The weekend started early on Saturday morning when I had a tombola stall at a Christmas fayre. I raised a modest amount and I was really pleased given it wasn’t that busy.
In the afternoon I travelled 30 minutes to my next ‘local’ bag packing. I was suffering from a cold so people took pity on me and donated generously.
The following day I had yet another bag packing fundraiser but it was a double shift so I stayed all day in another ‘local’ supermarket 30 minutes drive away.
Whilst doing these bag packs a lot of people were telling me how some of their family had been on a jamboree and others had themselves been to a jamboree. I met people who attended the UK Jamboree in 1957 and Australia in 1987. It was very interesting to hear where everyone had been to.
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.
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.
An easy way to raise funds for my trip is by bag packing at local supermarkets. Some keen parents have organised this with supermarkets around the county.
My first such adventure was on a Sunday morning, the supermarket was 30 minutes away so hardly local! I spent the morning helping to pack bags, smiling sweetly and explaining why I was there.
It turns out that bag packing is a great way to fundraise and I’m kind of looking forward to next time.
My first meetup with my unit was on a Sunday evening. They first did a talk about the over view of the trip. They then talked to us about fundraising ideas.
We gathered in groups of our districts and talked about fundraising ideas. Our new county commissioner came over and told us that if we achieved 50 or more fundraising ideas, he would give us £1 to go towards our final total cost.
We achieved his goal and now he owns us £1 each. (edit – I’m still waiting!)
After that, I gathered with the other participants in our joint unit and we introduced ourselves to one another, had a chance to ask questions and got told about our first whole unit camp. I can’t wait.
The post came and there was a letter for me. I opened it and inside was a letter about the jamboree.
It confirmed my place and told me that the Bear mascot for the UK contingent was holding a special gift for me. It was my very own unit name tape badge for my county unit for the 24th World Scout Jamboree. Happy sewing Mum! (She’s a bit OCD when it comes to how badges are sewn onto my uniform – but that’s less sewing for me)
I’ve also found out that 3 others from my Explorer unit have got places along with Backpack and Shorty.
I waited for what felt like eternity to get my email.
The first weekend after the camp came around and there was no email. The next day, we got an email saying they would tell us by the following weekend because it was a difficult process.
The email finally came on the Wednesday night when I was asleep. My mum came rushing into my room and woke me up to tell me the news.
I got a place!
I was overfilled with emotions but, I was very confused. It was late and, so I thought it was all a dream.
The next morning it hit me. It was real. I would be going to America in 2019 and I could not believe it.
I walked down to breakfast with Shorty and her explorer friends. We managed to skip the breakfast queue accidently and did not realise until we walked down to the campfire circle and spotted that there was a queue, Whoops. We ate breakfast quickly and then I went back to my tent to pack.
My patrol for today were all in consecutive order in the 30’s with myself being the odd one out as number 84. We completed more activities including tunnelling, a giant tower of Hanoi made from old tyres, suspension bridge and charades. My favourite activity this day was the suspension bridge.
After we completed all of the activities we split off for lunch. I joined the queue with Potato and collected my lunch, no queue jumping this time. I ate with Backpack and Twinkle Toes until it was time to pack up my tent.
After my tent was all packed, I walked back to the campfire circle where we were all debriefed. We were told that they would email us shortly if got into the Gloucestershire unit.
That was all I could do, it was time for them to decide who would participate in the WSJ2019.
I had an awesome time and I am still in contact with all of my friends.
I arrived early Saturday morning with my rucksack. I headed up to the daunting marquee where I registered and got my photo taken with my new name: number 84.
I was told to walk up to the top field and started to set up my tent. Once my tent was all pitched, I helped two scouts next to me, who were struggling, to pitch their tent. I then had to collect firewood for the evenings campfire and then it was time to get briefed.
At the briefing they introduced themselves and briefly explained why we were here and what we would be completing. After this, I grabbed my day sack and walked to the field to meet those who would be in my patrol for the first day.
Our first activity was titled ‘Minefield’ – here we had to cross the grid through a path without stepping into a mine. We completed many of these tasks quickly and renamed all our patrol members with odd and interesting names: Twinkle Toes, Potato, Curly Wurly, Backpack, Shorty and myself French Fry.
Once we completed all our activities it was time for tea, a choice of casserole or chilli with a pudding of cake and custard. We all ate quickly and then rehearsed our skit: The Enlargement Machine.
We gathered around the campfire and waited for our turn to perform our skit. It was a hit. We watched the rest of the performances and then I sat around the campfire with my new friends.