1 year on

Sorry for the late blog post again, I am going to have to personally thank my friend for reminding me to blog (and reminded me her birthday is also this week).

So 1 year ago it was my unit’s first ever Jamboree camp. Shocking as it may seem it has felt like yesterday, the time has flown by. At this camp, we missed the Christmas lights, designed our badge and necker, came up with our unit name and sang some Christmas songs.  On the first day of Christmas…

Now one year later, I was given the chance to go to a meet up of the other county in our joint unit and happily went along. I arrived after a long car journey to be welcomed by familiar faces all of which were once strangers to me.

Firstly one of our leaders went through kit to take out with us and what to start asking for Christmas (my list includes a solar power battery pack which is lithium ion batteries not alkaline as the airports will confiscate them). Another one of our leaders talked to us about the Jamboree in a bag and we discussed what activities people had already used and trialled with the different sections.

We also had a debate section where we were given a topic and my team ended up arguing for each side we didn’t agree with. This activity helped us to understand other peoples views on sensitive topics without us offending anyone.

Finally, we played some games. This included NESW (North, East, South and West) as well as a game where we had to transfer M&Ms from one side of the room to the other using straws and bowls. We also had a few other team building games including lining up in height order and then age order without talking.

I had a really great time seeing everyone again and I cannot wait to meet up with my unit for another training camp in January.

A Wild Weekend in the Woods

Trees!

I have been on another training camp with my Jamboree unit last weekend. On the Friday night, we travelled up on the minibus, jamming out to music for 2 hours and catching up with one another.

We arrived at the campsite after pulling down a very very bumpy lane. Once the minibus had parked up, we were told by one of our leaders that there were no proper toilets – instead it was a wooden shed with a hole in the ground which fed the soil.  In the dark I was not prepared for all the spiders I was going encounter especially after Strategy.

State of the art toilet facility!

Before we set up our tents, we had to help the rest of our unit put up the cooking tents and say hello again. Apart from the disaster of me not being able to find my spare batteries and then finding them in the only pocket I hadn’t looked in I could help. We then got to set up our own tents before sitting around the campfire.

Pretty Fire

Around the campfire we had an introduction where we got new numbers to call out when someone would shout ‘number off’ and we’d count in order our new number. We got put into our patrols for the weekend and agreed on a time to wake up and start to light a fire to cook on.

I woke up on time to meet with my patrol to collect fire wood and start the fire. We collected lots and lots of wood as there is no such thing as having too much wood and we started cooking once the fire got hot enough. We cooked the eggs first, then some veggie sausage on a giant saucepan until I found a smaller saucepan so we could start the bacon. I was on putting the bacon onto the frying pan duty and saved my egg to have a bacon and egg buttie. Our patrol then washed up and gathered with other patrols, 20 minutes late, for flag break.

We would be doing 4 rota activities in the morning including; social media, personal hygiene, airport security and washing.

At the social media station we learnt about how landscape should be the natural photo shot with the photo not being staged and hence natural. So, our task was to take natural photos of the other groups without disturbing them.

At the personal hygiene station we learnt that our main goals would be to be happy whilst keeping clean by washing our hands and to always tell a leader if something is wrong. Our task was to be blindfolded with paint on our hands and to wash it off and to stop when we thought they were clean.

At the airport security station we had to work out what items we would be able to take in our holdall going to the USA from the UK and visa versa. I learnt that you can only take liquids of 100ml and your water bottle has to be empty when taking it through security.

Clean as clean can be

Finally at the washing station we had to make our t-shirts muddy and then cleaned them. First we rinsed them to get the majority of dirt out and off of them and then we used hot water with washing powder to wash our t-shirts and then rinsed them in cold water again. We then wrung out excess water and hung them up to dry and went to get lunch.

After lunch we got set the challenge to decide on what our patrol wanted for tea and decide on 2 people to go shopping whilst the rest of the patrol helped with the big bonfire/ campfire we would be having in the evening. By a fair game of rock, paper, scissors it was decided that I and a other person would go shopping. So, with our shopping list and £25 we checked the kitchen pantry and went to catch the minibus to the supermarket.

Look what we foraged!

After a quick stop to a scout hut to get extra utensils on the way, we arrived at Asda to go shopping. We got our trolley and were off. We met the vlogging patrol with their body camera and compared our shopping trollies. My patrol’s trolley contained; pasta, carbonara sauce, bacon, muffins, fizzy drinks and cheese. The other patrol’s trolley contained vegetables and noodles for their stir fry.

