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.
A long day of travel, including a scary moment where our coach driver had to turn the coach around on a narrow road, ended with us arriving in Canada late on the Monday night. We put up our tents quickly before meeting a Welsh unit (Unit 97 “The Fluffy Dragons“) who were camped opposite us – we were introduce by them spraying bug spray everywhere due to the Canadian bugs. After our introduction, we made our way up towards the main hut where we grabbed some supper before crashing to bed. We did find out that we would be driving to see Niagara falls the next day.
On Tuesday we woke up for breakfast at 8 O’clock. We had a mini lie in before being fed Canadian pancakes with Canadian Maple Syrup. After breakfast we packed our bags while the Welsh Unit sang their nation anthem. I also watched a member of my unit having to climb between the two cubicles in the toilets to open the toilet which they managed to lock from the outside the previous night. We fell in, where we heard the Canada anthem being sung as well as the Canadian flag, St. George’s flag and a St. David’s flag all being raised. As we were waiting for our coach it decided to rain so we decided to sing ‘Singing in the rain’. Our coach arrived and we headed on our way.
We arrived at Niagara Falls where we were surprised with a boat tour. We got given pink ponchos to wear whilst on the boat which kept us mostly dry from the falls and the rain in general. It was phenomenal and the falls were spectacular. I cleverly took my non-waterproof camera onto the boat but only after the ride did I realise that I had made a mistake – luckily it all dried out and worked as good as new soon after. The falls were breath taking close up and from afar. After the boat ride, instead of taking the lift back up, we were surprised again and took the tram up. We headed for lunch where we went to Wendy’s after walking up through Clifton hill. Clifton hill was like a small amusement park and Wendy’s food was amazing. I would like to add that American/Canada Fanta tastes amazing. It is bright red and tastes amazing due to the amount of sugar in the bottle.
After lunch, we did a bit of tourist shopping followed by heading back to camp. En route, we stopped at a giant Walmart. I brought some Canadian maple biscuits to return home with. When we left the store to get back on our coach, the clouds opened and it rained very, very heavily. As we headed back to camp, we saw the site of the 8th World Scout Jamboree at Fort George, Ontario.
That evening, we ate our dinner on a hidden picnic bench. Someone in our unit had a Grandma who lives in Canada and she came to visit, bringing us Canadian doughnuts to eat. We also sang some song before heading to bed.
On Wednesday, we woke up ready to find out the programme for that day, where we found out that we would be going to a mall as well as to a swimming pool to use their showers – we had no showers on our campsite so this was very welcome. At the mall, I spotted some nice clothing stores and brought some sweets to bring back home. From the mall, we headed towards the front of lake Ontario where we walked along the front of it and along the pier. We then headed towards the open-air pool where 120 Scouts invaded the pool. There was a mini waterslide, a mini waterpark but most importantly, they had warm showers. After the pool, we headed back to camp to pack our bags. Once my bag was packed, we had a tent inspection before I realised that a dragonfly had gotten into our tent. It landed on my back and we left our tent door open so it would be able to escape. After inspection, we had a unit reflection as well as a unit photograph before eating dinner. We all headed for an early night sleep as we had to be awake at 3:45 the next morning to leave the campsite at 4:30.
The next morning I woke up and it was very weird for it to be so dark. Luckily we did not have to take our tents down so could just pack a few bits away before heading onto the coach. I stayed awake until we reached USA border control where I got through with no problem. I got to see the sunrise over lake Ontario that early morning. After we got over the border, I fell asleep for 2 hours straight before awaking as the coach stopped for fuel. From there I ate my breakfast of bagels and soon we stopped again where I bought white chocolate M&Ms as well as some watermelon sweets. We soon arrived at JFK (5 hours before our plane was due to depart) after seeing New York from a distance.
At checkin I was surprised that my bag only weighed 22.8 kg (0.2 kg under the limit). I got through security pretty quickly after some confusion over what a random red stamp on my ticket was for. We ate dinner of a cheeseburger and fries before exploring the 2 duty free shops. I then sat for an hour writing up some more of my notes before heading to board. We had a delay in boarding due to a thunderstorm so did not board our flight until it was due to depart. Once we were on board, we still had to queue for 45 minutes before we were able to take off – I managed to finish the other half of the movie I watched on the way out. We were fed another dinner at around 23:00 NYC time. I then watched another movie before sleeping for 3 hours. I woke up with 30 minutes until landing and forgot how bright it was outside until I opened the window blind. I soaked up the view and we soon landed.
As we were in the UK, we swiftly made it through e-scan and collected our bags. We then headed to find our coach which drove past two times before stopping for us. On the coach I slept very lightly, drifting in and out of sleep and we finally arrived where I would be picked up. I said my goodbyes after a last unit photo before heading back home. That evening I slept from 4pm until around 10 pm where I then ate my dinner before sleeping some more. I had asked for lasagne especially for dinner but I just did not move when I was first called to eat.
The following few days I caught up on sleep and gave out all of my gifts. I was given an old suitcase where I have placed all my Jamboree items within.
Today we drove to the Summit. As our coach from James Madison University was running late, we got an hour to explore the university campus. Me and a group of others, set out to see the American Football pitch. In the end, we managed to see the grounds from the balcony. Soon after, we saw the universities mascot statue as well as the founders statue. We then boarded our coach and headed towards the Jamboree site.
