For the first two weeks of this year six intrepid Victor Scouts, our two Scout Leaders, one venturer, our Group Leader and our Joey District Leader/parent travelled to purpose-built Jamboree site at Cataract Park, an hour south of Sydney, to attend the ten action packed days of the 24thAustralian Scout Jamboree.
Our scouts, along with Echidna (as welfare leader) and Komodo (as quartermaster), were part of Troop A203. We joined with scouts from Pimlico-Mundingburra (Townsville), Dolphin Sea Scouts (Gladstone), Dayboro, Queens Park (Ipswich) and Wulguru (Townsville). Our troop line leader was Tiger (PM) and activities leader Dingo (DSS).
All sub camps were named after different parts of Australia: The Kimberley, The Daintree, Cradle Mountain, The Great Barrier Reef and Uluru. We were housed for the two weeks within Sub Camp A – The Kimberley with our mascot being the frilly-necked lizard.
The scouts participated in a huge range of different activities. There were four major activity days exploring Sydney harbour precinct, Jamberoo Water park, water activities in Botany bay and Endurance (a bush initiative adventure/challenge course hosted by the Venturers). Then half day adventurous activities including Challenge Valley (a Jamboree traditional obstacle course), water slide, laser skirmish, low ropes, alpine rescue, high ropes, rock climbing, abseiling, giant swing, caving, zombie escape and human foozball. In additional there half day skill activities including the functioning historical Australiana village, Brownsea (a back to basic scout and bush craft hosted by the Rovers), Circus and the Shed.
We did experience some challenging weather over the two weeks with the first four days being torrential rain and flooding and then the second week seeing temperatures between 35-40 degrees. Whilst it made some days a little less pleasant than possible it also developed some fantastic resourcefulness and resilience in our scouts that will stand them in good stead for life.
Our scouts also received high praise for their camping standards. We were awarded not one but two Qld Camping Standard pennants! This is an extremely difficult award to received. The award is presented to the three troops in Queensland every day deemed to have implemented the camping standards the best. It is judged on our normal camping standards that look at safety, hygiene practices, camping maintenance, kitchen maintenance etc. Out of over 88 troops to have achieved this once is quite exceptional let alone twice, especially in light of some of the weather we experienced and speaks to the co-ordinated effort of all leaders and scouts in our troop.
In addition to the Qld Camping Standards each sub camp also awarded up to five different pennants during the jamboree. These fell into the categories of health, safety, skill, tidy and community. Troop A203 was successful in receiving all five of these awards as well. Fantastic Effort everyone!
We were also very fortunate that our Group Leader Hawkeye was assigned as a photo reporter with the JNN Newspaper team and he managed to capture a huge array of great photos. Check out more photos from AJ2016 here.
All have returned from #aj2016 with memories that will be treasured for life. Their experiences have made them stronger, more resilient, more independent and capable and the benefits to the scouts, their home troop, group, families and community are not to be underestimated.
The next Jamboree will be hosted in South Australia in 2019. Any scouts aged 12-15 will be eligible provided they meet the criteria (10 nights under canvas; 3 consecutively and Pioneer Badge awarded).
Later this year we will host a Jamboree night where you can talk to scouts who attended, see memorabilia, badge collections, market day souvenirs, read the daily newspapers and check out all the amazing photos. We will also be putting a fundraising plan in place for AJ2019 to enable as many scouts as possible to attend.