Not Spag Bol!

Once finished, we travelled back on the minibus to see the others had built a huge campfire whilst we had gone. As soon as we got back we started cooking our tea. Everyone wanted some of our carbonara and we served many of the VIPs who joined us. There was plenty to share round. We then washed up and headed over to camp break to finish the evening, to name our mascot bear and to play a few games.

After the games we had our massive campfire which the circumference was the size of a trampoline and the height of a traffic light. It went from freezing cold to boiling hot in the split of a second. We then did our sketches in our patrols as well as our campfire song.

The next morning we cooked pancakes with bacon and went full out on toppings. We then broke camp and had campflag where we were told we’d have to walk to the village hall to listen to the parents’ meeting. It wasn’t a long journey walking and we listened to the meeting while eating homemade cake. We said goodbye to our friends from the other county and then we were back on the minibus home – where we stopped off at the services on the way back quickly. We arrived back in our own county and went back our separate ways after our karaoke session in the minibus.

Blue helping with the washing

Our mascot’s official name is now Blue – in the photo you can see Blue having a go at hand washing our clothes.

Rain Rain Go Away, Come Back Another Day …

It’s been the first week of my summer holidays and I am already wanting to go back to school – where there is a set timetable and no kittens running around trying to trip you up.

My first week of no school consisted of seeing my friends, getting a new kitten and doing some homework (yes my teachers really did set me homework over the summer holidays). However, I did have an enjoyable time at my county’s Jamboree unit meetup.

We designed a menu for our September camp where I’ll be with my unit and found out that we will have to walk to buy the food to practice for the Jamboree site. We also looked thoroughly through our ‘Jamboree in a bag’ where I spotted an American football, flags, maple syrup, maracas and much more. I am already planning some activities I could do with different sections with the bag and have looked on the UK contingent website of activities I could do – I can’t wait to make a tipee with my Beavers and other local units around me.

I also found out about some unofficial news about the Jamboree. However, this is only a rumour but if it turns out to be true I’m going to be very, very happy.

After our month long UK ‘heatwave’ I can be glad to say that we have finally had two days of rain – yipee! However, I’m starting to miss the sun which is already preparing me for the heat out on the Jamboree campsite.

This week’s top tip is to frequently check the UK contingents website for any new information. I am enjoying looking at the ‘Jamboree in a bag’ section to look at all the different activities I could run in my local area.

Jamboree Merch

On my unit’s latest Jamboree camp, Evolution, we got our new unit hoodies. They contained our name, our unit badge, our unit number, tea bear and the Scout Fleur De Lis.

We also received our unit’s ‘Jamboree in a bag’ which included a flag from each hosting country: Mexico, USA and Canada, maple syrup, a sombrero and many more bits. The idea of this is to go around to local scout groups and tell them about the Jamboree in hope they will grasp the opportunity when it is available to them.

In a ransom with one of the organisers of the UK contingent, we had to return a previously ‘borrowed’ tea bear cut out in order to be given our own UK contingent necker and badge. We were told to sew our UK contingent badges onto our uniform above the membership badge on your left chest, with the tea bear level NOT the tea cup.

My mum figured the best and easiest way to sew it on was to use a sewing machine and hence used white thread around the bottom of the badge and blue thread around the cup. Other people in my unit have been ironing them on which is one of my pet peeves of badges even though the badge is iron on after quick wash.

On our camp, we also received our fundraising badges and my own personal participator badge which has already been sewn onto my right arm on my uniform underneath all of my unit name tags, district and county badge and my Young Leaders badge.

I hope that some of this information is useful and I am willing to swap my unit’s badge with my blog readers.

Evolution: #stravolution part 2

Many apologies for not posting on Sunday I’ve been very busy recently – apparently one of my jamboree unit has a secret blog and I’ve been trying to figure out who! I’ve also been visiting family-a big shout out to my Grandma ‘Happy Birthday’ it was great to see everyone at your party. One of my cousins couldn’t make the party she was in hospital having my new 2nd cousin.

So last week I posted about helping out at Strategy well this blog post is all about Evolution. It’s similar to Strategy but is for Explorers, Network and their Guiding counterparts.