Once we arrived at site there was a long queue of coaches – as we were British, hence waited patiently. As we arrived into the main waiting area, we had an IST member who gave us a mini tour of the site. We got to see the Console Energy Bridge from afar, and saw each campsite. Our IST member taught us the key points; how our water bottle is to be our best friend, about how we need to hydrate and not die-drate, the importance of the buddy system as well as the recycling system. We sang Sparky the Squid on the bus before arriving at our subcamp head quarters.
We got off of our coach in the rain where we carried our holdalls on our backs and walked to our campsite. Immediately we started to put up our event shelters and had help from the American troop from Nashville camped next to us. Once we put up the event shelters, we started on our tents and then the camp beds. From there, we talked to the Americans discussing the differences between America and the UK.
We fell in, got given our Novus, neckerchiefs and official badges before being told that patrol 1 was needed to buy food from the supermarket for the first evening. I offered my service to go and work out how the shop worked and a few others from my patrol came with me. At first we were very confused by the system (after we had signed in and entered the shop) we soon worked out how the system worked. We found food for dinner as vegetable pasta with cheese and were looking to do cake and custard until we couldn’t find any custard. One of our patrol asked an IST member about custard and he explained that pudding was the alternative. He even allowed us to try a sample from one of the packs and kindly brought us over a spoon to try the pudding with. It was very sweet and tasted of vanilla. We then picked some up before hunting for the tea bags: the supermarket only have Lipton black tea bags which was not our average English breakfast tea.
Soon we returned to our campsite after paying for our food with our points. Another patrol cooked the dinner whilst we met with our buddy unit from Florida. We all talked before then playing a game of Splat. At first there was confusion between the Americans and the British as the Americans wanted to say ‘BANG’ instead of ‘SPLAT’ – I had to explain that even the Beavers understood how to play the game. We all novused before later on taking a group photo before going to eat dinner. From here we washed up and then sang Happy Birthday to a Danish girl camped next door before heading to bed for a busy day the next day.
Tuesday 23rd July:
Today we woke up and ate way too many pancakes for breakfast. This was due to the cooking patrol over buying and buying 288 + pancakes – however, we all now knew what would be for breakfast the next morning! We then fell into patrols after making lunch and packing our day bags. Our leaders told us that today we would be exploring the site in our patrols due to us being needed earlier back at the campsite so we could eat dinner and head out to the opening show to get a good view.
Patrol 1 (also nicknamed ‘Pod Squad’) headed towards Brownsea Island. We participated in a mining activity where we learnt all about how the Summit is/ was a mining ground. They showed us the activity wear each miner would wear as well as showing us the different main mines around the world and the different products they mine. We got given a badge for participating and then traded a few badges whilst we waited for the rest of our patrol to finish the activity. From there we headed more towards the main arena where we stopped at one of the main food tents. Some of Pod Squad bought some food and we talked to another American. He really wanted one of the UK hats so one of our patrol members swapped with him for a BSA hat. Both swappers were very happy and pleased with their trade.
Our patrol then headed towards another marquee called the free trade. Here we learnt about the importance of the free trade market by participating in two different activities. The first activity consisted of two team with a team ‘manager’. At first the team manager had to take a tennis ball to a bucket from one side to the other in a set amount of time. They then added 3 workers, then 5 workers and finally the rest of the workers. Each worker had to touch the tennis ball as it travelled between each bucket. They showed us a graph to show how the more workers you add increases the speed of production up until an optimum point where from then on it decreases as you have too many workers on the production line. Our second activity consisted of them giving us a bag containing 4 products. At first we rated our products on a scale of 1 to 10 before then being able to swap them between our table. We then rated it again before being able to trade with anyone in the marquee where we rated again afterwards. It showed that after each trade everyone became more satisfied with there trades as it enable everyone to gain what the wanted. We were then allowed to keep one of our products as well as a badge – I got a 2017 National Jamboree necker which I was very pleased about. We did a few more marquees before the heading towards lunch such as one where we wrote our name, country and hobby onto a piece of paper to pin to another paper which had a similar hobby as well as placing a pin on a map from where we were from.
Here we headed towards the lake to find somewhere to eat our lunch. We set up our go-pro vlogging camera to time lapse and soaked up the Summits views. Before we could even finish our lunch, some badge swappers from Guam, USA came to ask us about swapping – so we swapped some more badges before a group photo to then return to eating our lunch. Once we had finished lunch we slowly headed back to our campsite, yet this time we took the path which led around the river. Our patrol got so far, until we saw a caution tape across the leading path so automatically turned back on ourselves until someone who was on the ‘hazard’ path told us we should just be able to sneak through; so we did. We eventually reached our campsite and discussed with one another what we did – as we arrived back so early we had a bit of spare time so, me and a few others met with our American friends (from Florida whom we met the previous evening) and went out badge swapping. We then returned to camp and ate camp pitta pizzas for dinner before putting on our uniform to head to the opening ceremony.
