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.

Chillin' in Sweden

Today is day 7 of the Jamboree, and it was our free day. Last night we had Dream, which was somewhat different than we expected. The fog filled tent and "Senses" activity were cool, and we enjoyed the Swedish night while taking a journey from "death to birth".

The day after Dream you get a free day, which we have exploited to its fullest extent. We have been shopping at the Jamboree Shop, enjoying the various activities around Four Seasons Square and the view from the flagpole tower. We also got to sleep in (!!!!!), and after and excellent lunch, went to the beach!

A short bus ride took us to the Jamboree beach, which was very crowded. Nevertheless, the Baltic Sea was warm, sandy, and barely salty. You could actually open your eyes underwater and they didn't sting the slightest (nor did the water taste bad). We enjoyed the sunny beach, and played in the sand and in the refreshing water.

Upon arriving back at camp, we discovered that we had a acquired a pool at our campsite! We now have our very own beach to enjoy, and waterguns galore to play with.

Tomorrow is Cultural Festival Day, for which our troop has partnered with Canada House to cook pancakes with maple syrup for the camp, and to have hockey games. It will be awesome.

...Afterall, what isn't awesome about the World Scout Jamboree?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Day 6 here at the World Scout Jamboree. Things are going well so far.

Today's event was People. It was all about exploring how yourself and others feel. We played a game called Rafa Rafa where we got to experience how cultures feel when others intrude and don't know their customs. Trying to figure out what is insulting to others can be quite frustrating and difficult.

As past entries may hint to, the biggest part of the Jamboree is meeting new people. We have become good friends with the Irish group we met at Camp in Camp, and the constant badge trading has lead to many new frienships. We have even had lots of opportunities to use our french, when speaking with people from Belgium and France!

It has been amazing here, and tonight we have Dream, which is supposed to be the best activity. We'll just have to wait and see...

Monday, 1 August 2011

Camp in Camp

Several of the Canadian groups enjoyed 'Camp in Camp' yesterday. This unique experience brings the units from the World Jamboree to local Scout camps as guests of Scandinavian Scout groups. For 24 hours you have a smaller camp experience and get to know the local culture and people better.

Southern Skies Patrol was the guest of a Norwegian group and enjoyed the lakeside location. It was nice to get away from the bustle of the jamoboree and sit by a campfire sharing scouting experiences. The sunny weather was also enjoyable allowing us to sleep under the stars.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

A Gift From Above

Today we received the greatest gift we could have asked for, sun! Just about dinner time, the sky cleared and the sun shone. As its brays penetrated the clouds and reached the ground, a cheer erupted from the camp and spirits were immediately lifted. Things are being dried out, and some things even washed and dried. The feel here in Sweden is much better now. There appears to be more clouds moving in, but the sunny break was much appreciated.

Once again I am at a loss for words to describe the amazing experience we are having. Today's activity was "Earth", where we participated in four activities; Water, Soil, Wind and Oxygen. They were all more or less simple do-it-yourself-at-home experiments to watch how our earth works, and it poured rain, but the experience of doing it with Scouts from all around the world made it worth it.

The norm here at WSJ'11 is for various people to pop their heads into your tent throughout the day to say hi and trade items. Some of us have been going trade crazy, collecting for example neckers from 13 different countries, or collecting countless foreign contingent badges. The experience of interacting with all these different cultures and languages in amazing, and although it is sometimes difficult, is always rewarding in the end.

Tomorow is our Camp in Camp experience, so we are busy preparing our gear and food, and doing no-rain dances. There is so much to explore and learn here, and so little time! It is now our 4th day of 12 here in Sweden (Day 3 of the Jamboree), so we are all trying to soak up as much as possible (I'm not refering to rain).

I am just getting things sorted out to upload videos, so hopefully there will be some up soon. Its time to go and rejoin the fun!

Sunshine & Puddles

Hej (Swedish for hello),

Well the biggest roar was hear across the camp this evening. It was not due to any special guests nor banana splits being served. It was due to the sun coming out. After three days of rain the sun finally came out this evening to every one's delight. The entire Jamboree site is alive!

