The 24th World Scout Jamboree, during 2019, was probably the best experience of my life so far. I wish I could relive it again as a participant but I will also be happy to return as IST one day.
Three incredible weeks across multiple countries, states and cities is not an easy task for anyone especially with 36 young people to look after.
I’ll start from the beginning. We met each other and the leaders early 2018 with very little knowledge of what to expect. Straight away we were made to feel welcome by the leaders, it’s impressive how accommodating the sessions were to such a wide range of ages that we had in the group. First meetings were out the way, instagrams were exchanged and group chats were set up and finally the buzz began to set in.
The next stage was our first camp as a group which we deemed a mud camp as wooden pallets had to be used to stand on just to get some breakfast! The weather was horrific, but that didn’t stop friendships from being formed and wonderful team building games that everyone (totally) loves.
I’m going to skip ahead to something a little more personal now. Before we went away on training camp to the Chamboree in Cheshire I was going through an extremely rough time at home but I tried to put it behind me to enjoy the camp as much as possible. Inevitably, it became too much to keep to myself and I shut myself off from going to any activities (which would have seemed strange as I am normally quite an outgoing person). Special mention to two of my leaders Neil and Fran who encouraged me to explain my situation and they really helped in calming me down and thinking rationally again. All of this was handled discreetly so I didn’t have to confront the rest of the group and they did everything they possibly could to ensure I was supported and felt okay until the second I went home. It may have not been a big deal for them but I was extremely grateful for that. The reason I bring this up in particular is, I am sure there were plenty more instances of this happening in the group that I wasn’t aware of as they managed to handle it so well. Having the right leadership and interpersonal skills is vital to work as a unit leader. If they didn’t have these skills I would have completely shut off for the rest of camp and wouldn’t have gotten the same opportunities that I did.
I can’t even begin to put into words my experience of the Jamboree. Too much happened in too little time that even now over 2 years later I still haven’t fully processed my experience. It was so jam packed full of incredible opportunities and experiences that I will be grateful for, for the rest of my life. I think the thing that I remember most about the leaders here was if somebody needed a chance to rest or take a break for the day the leaders would stay with you. The Jamboree is also an opportunity for the leaders and they’d give up those experiences for the day to support us.
I wasn’t sure on how best to structure this “blog” so forgive my random skipping to each story. Another thing to note is that when you have 40 people spending every waking moment with each other for 3 whole weeks, you’re bound to get annoyed or be short tempered (especially when 36 of those people are annoying sweaty teenagers in the West Virginia heat!). The fact that they didn’t lose every ounce of sanity is just beyond impressive. In light of this I’d say being able to both stay calm and keep others calm will probably be the most valuable skill as a Leader.
I think I’ll end it here because as I said it is so hard to put into words and sum up how incredible my journey was, not just with the Jamboree itself but all the camps, meetups and fundraising I did on the way.
Thank you for considering becoming a Unit Leader, you’re going to absolutely change peoples lives forever.
Unit 49, 24th World Scout Jamboree and 4th Moreton Scouts