We secured a spot within the lower dome with 40 minutes to spare we waited and talked to one another whilst recovering our voices from all of our cheering and chanting from walking to the stage. To start the ceremony off with a bang, we had Lebo M sing the ‘Circle of life’ as well as ‘He lives in you’. At first our unit did not know who he was but later on that evening one of our fellow unit members found out that he was one of the singers who originally sang it for The Lion King. Shortly followed was the flag parade where we would cheer for our own country as the flag was flown. Our ‘masters of ceremonies’ entered one from Canada, USA and Mexico however the Canadian host entered with a marching band and a police escort. We met the bear mascot and someone officially declared the 24th World Scout Jamboree open. A few smoke fireworks went off and the person sat behind us commented ‘And this is why we raised £4,000’.
Suddenly it was announced that Bear Grylls would be arriving so immediately all 90,000 eyes looked up expecting a helicopter or plane for him to jump out of. However, he just abseiled down from the stage. When I was a Beaver, Bear Grylls arrived in a helicopter in the middle of the field we were camped on. He gave a motivational speech on the Jamboree stage where I personally believe he said the most British thing: ‘Good on you Scouts.’. He also wanted us to cheer so our families could hear us back in there home countries and someone commented how they did not want to wake them as they were asleep.
The whole stadium then joined in singing the Jamboree song where each time the word ‘Jamboree’ was said we’d repeat it. A female astronaut who had been on the ISS talked to us about a new app called ‘Nano’ which is all about helping to save the planet. It was followed by a surprise performance from a band called ‘Recycled Percussion’ – who use recycled material as instruments. From here the ‘masters of ceremonies’ said some final words before we saw a spectacular display of drones. The drones made different words and as well as symbols. A beautiful moment I got to witness was when the promise sign was made in the formation of lights and everyone made the promise sign. I forgot to mention at one point earlier on in the ceremony we renewed our Scout promise. We then headed back to camp to go to bed.
Wednesday 24th July:
Today me and my tent buddy thought it would be a brilliant idea to trial the cold showers in the morning before we would have our breakfast. Soon we regretted our decision as the showers were cold, very cold. Breakfast was being served as pancakes again so we ate them quickly to warm up. It is worth to take note that each morning we would wake up and it would be misty but within an hour it would clear and the sun would soon appear. Our patrol was on washing up duty so we speedily washed up before falling in. My group headed towards Scuba Diving but on route we stopped to play ‘9-in-the-air’ with a group of Taiwan Scouts. The aim of this game was to move around the grid to get into the middle spot. To get people out you had to hit the ball into their square whilst avoiding the ball from being hit out of the grid or dropping into your grid. We played this game for about 45 minutes before deciding to carry on heading towards Scuba – after a quick group photo.
Scuba was amazing and as a bonus had a short queue and very quickly we listened to the brief. I managed to film some footage on my fake go-pro as well. Did you know in Scuba you can breath underwater! After heading out the pool and chaining back into warm clothes, we headed to a marquee where we did some first aid. We did 30 compression followed by 2 breathes, 5 times. For participating in this mini activity, we got given a badge and a coin. We also later on got a badge from Scuba for trying Scuba diving. We ate lunch before heading towards group stand up paddle board – but the line was too long so instead we headed towards the boulder cove. Here we got 5 go’s to do different walls as well as try abseil (or as they like to call it rappelling). Some UK IST members interviewed us whilst we were at the bolder cove to try and get us into our local newspapers back at home.
We arrived back at camp slightly late due to us not having a watch whilst stationed at the Boulder Cove but we arrived with plenty of time to have hot dogs for dinner. After dinner, a few of our unit members decided to cut their hair. So one of our members shaved their head off and the other got an undercut. I can safely say this should be a UK tradition on camp or any Jamboree. On top of this, the IST member from the coach came to visit our campsite to check out how we were all settling into the Summit.
Before we left camp as a group to go and see the Energy Console bridge, one of our American friends from Florida came over exclaiming that he wanted a UK hat. I said that I would think about it (but I was secretly loving my UK hat as it worked – no matter how stupid they looked). Our whole unit then headed towards the bridge where we watched the sun set and got a whole unit group photo. From here, my group of friends explored the bridge and I learnt how much I hated the bridge. It wobbled and had gaps in which any device could easily fall through – and to think all I wanted to do was go and visit the bridge. We then wondered through the food huts where we stopped at the UK hut and joined in with a bit of karaoke. We got pride bracelet to support the LGBTQ community before meeting with some others from our unit and finally heading back to camp. We ate cake before heading to bed.
Thursday 25th July:
My tent buddy and I decided we should wake up early again for a lovely cold shower – however, this did not happen due to us deciding it was too cold and we’d much rather get an extra 15 minutes sleep. The group I was with decided we would trek towards the Canopy (which is high ropes) but we were faced with a 6 hour plus queue. Now being British we would’ve managed to patiently wait this time, yet we did not see the benefit, so instead headed towards the Skate park. This had less of a wait at 2 hours, yet we still did not want to queue so instead then headed towards the UK food house. Some of my group brought some chips to eat before we would set off again.
We then headed towards the Sustainability tree house which we climbed and read the different information on display – we had just missed a video about the tree house so decided to wait 10 minutes for it to replay (this is what my group call a manageable wait). Whilst we were sat waiting, we met some more British Scouts from Kent, we all watched the video together whilst learning about the importance of the tree house using its natural resources such as; Recycling, Reusing, Solar and Wind as well as the little waste the tree house produces. Following the short video, we walked up to the very top of the tree house where on a metal tag we pledged a value which we would try and keep when we returned home to help the environment – from here we headed back down to eat our lunch after saying goodbye to our new friends. Whilst eating lunch, we met another UK Scout who was trying to meet all 100 UK units whilst on the Jamboree site, I also swapped my Navy Primark Bandana for a Panda Bandana after we finished lunch.