There were 15 bases including moving a flag pole, an assault course, the caving bus, don’t buzz the wire, axe throwing, belay systems, catch the bean bag in hat, total wipe out and move the golf ball thought pipes. It was a hot and tiring day but our patrol leader kept us motivated and we managed to visit 14 of the bases.

The evening entertainment was a band called The Lost and they were good.

There were several jamboree units there and I’m quite jealous of Unit 82s hoodies, they look great. Unit 82 also took along a paddling pool – seriously cool! I’m also very envious and secretly hoping we steal the idea of the woggles that Unit 81 have.

The food this weekend was yet again delicious and I loved the curry, but didn’t get free chips this weekend 🙁

We got to sleep in some tents from the last World Scout Jamboree so I didn’t need to take my own this time. I think I must have scared away all the spiders as even though I came prepared with my peppermint tea bags I didn’t discover any.

How did we do? We didn’t win but my patrol were in the top 30 out of over 100 teams which I think is pretty good given this is the first time we’ve done something like this as a Unit. It’d be great to do it again next year, maybe I’ll have worked out who the secret blogger is by then.

Strategy: #stravolution part 1.

My Mum says how times have changed since she was a Venture Scout as the last words she said to me when dropping me off at camp this weekend were “have you got your charger cable?” Does she not fully appreciate the Scout motto! Well she certainly does now as next time I go camping she’s threatening to get the plumber in.

Before I write about this weekend, let me tell you about last weekend, when I helped out at Strategy, a event full of activities and challenges aimed at Scouts and Guides. I thought I’d use this blog to give you an idea of what that involved.

I arrived on Friday evening and, after pitching my tent, went to find a job to do as this was a working weekend. Unfortunately there were no jobs to do at the time so I went and explored the site and then investigated the disco. After a tiring evening (I had come straight from school) I went to bed.

We had an early start at a quarter to seven to go and get our breakfast, before working on the packed lunch conveyor belt. We then packed our day sacks ready to ‘man’ the bases.

For the morning I was at the Catapult base, at this base participants could score up to 100 points by catapulting 5 tennis balls and 5 soft balls into a variety of targets like buckets (an automatic 100 points), a paddling pool (20 points each) and a roped off area (5 points each) with bonus points if they ‘accidently’ hit one of the Young Leaders.

After lunch I moved bases to a giant “buzz wire” game. This time they had two minutes to complete the challenge to earn 100 points, but lost points every time they made it buzz.

I helped checked off the wristbands of each person as they came through for dinner and then had other tasks such as being on “hand sanitiser duty” and giving out pudding. After dinner was over I helped out in the café, scooping ice-cream onto waffles and taking payment for ice-cream cones. Even though I was on the ice-cream stand I somehow ended up eating free chips.

Once our set tasks were over we played with an American football someone had brought (well the Jamboree is in the USA) and generally wound down.

When we got back to our tents my Spidey-Senses kicked in. One of my tent buddies had left the inner tent unzipped and we’d been invaded during the day. My skill at spotting spiders no-one else had seen was incredible and we finally got to sleep.

After another early start on Sunday I helped run an “Escape Room” style challenge where they had to solve the puzzles to open a bike lock. After lunch we helped pack up until finally I was rescued and got to go home and rest. It was a lot of rest which is why my blog was so late last week!

The weekend was a good chance to catch up with some of my Jamboree Unit and also find out more about what to expect for when we came back this weekend to take part ourselves.

To end part one of this tale you’ll be pleased to hear that, thanks to a battery pack and the previously mentioned charging cable, my phone just about had enough charge until I got home.

Another Muddy Meetup

Recently, I went on another meetup with my county unit. Some of the things we talked about was our personal developments (PDs), a typical menu and practiced some hand washing.
To start the day, we talked about our personal developments and what we wanted to get out of the Jamboree pre-experience. We will be awarded a badge after we complete our goals which have to be set in specific categories, such as physical, emotional and spiritual.
We also created a draft meal plan for a typical day out on the Jamboree. We planned the cost of a meal and portion sizes, so we had to work out how many ingredients we would need to get. We used the draft list of food which will be available on the Jamboree which included some weird food items to us British, like pre-scrambled egg in a carton.
Finally, we practiced our hand washing skills which will be how we wash most of our clothes on the Jamboree. We got split into teams to wash a muddy white T-shirt which personally I think our group did well, at even though we didn’t win. My group contained the others in the joint unit as well as myself, so we have decided to keep the T-shirt as our group mascot.
I hope everyone has had a great bank holiday weekend, the weather has been a lot nicer compared to my counties meet up last week.