Despite the rain, all have been having a great time. Smiles are everywhere! The youth are in constant motion and always having fun. Youth from many nations are breaking the language and cultural barriers, playing games, singing or sharing spontaneous hugs. It is an amazing experience to watch as a leader and parent. If only the UN could see the smiles and good will many of our global problems could disappear. I am proud to be part of the experience.

Wish to peek in on our action? Webcam #3 is pointed right at one of the groups in the Canadian Contingent: http://webcam.worldscoutjamboree.se/#webcam3 Look for the yellow tents!

Quest Event

Ok so yesterday we had an event called Quest. It was a Norse event where you had to do things that the Vikings would have to do. These included: Hammer throwing, Obstacle course, a maze, Rescue the Norse God, Blindfolded Horseshoes throwing, Giant marble maze and many others. When the event was over there was music and lots of dancing. We walked back to our site and started supper with the other patrols from around the world.

Day 3

Today was the third day at the Scout Jamboree in Sweden. We have been doing many interesting things so far here. Everything from the activities we do at camp to just walking around and seeing all the diffrent people around are amazing and fun.

The activites we have done were exciting and fun. Yesterday's were based off of the past and they called it Quest. It was a bunch of activites that were all about the Norse mythology and the past of countries. And today's were all based around the earth and how it works.

But the best part of the whole Jamboree is meeting new people from different countries. Last night we had three patrols from different countries come to our site and have a traditional Canadian meal; it was french toast and maple syrup. It was very good and everyone there seemed to enjoy it and they got a taste of Canada out of it. It was great to see that everyone was having fun with us and trying new things that they have never done before.

I'm looking forward to doing the same on the coming days of the Jamboree!!!!!

Friday, 29 July 2011

This Is It!

Well... we are finally here! The World Scout Jamboree 2011 in Sweden has officially begun. After two flights, countless bus and tram rides, and a nice stay in Germany, the Jamboree opened last night with an amazing opening ceremony.

The three most significant aspects of the Jamboree so far are the size, the weather, and the people. There are 39,000 people here, from over 150 countries. The camp area stretches on forever, and has everything from cafes to climbing walls to x-ray machines.
The day we arrived it was gloriously sunny, which gave a good day to set up. Since then, it has barely stopped raining. It did stop for the Opening Ceremony, and does stop occasionly, but only long enough to get your hopes up.
The people here are amazing. We have played games and talked and traded and interacted with people from all across the world. Tonight we will share a Canadian meal (French toast with maple syrup) with three patrols from other countries, then tour around the camp playing traditional games from other countries.

I cannot even begin to explain the sheer size and power of this many people from around the world interacting in such a productive way. WSJ'11 is the most amazing experience on the planet!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Scouts in Frankfurt

Well parents, you would be amazed and impressed with your youth. Your kids have been embracing and exploring the German culture and countryside. I have had the pleasure of seeing their maturity and willingness to embrace new things. Here are just a few of the things they have accomplished:

  • They have explored ancient churches and sat quietly in a chapel soaking in the ambiance.

  • They have ably navigated their way around the transit system of a foreign city not knowing the language.

  • They have order authentic German food in restaurants including bratwurst, sauerkraut, schnitzel and strudel (think strudel was their favourite)

  • They have even sang songs while walking through a German market with all eyes examining these strangers from abroad.
All in all it has been a great few days and I am proud of their accomplishments. These Scouts are representing Canada very well.

On to Sweden!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Friday, 15 July 2011

Welcome to the Scouts Canada World Jamboree 2011 Blog

About the World Jamboree and the Canadian Contingent 

Every four years tens of thousands of youth gather in a tented city for two weeks of activities and adventure. This year more than 38,000 Scouts, Scouters and volunteers from 150 countries will meet at Rinkaby Field in Sweden to meet new friends, get to know each other’s cultures and participate in exciting camp activities.

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.