As we headed towards World Point, we found ourselves within the Amateur Radio tent. We managed to talk to Roy, from Ohio as well as another person from West Virginia. On our way out, we got given a coin and signed into the draw to be selected to speak with an astronaut who was currently on board the ISS. We then carried on heading towards World Point. As we entered, we first went into the Pride tent where we saw a giant inflatable Unicorn. We then went into the Canadian tent before going into the Chile tent. Within the Chile tent, we made a traditional Chile playground toy (which later on got broken but I managed to fix it). From here we went into the Argentina tent and tried some Argentina tea – us Brits need to step up our game on cuppas. Some other tents we went into included; the Australian tent where we tried Vegemite which definitely is nowhere near as good as Marmite, the Romanian tent where I got a card to make a pen pal with, the Polish tent where we got environmentally conscious stickers as well as a Polish European jamboree sticker and many more other tents.
A story worth telling is how you should always stand in a queue. We were at a branding tent and stood in a queue for something which we did not know about. 5 minutes later, we were getting free mugs branded! This was due to on the hour the ‘Ugly Mugz’ tent would give out 15 free mugs to be branded. Before heading back to camp, we entered the UK tent. Here we wrote what we would do with ‘A million hands …’ as well as wrote on a giant wall how we would be more Eco-friendly. For this we got a Pride wristband and learnt what we were supposed to write on our postcards (we forgot to bring them with us). We then slowly headed back to camp.
On the way, we stopped and participated in an activity which gave us beads for explaining knowledge about the 3 host countries. At the time we did not finish all of the activities but when we later on went back we found out that we had. When we finally got back to camp I could not find my post cards so instead borrowed one. We raced up to World Point to hand in our postcards just as they were shutting – I do not think they were very happy with us. Yet, we wrote on our postcards and handed them in for a free badges – except returning back into the UK it rusts.
Once we got back to camp, I showered and then ate a meat surprise BBQ rice dish. This consisted of sausage patties, chicken, chorizo and some other meats being coated with BBQ sauce and veg. I must admit it tasted pretty good. That evening: I watch a Mexican dance, played two Finnish games (one where you all linked arms and had to try and get a person to hit the bottle over so they would be out and a second game where you had two teams and had to race around cuddly toy for the winning team to have overtake the second team), played 9-in-the-air and nearly won without touching the ball once until the penultimate space before the middle and finally also headed towards a mini basecamp F bash. After pudding, I headed to bed.
Friday 26th July:
Today was my patrol’s cooking day so, we needed two brave volunteers to go out shopping. This was a disastrous move made by myself as at first the GrubApp would not allow me to log on. Secondly, I managed to wake up (what felt like) half of camp just to get a QR code tag which would be needed to show that I was a member of the Delta site. Once we managed to sort this out, we headed down towards the supermarket. We at first decided we would do porridge for breakfast as well as cereal but later on it became sausage and egg muffins. Dilemma was we forgot to buy veggie breakfast so my innovative brain decided to personally make all the veggies egg and cheese muffins. In the end, everyone was happy. When we brought lunch we also brought Pittas and I think my unit was disappointed when I explained it was only one large pitta for lunch. Basically, I didn’t go food shopping again!
Today however was Culture day. To celebrate Britain we had; a maypole, Morris dancing, welly wanging, tea drinking and put out some of the UK uniform. For the first 2 hours, I helped out on the tea station. Now, the only problem here was we technically were not allowed to drink the fine Yorkshire tea so, lots of UK units just went round to other UK units to drink their cups of tea. Most people from other countries enjoyed the tea (including our American friends from Florida), those who did not enjoy the tea just added extra sugar to sweeten it.
Once my ‘shift’ finished, we were free to explore. I got; given a wish bracelet from Brazil, to learn about Florida and Croc hunting, to dance with the Swedish, the Finnish and the Polish, to try on Sombreros, to eat IKEA ginger biscuits (from Sweden), to try some sweet soft caramel dessert from Uruguay, to learn some Spanish from the Ecuador’s, to eat pasta from the Italians, to write my name in Taiwanese on a fan, to eat pudding and apple and chicken from the Netherlands, to eat Dutch pancakes from the Danish, to eat risotto from the Swiss, to learn some Polish and see Polish uniforms from Poland and much more. It is worth noting that we learnt how to say ‘the table had broken’ in Polish where they told us that it was one of the hardest things to say but we conquered it due to our unit managing to break a table the previous night.
As we returned back to camp, I helped make dinner of Stir-fry using the best ingredients the shopping team found. I later on hated the meal so instead ate oranges for dinner (as well as probably another nature valley bar). I had a quick shower before then heading towards the Unity show. The Unity show was interesting to say the least. They had a box to unlock the ‘human spirit'(think what you would like) but in the end it was a giant eagle fabric thing which rose up. We learnt about different faiths and beliefs and got a surprise show from Disney on Broadway. I think the most powerful moment I witnessed that evening was 45,000 plus Scouts all singing Frozen ‘Let it Go’ whilst our Novuses lit up in colours of blue – it was truly spectacular. We then headed back to camp and headed to bed.
