Hi Everyone, Martin here for the first post of 2019.
Firstly, a Happy New Year to all the readers on the page. Secondly, an apology that posts stopped appearing in August – life got hectic and writing fell to the wayside, as did all of my Personal Development Goals.
So, in the truest traditions of New Years Resolutions, I intend on recommitting to my PD Goals – I’m back on the weight-loss and exercise regime and I’m committing to trying to update this page with Top Tips at least once a fortnight, but preferably once a week. I’m also going to work on goading Lyndsey and Matty into contributing more (Matty’s had a draft post sat waiting since July…)
As we get closer to the Jamboree and more information becomes available we will try and post more frequently. If you’ve got a question please get in touch through the comments, or the Self Help Group (Please see the links page) and we’ll see what we can do. If we see lots of similar questions, it gives us something to write about.
So, onto the Top Tips, New Year – New Me
It’s finally happened. We’re now in 2019, the same year as the Jamboree. There are 196 days till the opening ceremony. Personally I’m super excited because two days ago I paid off my balance and booked my flights to the USA. I got my job allocation through and I’m working in Participant Food with Chris, my boss from 2011. Today I placed my optional kit order. It’s kind of sank in that I am going to the Jamboree and it is only 196 days away.
I’ve compared the Jamboree experience to climbing Mount Everest before, and I really like this as a metaphor. Attending a World Scout Jamboree, especially as a participant is seen as the pinnacle of Scouting by many, in the same way that Everest is literally the pinnacle of the world. It’s a metaphor I’m going to return to over time, so please excuse me for explaining it. Just before I do, I have to give credit to the Metaphor to Mr. Bill Roberts of Adlington Scout Group and Sherpa to 36 Young People way back in 2007 when I first summited my Scouting Everest.
When were selected to go, it was as if we had gained the permit to climb the mountain and headed straight away to Kathmandu. Here we met those we’d be climbing with, made friendships and promises. As we’ve been on training weekends and attended briefing events we’ve made it as far as Lukla at the base of the mountain. We’ve been doing the training and buying the equipment to help us get further up the mountain, and right now, continuing the analogy we’ve ascended to Base Camp. We’re now on the ice, we’re now at 3,440m. It’s more than likely higher than we’ve been before, we know some of our strengths and weaknesses, we’ve got to know the people we’re summiting with, other climbers (participants) and guides (Unit leaders and IST). Right now, we’re sat at base camp, acclimatising and looking up. We’re waiting for the word to go. On a clear day, looking out of the tents, we can see the peak there at 8,848m, so close we feel we can reach out and touch it, but we’ve still got the toughest part of the climb to do. We’re not there yet, we’ve still got 5,408m to climb before we reach the summit.
There will be training camps and briefing weekends still to come. There will be personal pressures, exam stresses, job stresses. We will laugh and we will cry before we board whatever plane will take us over the Atlantic Ocean to America. There will be days that you will cherish for the rest of your life and there will be days that you’d rather forget. But stick at it, we can see the Summit. We can almost reach out and touch it.
The theme of the Jamboree is “Unlocking a New World”
This is more than just a clever word play about visiting the New World, it’s about learning to see the world around us in a new light, it’s about embracing change and trying new things. The Jamboree will take you out of your comfort zone, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. For the participants and unit leaders, that’s why your doing your training weekends, to get you used to living with each other and working together so you’re prepared. For the IST and CMST it’s why we’re encouraged to get to know one another and do things together.
The USA is probably culturally and anthropologically one of the closest to the UK as you’re going to find. Major events in US History mark ours too from recent events through to the First and Second World Wars. We see a lot of US Culture on our TVs – from crime dramas to sitcoms the US has made huge impressions on our culture. But it’s worth remembering we are not the same country, we don’t have the same history. Twice we’ve been on opposite sides of conflict, in 1775 as the US became a country, during the dress rehearsal for the French Revolution, and in 1812 when they fancied another go (whilst Britain was dealing with a Corsican Tyrant in Europe). The interpretations of events are very different, and major events in US history, such as the Civil War, events that shaped the history and culture of the United States did nothing but irritate cotton importers in the UK.
If you’re doing HoHo in Canada, or are one of the IST doing the post-event tours to Canada or Mexico (or doing your own travelling), you’ll see differences in the places you go. Every State in the USA has a different cultural identity and a different accent, but then again, have a conversation with me, Matty and Lyndsey and you can close your eyes and guess where we’re from. We can map different responses to questionnaires in colours that show all sorts of divides in opinion or ideology. It might not be as pronounced as crossing from Ontario, Canada, into Quebec,
France Canada, but its there.
The Jamboree site will be a microcosm of the World attending. Walk through your sub-camp and look, listen. You will hear 20 different languages in 20 steps. You will see different ways of wearing a neckie/necker/scarf (delete as appropriate). At mealtimes close your eyes and follow your nose. There will be as many different ways to cook the food as there is units on site. I remember being invited to dinner back in 2015 with the Devonshire Unit. I can’t remember what the meal was, I’m sure it was lovely, but it had been cooked completely differently from the South Wales unit we visited on the way back to the IST Subcamp, and they cooked it completely differently to the Indian unit I lingered near in my security vest in the hope of an invite for the delicious smelling food they’d made.
It’s time to bring this to a close, (I’m aiming for less than 1000 words a post), so what am I trying to say?
In a nutshell, Embrace the New World.
Open yourself to the possibilities you will encounter. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Whether it be food, or an activity or whatever you feel like. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, probably every week between now and the Jamboree, where these events are concerend, you get out what you put in. If you fully immerse yourself in the Jamboree journey, everything from the training weekends to the culture day activities on site, you will have the absolute time of your life. It can be scary, it can be hard, but it’s worth it in the long run.
IST, our experience will be very different from the Participants and Unit Leaders, but for the most part, you will be working in a multi-national team. Bond with them, get to know them, have your meals with them, go round the pavilions with them, explain bits of the UK to them and they will explain bits of their own country to you. Eat in the food-houses and let them show you their national dishes and how to eat them. You’re not travelling to the New World to spend time with people you see on a regular basis – they can be a safety net, people who’ll check in on you when you’re there. If I see Matty more than a couple of times the whole duration of the Jamboree I’ll be surprised, and we’re travelling there together!
So, I want to try a new thing to finish. I have a challenge. In the next couple of weeks I want you to try something new. This can be something simple, if you live near a Tim Horton’s, but have never been in, go and try a donut or TimBits. If you’re going to Canada, the whole country runs on Tim Horton’s Coffee and TimBits. Taco Bell’s are popping up around the UK, try one of these out for lunch or dinner, they’re a staple fast food chain in the USA. If you’re slightly more adventurous, try making some American, Mexican or Canadian food for your family, or your unit. If you’re a Leader or a Young Leader, volunteer to run a night about the Jamboree or one of the host nations (or all three) with food and games. Please let us know how you get on in the Self Help Group (link below) or post it on the UK Contingent page!
Till next time!