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.
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.
Hi all, to get into the spirit of Christmas (and writing more blog posts more frequently), I have tasked myself with taking part in a challenge I like to call BLOGMAS. It requires me to write a blog post each and every day counting down the days until Christmas. Blue might write a few blog posts as well here and there. For now, lets get into todays blog.
Yesterday evening I attended my County’s Explorer and Network ball. It was thoroughly enjoyable and I got to see my friends from across the County. I got to see Santa and sang many classic Scouting songs. To top off the night, the World Scout Jamboree Participants all sang Country Roads swaying together in a circle.
There was a Pick ‘n Mix, Buffet and drinks all to our delight. We even got a badge from the event (I can’t say enough how there is a badge for everything in Scouting!). It was a lovely evening and I cannot wait to see all of my Scouting friends again soon.
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.
(Sorry for not blogging for a while, I’m busy revising for my exams and while I’ve got a couple of big blogs planned, including our big city experience in London, here is something shorter until then.)
On Wednesday I went to collect my Official Jamboree Kit. Here are my initial thoughts and my rating on each item out of 10 (10 is the best and 1 is the worst):
Main bag: 7/10 – Better and bigger than I expected apart from its in girl guiding colours and has no pockets.
Rucksack: 2/10 – Slightly small and could do with more pockets. Not sure how I’m going to survive:
the night in NYC
until I get to the main campsite
Explorer Blouse: 8/10 – Fits perfectly and is nice and thin for the West Virginia summer. It also uses the new scout logo while I still prefer the old logo. Bonus marks for actually being a blouse and not a shirt so has a better fit.
Shorts: 10/10 – They contain a lot of pockets and are a nice length (I like knee length shorts which these fit me as).
UK T-shirt: 7/10 – This yet again looks really nice with the printed branding however the blue appears greyer than I imagined.
Necker: 9/10 – The design is phenomenal the only real downside is the ends have come a bit loose.
UK blue Tea Bear badge: 8/10 – Not very nice to sew onto uniform but the design is funky except I can never line up the badge correctly to sew onto my uniform.
Hat: 9.9/10 – A brilliant hat: I would leave it at that but only gets 9.9 as it’s quite small for my rather big head and does not have any corks attached.
Padlock: 8/10 – It works. I guess.
Water bottle(red): I have not tested this product yet. However, I’ve heard rumours that they aren’t very strong (denting easily) and the straw does not work.
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.