Saturday 27th July:
Today I woke up and it was not misty outside! My group decided we should queue for group stand up paddle board due to the weather being so hot and nice so after breakfast we headed off. En route, we spotted out friends from Florida and explained where we were heading to – as we needed 8 people and only had 6 we managed to make a whole group. This quickly fell downhill as one of the Floridians (my term for people from Florida), remembered they had to go back to camp as they were needed for an Eagle Scout photo. So, we had to find two more people to join our board. Behind us we had another UK unit whom were missing one person so we quickly agreed that if we found a group of 3, one person from our unit would join there group. However, I managed to find some other UK Scouts who had just finished to join us for another turn.
Once we got out onto the water, our instructor became slightly annoyed with our group – but somehow we were still not the worse behaved group he had that day. We were in the water more than on the actual board itself and I quote the instructor said that ‘stand up paddle board is not classed as a wet activity’. Once we had finished, we were heading towards water reality (well until we saw the long queue) so from recommendation we headed towards Scuba. At Scuba, there was another long queue whilst I did not decided to wait to do Scuba again whilst a few from our group did, me and some others sat and ate our lunch in the shade. We also did a few marquees, where I controlled a robot to move cones around a grid, watched a VR stimulation on two different car crash scenarios, protected an egg as well as learnt of the hazards of texting whilst driving. I then met with the rest of my group where we brought some postcards to send back home.
Before we headed back to camp, we did a few more of the marquees. We had a marshmallow tower challenge, lowered a ‘floating stick’, flipped over the ‘magic carpet’ and finally participated in an escape room. On our way back to camp, we were walking past the helicopter when we noticed a lot of people standing. We waited about 5 minutes before getting told to move back. Another 5 minutes later, we watched the helicopter take off (from about 10 metres in front of us). It was pretty amazing to watch. Before returning to camp, we noticed that we had a bit of extra time, so we quickly stopped off at one of the mini trading shops before finally heading back to camp. I showered before I ate dinner and then headed towards the C and D base camp bash.
At first, I somehow managed to make myself near the front of the crowd to hear some country music. A little later, my friends and I became a little bored so decided to head back to camp. On the way back, we heard Footloose playing and also got given free compliments which was a twist from free hug. As we arrived back at camp, a group of our unit were playing a game called ‘The Mind’. There were different levels and those who were playing were all given a set amount of random cards from 1 to 00 and were not allowed to see what cards the other players had. They then put down their card when they thought they had the lowest card. They lost lives as players placed their card down thinking they were the lowest but someone else had a lower card. It was very intense to watch 8 people play and was more surreal when there became 11 players including me. I then was able to see how the game was so intense. After we finished playing, we played a quick game of trivial pursuit before finding out who would be going white water rafting on the Monday – before we headed to the base camp bash we had to write down our name if we wished to be in the draw to go. We then headed to bed.
Sunday 28th July:
This morning I woke up at 6 am to go on a walk around the site whilst it was quiet however, this later on failed as my buddy never woke up . Instead I did manage to get an extra hour of sleep before waking up to head towards the Scouts Own. Originally I had not planned on going (we were allowed to have a lie in that morning if we did not attend) however, I decided it would be an interesting event to attend and would help me on completing the Personal Development goal on faiths and beliefs. I walked with a few others to the stadium eating my cereal whilst on the go. As we entered the stadium, we were given a white necker as well as a pen which would be an activity during the ceremony.
The Scouts Own opened with some live music from the Jamboree band followed by some explanations from 3 hosts. Whilst at the ceremony, we broke the world record for the amount of dove hand signs made as well as the world record for the largest human peace sign. We listened to Lord Baden Powell’s original speech which was made at the first World Scout Jamboree and recited our promise. They also explained the 12 American BSA Scout laws which consisted of how ‘A Scout is to be Thrifty’ and more: it was interesting to see how these differed from the UK Scout laws. With our white necker, we then went round the crowd and got different people to sign our necker. After this, we went and sat in the shade before heading to do the backstage tour.
During the backstage tour, we got to go on stage and learnt about how much funding the shows had. We also saw the VIP rooms as well as were advised that there might be a giant firework display at the closing ceremony. Once we had finished our tour, we headed towards the small trading post. I brought a few different badges before we headed towards the gigantic trading post. En route, we stopped at an entrepreneur tent where we sales pitched an Electronics Company entitled ‘Neon Green Flamingo’ where we sold power banks made from recycled materials. We also did another activity based on the Medal of Honour. We learnt about the different principles an honouree recipient would have: Courage, Integrity, Patriotism, Sacrifice, Commitment and Citizenship. We then carried our way onto the big trading post.
Some people in my group brought a few things from the big trading post and I did not. From here we headed towards some more marquees. Our first marquee in which we did consisted of different activities based on different disabilities. We looked into a mirror as we drew around a grid so we could witness how it felt to have like no sense of direction, we found small paperclips in rice to show how the sensation of loss of sense in your hands felt, we saw some braille products and finally learnt some American sign language. After these activities, we headed towards another marquee where you made paper from pulp. Firstly, you had a mesh grip which you placed into the water to collect some pulp. You then placed this onto a piece of wood and sponged out any excess water before placing onto another grid to press any water out in a press. Finally, you’d iron the pulp to create dry paper. I then stamped my orange paper and drew the World Scout Jamboree logo onto it.
