Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Simply Reflections

It has now been two days since we arrived home from the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden. We are all settling back into our homes, readjusting to Eastern Standard Time, sharing pictures, and grumbling about the weather (seriously, more rain?). For all its times of hardships, the WSJ'11 will go down in our memories as the most amazing experience in scouting of our lives. Previous friendships have been strengthened to last a lifetime, and new friendships have been made. Already, our Irish friends have been finding us on Facebook (and vise-versa) and we have begun to connect with the rest of the contingent. The series of unfortunate events surrounding our departure from Sweden may have had a damper on that day, but will soon be close to forgotten (but will still remain indefinitely) and we will rejoice in the good memories.

With over 40,000 scouts at the closing ceremony, the 22nd WSJ was the biggest yet (the claim that there was a bigger one with 50,000 is actually incorrect), and most definitely the most public Jamboree ever. For 12 days, over 140 countries shared an experience, and the world watched. What will become of this? Well for one, thousands of wars have been waged over cultural differences, but if the youth of today can stand together no matter their differences, the future looks mighty brighter.

In two days I leave for Kenya to help build a school as part of the RIM Build a Village Program with Me to We. I hope that I can share my experiences with those I meet on this trip, and truly help to make a difference in this world.

The 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Rinkaby, Sweden.

Simply Scouting.

Simply... extraordinary.

This is Eric, member of the WSJ'11 Southern Skies patrol, signing off.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The End

Today marked the official end of the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden. All the groups left the WSJ site and headed home today. Our hopes for a rainless last night went unfulfilled, and I must say, the last 24 hours have been mighty interesting.

To start, the closing ceremony was amazing. Unfortunately, halfway throught the starting band, the rain began (or should I say returned). What could have been the best night of the entire Jamboree turned into one of the worst. We, being scouts, stuck it out in the rain for the ceremony, and had a blast. After a fitting performance by the band Europe, and a speech from the King of Sweden, the show concluded with a stunning musical fireworks display. Then the real fun started...

The Swedes will tell you that thunderstorms aren`t very common over there, so obviously we brought some of that scouting luck with us, because we got one alright. And all we had to sleep in was our little dinning shelter (and we have 40 people to fit under it). All was well until the rain hit, at which point we discovered the river running through our tent. A feeble attempt to evade the flooding gave way to a dash to the nearest available Town tent. There we played cards, experimented with Wint-O-Green Lifesavers and, in true Canadian style, grumbled about the weather. Cards soon became sleep, and we said goodbye to one of our members who was leaving very early that morning. After 2 or so hours sleep (depending on how warm each person was), we awoke to take down our shelter, hurry up, and wait.

Our bread-with-jam fueled energy was only dampened by the reappearance of the rain, who stayed with us for the rest of the day. We got on our bus without too much delay, and settled in for the long day of travel.

The bus ride was interesting to say the least, and the rest of our journey home was uneventful, thankfully. Now sitting at home, tired, all I can say is:
Good bye World Scout Jamboree, you were awesome, and for that, the world thanks you.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Last Day

Today is day 10 and the last day of the World Scout Jamboree 2011. This morning we have a bit of free time, then we spend the afternoon packing up. The closing ceremony will be followed by a dance party until 1am in the morning. After that, we will load up our gear and leave at 7am the next morning.

The end is bittersweet, but at least we got another rain free day to end with. If all goes well, we will sleep under the stars tonight, as if giving one final farewell to this land we called home for 12 days.

Last night was spent with friends, trying not to think about the final goodbye today. Everyone is getting eachother's names for Facebook, and there is lots of shirt signing occuring.

This has been amazing, and as much as we don't want it to end, we are all looking forward to getting home. We have lots of pictures, videos and stories, so hopefully this experience will live on in them.

Its a beautiful day and there is lots to do, so I will see ya back in Canada!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Too Much Fun, Not Enough Time

Since we left Toronto on July 22 until now, we have been having a great time. We took a photo at the airport to show our Canadian pride.

We landed in Frankfurt for the pre-jamboree and we had the opportunity to explore the city using their public transport system. While in Germany, we visited the Heidelberg Castle and the surrounding city. We were also able to go to a Roman Fort which was as far as Rome had conquered in Germany.

We then flew to Copenhagen and took a long bus ride to the jamboree. Setting up our campsite took the whole day. On the following day, we participated in a flag raising ceremony and spent three hours in a huge maze/obstacle course activity called Quest.