Explorer Scout 84 meets the mini beast from the East

Once upon a time there was a young girl who’s dream was to go to the World Scout Jamboree in 2019.

She passed the first test by getting selected to represent her County and started doing lots of fundraising.

Then the time came to go to her second whole unit meet up training camp.

The weather forecast was for it to be cold, some parents queried whether it was still going ahead (not hers though!) and they were met with the answer ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit’. They are Scouts after all and so should ‘Be Prepared’. At this point I think I should mention that I’m not sure if Baden Powell had this in mind when he started Scouting 111 years ago.

Anyway with 2 sets of thermals, 2 sleeping bags (each able to cope with below zero temperatures) and various other layers to put on should it be a little chilly, she set off for a nice weekend away camping.

The first evening passed without any hiccups and Explorer Scout 84 settled down to sleep, nice and cosy in her 2 sleeping bags. zzz zzz zzz

The next morning they discovered that weather hadn’t been very kind to the cooking tent which had blown across the campsite but Explorer Scout 84 silently reminded herself ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit’.

Explorer Scout 84 ate breakfast and then received her new unit necker and they were so pretty. A sprinkling of snow start to fall and they continued with the day’s activities which now included making mini snowmen and going on a walk as opposed to a hike, owing to the weather conditions (Remember – ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit’).

The evening came and so did the mini beast from the East, except there was nothing mini about it. It was cold, it started snowing more heavily and Explorer Scout 84 just wanted to go to her tent where her 2 cosy sleeping bags were. (Remember – ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit’ and her cosy good kit was waiting for her in her tent!).

After a roaring campfire with toasted marshmallows she settled down in her tent to sleep zzz zzz zzz

The next morning she awoke thinking she had been transported magically to Arendelle as it was very white and cold. Thankfully the kettle was already on so she made herself a good brew.

After a hearty breakfast she sat down to listen to a brief lecture talk about personal development, remembering the key rule ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit’ she carefully produced six personal developments.

After taking a few photos in readiness for this year’s fundraising Christmas card she helped break camp.

Explorer Scout 84 returned home safely with a great appreciation for the British weather, chanting to herself ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit’.

The End

NB The above is a true story of this weekend’s camp, the only thing that didn’t happen was the marshmallow toasting

Joint Unit Meet Up (Day Two)

Getting up at 7:30 to cook breakfast at 8:00 was exhausting having only had a few hours sleep but I survived.

We cooked bacon sarnies and then created menus in more groups. We played ‘Drop it, Catch it’ and ‘The Ninja’ game before it was time for lunch.

We had sandwiches for lunch. We then tidied the halls we had been using and cleared up the space. With a goodbye song of Take me home, Country roads, we then headed back to the minibus and drove back home.

I had a wonderful time and enjoyed making new friends from my joint unit. We have already kept in contact with each other by creating multiple group chats on social media.

Joint Unit Meet Up (Day One)

I had been selected to be part of a joint unit containing 9 from my county and a further 27 from another county.

I was dropped off early Saturday morning to drive for 1 1/2 hours up north. I quickly made friends with the other 7 (1 decided not to come as they had a previous commitment) on the journey.

1 1/2 hours later we arrived and ‘invaded’ the meeting containing the other 27 and their parents.

Once the meeting was finished, all 35 of us went into another room to learn each others names and learn a little bit about each other. We then got split into different groups and each drew a badge and necker design and came up with a team name.

Our team name won and so did some of our necker design. Our team name became Double Blue which somehow managed to rhyme with our unit number.

Before tea we burnt off our energy by playing ‘netball’ which when playing it with lots of boys became more of a contact sport. For tea, we cooked chicken tortillas in groups.

After tea they made us go on a short walk to watch the Christmas lights being turned on, in a nearby town, to find out that we missed them and had walked for 90 minutes to see them. We then got a chance to explore before it was time to walk back in the dark. We were rewarded for our efforts with cake and custard, a personal favourite of mine.

In the evening we were supposed to have watched a movie but the system was not working. So instead everyone decided it would be an ‘amazing’ idea to have a mini party.

Lights out were at midnight but you will not be surprised to hear that everyone was still awake long after this.