We headed back to camp and I washed my clothes before dinner. Tonight was a specialty of chicken and rice and we ate our dinner with the Danish who were camped next to us. We then talked to the Danish before I had a shower and grabbed an early night before going white water rafting the next morning. I then headed to bed.
Monday 29th July:
This morning, I had to wake up early in order to go white water rafting. I quickly ate breakfast before heading towards the queue for the school buses. Before I got on the school bus we watched a quick video on the health and safety principles. Before we had even joined the queue to get in, one of our unit members managed to loose their ticket. Once we were on the school buses, we had a few songs on the bus to speed up the 30 minute ride. We arrived at the place and boarded the rafts to start.
The rapids started off easy yet somehow in our second rapid, we still had a man overboard but quickly fixed the problem by pulling them back onto the raft. When there was no current and the water was still, we were allowed to go swimming in the river. This was very fun and some of our unit even pulled in our instructor into the water as well as another instructor who was refusing to go in. I also stood on a raft which was upside down where we jumped on top of it before falling in.
After our 2 hours on the water, it was time to head back to the Summit. To do so, we got on a school bus and drove up what felt like a mountain road. It wasn’t as bad as it seems but it was a very thin and narrow road where there was a nice drop on our left. Once we got back to camp, we ate a mix mash of food for lunch before I decided to shower. I then sat and talked to some of my unit before heading on a walk around the lake before heading back for dinner. We ate chicken and egg fried rice before going to meet the Floridians.
As the Floridians were not back at camp, we decided to steal one of there plastic flamingos (previously we said that we would steal one of the plastic flamingos at some point on the Jamboree) – we took the opportunity to steal the flamingo as our friends were not at camp. We put the stolen flamingo onto our gateway before spotting some of the Floridan’s returning to collect the flamingo. They did not manage to grab it back as it was well guarded, so they returned back to camp. As there was a base camp bash happening that evening, we decided to head there. I wanted to take the flamingo with us yet its main owner decided to allow it to rest. This was a clever move as later on half of the Florida unit came marching up to the base camp bash to claim their rightfully owned flamingo – yet little did they realise that it was still at our camp and we also got given a heads up from one of our unit leaders.
My friend and I then snuck off to return the flamingo back to the Florida base before heading back to the basecamp bash. Whilst we returned the flamingo, we spotted some of our leaders talking to their leaders – hoping we wouldn’t get told off we fled the scene (after the return of the flamingo). We then headed back to the bash before dancing with some people from Japan. The basecamp bash soon ended so we headed back to camp before heading to bed.
As a side note, we named the flamingo ‘Brian Florence Mountbatten-Burg the Second’ – we had to give it a proper British name.
Tuesday 30th July:
Today was our base camp’s turn to climb Mt. Jack. So, I had to wake up slightly earlier than usual a) to climb and b) to help cook breakfast as it was our patrols turn to do so. After breakfast, we headed towards Mt. Jack and headed over the energy console bridge. It was swaying constantly as we crossing over it. Halfway up our climb, my knee decided to give in and start hurting so I had to pop on my knee support and take some paracetamol. Once we reached the top, we were able to explore all of the activities. There was a branding shelter where I got my UK hat branded as well as a rope making station. This is all we had time to do before a lighting advisory was issued so were herded into a wooden shelter for 2 hours (until the warning was cleared). We did some badge trading, talked to some Boy Scouts from Texas as well as tried to catch some sleep. As soon as the warning was cleared, we headed back down towards camp. The bridge was closed due to the thunderstorm so, we had to decide a different route to go. This resulted in a little dispute between the group of us so we headed back two different routes. On our way back, it decided to chuck it down with rain and felt as if it was raining cats and dogs quite literally. At first the rain was refreshing but then it became wet, soggy and annoying.
Once we returned back to camp my patrol cooked chicken and rice (for the third time running) but this time had tomato sauce included. Our tin opener would not work so one of our members decided to try and use a metal spoon to open the tin. Soon, we asked the Danish next door to help us open the tin and finally got into the tin. We were told at this point that the shop would be getting no more deliveries so we were being rationed. That evening, we adopted Brian through a ceremony and when we returned back to camp, we played werewolf with the Danish. We were also joined by a few Americans and a Mexican. Before bed, we were told who would be attending a leadership event the next afternoon and the leaders selected those who had made silly mistakes throughout the Jamboree. From someone losing their phone before we even got on the plane to someone asking a stupid question whilst rafting about whether we would finish where we started etc. We then headed to bed.
Wednesday 31st July:
Today was one of our leaders birthdays so, some of our unit decided to prank him. They zip tied his tent together and put caution tape all around the edges. I ate breakfast before then heading our for the day. Myself and a few others headed towards the giant trading post. I brought a lot of items before then buying another post card to send home. We saw one of our Florida friends before then deciding to head towards shooting via a bus.