A unique part of the Jamboree was the Camp-In-Camp Activity. We played games with a local group and even cooked a really tasty meal using random ingredients from whatever was available at the Jamboree Store.

The jamboree is slowly coming to an end with a strange feeling of homesickness and nostalgia (even if we are still very young). Meeting the Vice President of the Philippines who is also the President of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines capped our once-in-a-lifetime experience!

A Not-So Welcome Return

Today is day 9, meaning there is only one full day left at the World Scout Jamboree. It started with a wonderful experience: the chance to help raise the 176 national flags flying at the WSJ. 20 members of our troop got up bright and early, and headed to the flags in full uniform. Unfortunetly, not all of us got to raise a flag as there were more people than needed. The few of us who did raise a flag got to raise one of the World Scouting flags located in Four Seasons Square.

After this, we headed to our last module activity, Global Development Village (GDV). We spent the morning learning about the environment, how Mexican scouts are working to help it and how to help it yourself. After lunch, we split up, half of us going to Entrepreneurship, and half going to Health. At Health we explored several health issues local to where we are from, then learned a bit about Ugandan scouts fighting malaria. There was so much to explore at GDV, but so little time.

Our not so welcome visitor today was old good old friend, rain. It has been raining on and off all day, again. Not as bad as earlier in the week, so we don't really mind, but it has put a bit of a damper on our last few days. Tomorrow we tear down camp, then have the closing ceremony. Tonight we intend to have a dance party with all our Irish (and assorted other nationalities) friends.

We are all tired, and there is the occasional spat between eachother, but none of us truly want to go home. The WSJ has been one of (or maybe even the) most amazing experience of our lives, and no one wants it to end. But, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. We still have one more day though, so we will hope for no rain, and have the best day of our lives. This is the begining of the end of 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden, but our experiences and new

friendships will live on forever.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Canadian, Eh!

Today is day 8 and is Cultural Festival Day here at the World Scout Jamboree. Every troop had food and or other activities available for the rest of the camp to enjoy. Our troop partnered with Canada House to make pancakes with real maple syrup, and some good old ball hockey.

The morning was spent cleaning our site and finishing building our gateway. We then split the troop into shifts, and the great pancake cook off began. Our patrol spent a few hours touring the camp, enjoying (and sometimes not so much enjoying) the food from various cultures. Even though some of the food is more of an aquired taste, we still enjoyed the experience. When our shift came, we quickly slipped into a routine of cooking and serving. Our authentic Canadian maple syrup was a big hit around camp, and our site was busy even after we ran out. We still have lots of leftover syrup though (mmmmmmmm...). Tonight there is a camp wide event at the main stage, which should prove to be amazing once again.

If I haven't already made it clear enough, the best part of a World Jamboree is meeting so many people from so many different cultures, and seeing them all work together. Our hockey was a hit across all nationalities, and seeing the mix of people all playing our game made me a proud Canadian.

All the Canadian Contingent gear (crests, shirts, jackets, etc...) has been exceptionaly popular amongst the trading community, and a lot of us have now traded some of it away for various other contingents' stuff, especially UK and Ireland.

Things are amazing here. I mean, this is the 22nd World Scout Jamboree, eh!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


One difference about a World Scout Jamboree from other similar gathering of youth is the display of pioneering skills. Pioneering is the science and art of tranforming logs and ropes into a variety of structures and camp gadgets.

Scouts Canada

Scouts Canada, the country’s leading youth organization, has more than 100,000 members nationwide representing every faith and culture. Scouts Canada groups offer programming in more than 19 languages reflecting Canada’s multicultural landscape and communities.

The Scouts Canada Action Plan for Canadian Scouting is the organization’s roadmap to enhance its public visibility as a relevant, dynamic youth organization of the 21st century. Its major elements include making learning and programming resources more accessible to new and current volunteers, enhancing Scouts Canada’s image, enhancing its organizational capacity, and achieving meaningful youth involvement. With these strategies for success, Scouts Canada is making itself known as the premiere youth serving organization in Canada and has grown in size each year since adopting the Action Plan in 2009. Scouts Canada’s national office is located in Ottawa. Scouts Canada is a not-for-profit organization (Charitable Registration No. 10776 1694 RR0028) and a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement.