heading back inside to review how many camps we had and whether this was substantial enough as well as reviewing our leaders leadership. Following this, we then listened to the county commissioner of Shropshire discussing the Queen Scout Award as well as other Scouting activities happening. We then a went back outside to play the odd version of netball.
In the evening, we were supposed to go on a hike to see a firework display except our dinner was running very late – I learnt a couple of new card games during the wait. After dinner (of chicken and … PASTA!), my patrol quickly finished washing up before we headed on a mini walk to try and watch the fireworks. We saw a few fireworks before heading back and eating pudding.
In the evening, we watched a movie of our World Scout Jamboree experience which included photos and videos from all of our pre-camps. Many laughs later, it was time to head to bed which was around 00:45.
The next morning, we woke up at around 8:30 and started to pack away. Breakfast consisted of pancakes with maple syrup – taking me back to Canada. This was then followed by free time as well as a whole unit reflection. We also played with frisbee and a a game of Ninja.
It was then time to say goodbye to everyone before we headed back home via the minibus. This was very sad with lots of I’ll see you very soon, before we grabbed some lunch and headed back home.
And so it’s not a goodbye, it’s more of a see you later …
This past week 84 has been out and about sharing her Jamboree experience with a local Cub and Scout group and she also visited the little red ninja’s again.
I love going to see people, I especially like going to Rainbows as I get to hang out with Olivia. But boy were they noisy this week! They asked 84 lots of questions including asking, when shown any photo with boys in – “is that your boyfriend?”
Everyone really enjoyed watching the video and I think they’re leaders are going to have to do their best to make their meetings more adventurous. 84 has also been busy making and selling her crafts, I’m excited as 84 has been making Christmas things. Did you know that there are only 65 days until Christmas.
I have been selected to attend the European Jamboree next year (as I like to nickname it EJ2020). The Jamboree is based on ‘ACT’ which is the idea of acting upon the environment to make the world a better place. A few weekends back, I went on my first unit camp with my EJ2020 unit.
On Friday evening we set up camp. We helped to move bags up to the kitchen area before I set up my tent and sorted out my roll mat, sleeping bag etc. I then talked to other people before heading to help put up another tent. The thing with this tent was that someone got told to take down their one man and sleep in a 4 man by themselves. As clever Explorers, we put the outer side of the new tent over the old small one man tent to save time taking down one tent and putting up the whole of the other tent.
That evening we headed to the campfire where we were told who was in each patrol. We were told some of the programme for the weekend including that on the Saturday we would be helping clear some of the site as part of our ACT mini project. As my patrol would be cooking the next morning, we played 2 truths and 1 lie to get to know one another before we soaked up the rest of the campfire. We ate supper and then headed to bed.
On the Saturday morning, I had to wake up slightly earlier as I had to cook breakfast. We cooked bacon for bacon sarnies and then eggs for the vegetarians. After breakfast we washed up before helping put up tents as part of our ACT project. We had to check the quality of the tents before taking them back down again. In the end, the tent I put up was one of the worst tents as so we swapped the good poles of the tent with the broken ones from other groups.
After a quick snack break, we were then on weed cutting duty. My group cut all the weeds around the traverse wall as well as some near a car parking area. The rake I was using kept breaking so at first I fixed it with some rope, but that only lasted for 5 minutes before it broke again so then I used some duct tape which lasted for longer. After this activity, we ate lunch before proceeding to the afternoon activities.
In the afternoon, we stayed in our patrols during a rotation. Our first activity included going around the traverse wall and coming up with our patrol’s name. The name had to include the word ‘ACT’ so our current name is ‘PACT man’. Our next activity was tunnelling where we played hide and seek in the dark followed by a talk from one of our leaders. Our final activity was Tomahawk throwing before we had some free time before dinner.
During this free time, we went back into the tunnels and had music playing through the tunnels. For dinner, we had chicken curry, rice and naan – so a variation of chicken and rice. After dinner, we plotted grid coordinates onto a map for our hike the next day before toasting marshmallows on a fire to make smores. I then headed for an early night to bed.
The next day, we woke up slightly late for breakfast but fortunately did not miss it. After breakfast I packed my bag for the hike before heading off in our patrols. The walk was around 7 miles long and halfway through we met with another patrol and walked the rest of the route with them. After our hike, we returned to the campsite and helped move a few things to help finishing taking camp down. We moved a trailer of weeds before being rewarded with an ice lolly to then take down our tents. Our parents then had a meeting before we were collected and headed back home.
Over the weekend we found a bit more about what our Jamboree experience would be like. We were informed that we would fly to Amsterdam, then travel by train to Berlin and then on to Poland. As part of the main Jamboree, there would also be a 2 day hike as part of the programme. We would then fly directly home.
Never in my Scouting life did I ever think that I’d use a necker to cover a very exposed rip in my shorts. Typically, I would’ve thought my necker would’ve been used as a sling or a bandana yet, it was used completely differently. So how did this come about you may ask (and no it was not intentional).
It was an early Sunday morning and I was helping at a festival to move people’s kit back to their cars: on the Friday evening I had moved the kit from people’s cars to their pitch so today it was the reverse. Proceeding one of the hauls to a car my group were walking back I decided it would be a brilliant idea to sit in my friends wheelbarrow and they could drag me back (1st mistake!). Secondly, I was wearing fairly tight shorts (2nd mistake!) and decided to sit cross legged (3rd mistake!). After less than a minute of being pulled around sat on the wheelbarrow I got out where I noticed my shorts had ripped. Quickly improvising I held the bucket in front of my legs as I waddled back to the base where we were stationed.
Here I realised that I had no spare clothes and only a hi-vis jacket. At first we attempted to create a hi-vis skirt (I’m certain I would’ve pulled it off) until we realised it would not work. It was not until someone mentioned trying my necker that I realised I was not following protocol of ‘Improvise, Adapt and Overcome’. I then was able to tie my necker around my leg and through my belt loop.
The very important lesson I’ve learnt after this experience is that you should never underestimate your Scouting necker. A necker is the key to the Scouts’ motto to ‘Be Prepared’.
So this evening I arrived at Strategy to help out for this weekend. My job for this weekend is to help behind the scenes – doing jobs such as creating the packed lunches, helping on bases etc.
I arrived and put up my tent up, before going to sign in – this year I’m very impressed because I get to wear a helpers lanyard as well as my wrist band. Once I had signed in I then went to help pack the lunches, which will be used over the weekend, into paper bags.
Shortly after, we had a meeting where we were told the 3 (large) patrols we would be in for the weekend and what tasks we would be completing. I found out that my patrol will eat breakfast at 7 followed by helping on the washing up station, which was followed by free time to go and visit the venue, to play with a frisbee, tennis ball, American football and football and to play cards with my fellow Jamboree participants.
Wow! I never quite realised how close the Jamboree is until now. I have now officially finished all of my exams and have prom in the upcoming week.
We have one month to pack, to go on last minute precamps, to wear in hiking shoes and to mentally prepare ourselves for this amazing adventure.
I have my final precamp coming up next weekend and I am super excited. To prepare my readers (and myself) for the Jamboree in America, I will be posting more frequently over the upcoming weeks. But for now, this weekend I will be helping out at Strategy. Look out for the daily blog posts over this weekend.