The shooting plan soon became a disaster after we had our initial briefing. We headed towards the shot guns but did not realise that we needed another brief before hand so we sat in a queue for 40 minutes only to have to leave. In these 40 minutes I tried the cat food I mean the BBQ Chicken Salad with crackers. It didn’t taste that bad considering what it looked like but I believe I was the only one to actually like it our of my unit. Once we left the shot gun queue, we headed towards the air rifles but realised we still needed another brief so decided to leave it – we were all hot and tired so decided to head back towards the main site via the bus. Luckily, we returned to the main area just as a lighting advisory was issued which would’ve meant if we were still up at the barrels, we would not have been able to participate due to the advisory and the long queues. Back at the main campsite area, we headed towards the food tents before then heading towards a few more marquees. I learnt all about healthy eating as well as being taught how to make an apple swan. We then headed back to camp where I decided to start washing my clothes before being stopped as we had to fall in. Our leaders had a surprise for us which was Pizza (NO CHICKEN AND RICE) where we would being eating with our buddy unit from Florida as well as the Netherlands unit who were camped next to the Floridan’s.
The pizza was amazing except the part where I somehow got ranch dressing all up my arm. After dinner, I headed back to camp to do a bit of clothes washing before I would head out trading. Whilst we were trading, it decided to start raining so we headed to the Florida event shelter (thinking it would last about 30 minutes) to talk to them. We ended up playing werewolf again where I kept being killed on the first night so instead became games master. The thunderstorm lasted for about 2 hours so my friends asked for a blanket as they were cold – we all see how this is going. But really, the only items I had on me was my water bottle, my dead phone and my badges. We all got given a hoody (some were chuffed and others not happy) as we continued to play cards. A little later on we were offered more food so we ate snack pudding pots with nature valley bars as we were not entitled to be given a spoon.
The thing I vividly remember is the lightning advisory being declared every 10 minutes as you could see the lighting hitting the ground frequently. We were soon given the all clear so headed back to camp where we spotted a ‘new’ base camp bash being held under our units event shelters: the base camp bash got cancelled that evening so hence it supposedly had moved to our pitch. I talked to some Swedish before heading to bed.
Thursday 1st of August:
Today were two more of our unit’s birthdays so some of them got pranked by the leaders (can you spot a reoccurring theme). We got to go to the Canada food house for breakfast so after 30 minutes of walking we were rewarded with pancakes or the equivalent of a bacon sarnie. My friend and I went halves. After breakfast, we headed towards C camp headquarters to collect our NOVUS participation awards. One of my friends who had done all the same activities I had did not earn the award but after a lot of persuasion (and facts) she was given one. We got some freebies (including a massive book on law) and then made a group painting. We split it into 3 horizontal sections where it would then be split longitudinal. This way we would all get a piece of the painting. The top of the painting was mountains to represent the Summit, the middle of the painting was a city sky line to represent the cities we would be visiting and the bottom of the painting (done by myself) was of home containing hills and sheep. With our painting drying, we headed back to camp.
At camp, I swapped my holdall with one of the spare holdalls as my holdall had started to tear. I then headed toward the main arena to do a load of last minute trading. I headed back to camp where I packed my holdall and took down my camp bed. That evening we would be tent sharing in 4s so we had less tents to take down the next morning. We headed to say our goodbyes to our Florida friends but as there was only one of them there we headed back to camp. We ate our final dinner of chicken and rice before putting on our uniform for a group photo to then head towards the closing ceremony. The UK contingent were having a whole UK photo but we did not make it there on time. As we arrived at the main arena, we found a spot in the top bowl. We did some Just Dance whilst waiting for the delayed show to start (there was another thunderstorm).
After a while, we saw some parachutists and eventually the closing show started an hour late. We heard many UN speakers and got a surprise performance from Pentatonix. Pentatonix blew my mind and they were amazing. We also saw the passing over of roles to the 25th World Scout Jamboree team to mark an end to the 24th World Scout Jamboree and saw some advertisements for the next World Scout Jamboree. There was an LED dance group and a breath taking firework display. The fireworks lasted for 15 minutes and was the most American firework display you could imagine. There were lights, fire and giant fireworks being set alight from the lake, behind the crowd and in the far distance.
On the way back to our pitch, we finally said our proper goodbye’s to our Florida friends and vowed to keep in contact. We then headed back to our pitch before heading to bed.
Friday 2nd of August:
This morning we woke up earlier than usual and ate a hot breakfast to fill us up for the day. We quickly washed up and started packing away our kit into their boxes. The remaining tents got taken down and we headed towards the coach pick up point. We soon found our coach and boarded ready to drive towards Washington DC.
I was very sad to leave the Jamboree site as so many memories had been made at the Summit which would last for the rest of my life. I am wishing to return to The Summit Bechtel Reserve one day to experience the memories again.
A quick update from me. I enjoyed the Jamboree very much and have made many new international friends – when I return to the UK I will write up each day from my notes. On Friday we left the site and headed to our university accommodation in Maryland. On route we stopped and I exhaled a joy of cry as I spotted Goldfish in America so automatically had to grab myself a bag! We ate real food and I do not think I’ve ever seen so many UK Scouts voluntarily eat salad (it was definitely a change from rice and chicken!).
We then played cards until a bunch of people from another unit (83) stole our Florida flamingo (more to be explained on a different post) so we ran around trying to recapture it. We then headed to be after a well deserved yet weirdly warm shower.
We woke up the next day and ate breakfast (there was bacon!) before walking to the train station. We caught the train into Washington DC where we first headed towards the White House. From there we could explore at our own accord so headed towards Lincon memorial.
We also looked at the Vietnam memorial and walked along the pool of reflection before stopping at the World War memorial. To photograph the Washington monument my group became Spidermen. From here we headed towards the Natural history museum.
Here I found the bear prints which when I was around 3 I had my photo taken their – hence I retook the photo. We looked at the displays: ran away from the elephant from night at the museum, recreated an antelope attacking a lion being attacked by a cheetah and more. I learnt that pigs and related to hippo’s before we ate lunch.
After lunch we headed to the air and space museum where we got personalised dog tags and saw some of Neil Armstrong’s kit which he took to the moon. We also space walked and touched a piece of the moon. We then headed back to meet our unit before heading back to our university accommodation. After a quick stop at target (where I brought 3 packs of goldfish and a mango – a story for another time) we then got dinner.
That evening we headed to the UK party where we had our photos taken in all of the host countries photo booths. We got a free ground sheet and also took part in a few other activities. We went to target again to buy some popcorn and tissues but only had $5 so when it came to 4 cents over (we forgot about taxes) the lady just allowed us to pay (and forgot about the missing 4 cents).
We headed back to the accomodation where I showered before heading to watch a movie (it didn’t happen) and then ended up writing up the past few days by hand with my unit (who were watching fast and furious). I then headed to bed.
The next day I woke up and headed to breakfast (for sausages which weren’t patties!). We then went back to our accommodation where we had a mini pub quiz (a group of flamingos is called a flamboyant) and then headed to catch our yellow school bus. We arrived at the baseball where I set off the metal detector as I forgot to take my bottle off of my shorts so it buzzed. Some of us had to lie about our age in order to get a free hat but luckily I did not need to and break Another Scout law! Once we got in and had our supporter hats, we grabbed food and headed to a seat (which was along the row of my designated seats). We watched baseball and a a contingent got a shout-out for being international supporters of Anthony Santender.
Our unit had to leave early (as did many others) to catch our bus. I have now found out that I am going for dinner at Denny’s tonight.
We drove over Brooklyn bridge in the dark heading towards our university accommodation. As we drove over we could see the New York skyline lit up with lights and it was beautiful. Once we arrived at our accommodation we stood off of our air-conditioned coach into the humid (32 degree) heat. We quickly got told some information before heading up to floor 15 to sleep.
I took a few photos of the skyline before sorting out my bags and heading to bed. I awoke a 6:20 (local time) with less than 4 hours ‘sleep’. I kept waking up during the night either too hot or due to noise. Once we woke we managed to lock ourselves out of our room as we went to admire the view in the day light. Luckily, someone came to our rescue with a master’s key!
Once we had sorted ourselves we headed towards a delicious breakfast of a dry bagel (with the option of Philadelphia cheese), orange juice, water and an apple. We ate quickly before heading to Brooklyn bridge to have a group photo. As we left the bridge, a group of Americans gave us a warm welcome before we continued on route to the 9/11 memorials.
(I would just like to interrupt with a temperature update. The temperature was around 36 degree’s centigrade but felt like 45.)
We saw Ground Zero which was beautiful and hard-hitting. From there we headed towards Central Park board Subway. We worked out how to use the Subway and managed to arrive at Central Park. We walked passed the Trump hotels and spotted lots of UK units. Our leaders brought us ice lollys to eat before we headed around Central Park and spotted the Essex unit which we cannot with on our previous Gilwell/London training camp.
We walked towards Times Square but first ate lunch at Applebee’s. I ordered a Cheeseburger before the person next to me asked the difference between a hamburger and a cheeseburger. Our waitor gave us jugs of Pepsi and water and was very helpful for the vegetarian on the table. However later on the vegan burger looked surprisingly meaty. We soaked up the cool air-conditioning before heading to Times Square. Here we had a quick photo opportunity and my patrol ‘collectively’ decided to go into Sephora (where we tested all the first fragrances to hide our sweaty smell) we also went to Levi’s and American Polo. I got given a fan as an advertisement for a Broadway show.
We then headed towards the Empire State but stopped off at a tourist shop. As we left the shop we realised that we were running late so had to quickly go to the nearest deli to buy a packed dinner. I had a roast turkey roll, popcorn, a cookie and a cold drink. One of my leaders ordered a cheese sandwich so he was thoroughly disappointed as he received a grilled cheese sandwich instead.
Finally we headed back to the Subway where my card decided that it had ran out of credit so the kind man in the ticket machine let us through a different gate. We made the Subway and then managed to get to the ferry port on time – and luckily we were not the last patrol back.
We caught our ferry and met the Essex unit again. Our ferry ride was refreshing with a cool breeze. Once we got off at New Jersey we hunted for our holdalls (which we had previously loaded into a van) before then heading onto another air-conditioned coach (with WiFi). We then travelled to the University of James Madison. On the way we had a quick stop at a services which contained 3 vending machines, some toilets and a water fountain – it was very busy with around 4 units having stopped there.
On the coach we ate our dinner as well as some mango. We also had some Relationship talks from the leaders and every time we drove past a McDonald’s we’d cheer. Eventually we reached our accommodation. I showered quickly in the cold water and then fell asleep.
One thing I am currently missing from the UK is knives and forks in restaurants.