A month after thousands of Scouts from across Canada and the world converged on Camp Woods, memories of Canadian Scout Jamboree 2013 are still fresh in the minds of those who attended.
Among them are three Sylvan Lake residents, who, unlike some that attended, did not have to travel very far for the one-week event that wrapped up July 13.
Logan Manweiler, Daxton Bylsma and Jocelyn Mosset have all been involved with Scouting for several years, and were excited to have so many people from across Canada and the world visit their home camp of Camp Woods — even though it looked slightly different than normal.
“They had to change it massively,” said Manweiler, 11. “It was way different.”
In preparing for the onslaught of 6,500 Scouts, volunteers and leaders that attended the jamboree, organizers ensured the camp site was capable of hosting such a large number of visitors.
They essentially created a small city, complete with its own hospital, daily newspaper and security team.
Such infrastructure was necessary to ensure scouts remained fit and able to enjoy the wide variety of activities that took place throughout the week.
“They had lots of stuff, it was good,” said Manweiler, who enjoyed nightly concerts, the zip line, the rock wall and playing in the mud pit.
The mud pit was also a favourite for 13-year-old Mosset, while Bylsma, 11, preferred the camp’s water-related activities, such as canoeing.
“The water wasn’t really cold, so if you fell in, you weren’t cold,” he said.
Manweiler also felt water activities were more enjoyable because of warmer temperatures.
“Usually Sylvan Lake is freezing, but over there it was really warm,” he said.
The jamboree gave Scouts the chance to meet other Scouts from across Canada, and around the world, from places as far away as Taiwan.
Mosset said she enjoyed trying to communicate with Scouts who speak different languages, and also meeting and talking with other Scouts from Alberta.
Some she spoke with mentioned the noticeable difference in the appearance of Camp Woods, which, until the jamboree, had not held an event of that size before.
“Most of the (local) people that came up to me said that the whole camp had changed from last time they came out,” she said. “There’s a lot of trees, still, but it’s kind of spaced out.”
Additional space was needed to fit the thousands of tents that were set up throughout the camp site.
Some patrols camped in wooded areas, while others found themselves in more open spaces.
With thousands of Scouts from different time zones gathered in one place, rest was not always easy, according to Mosset, who claimed she’s still catching up on sleep lost during the jamboree.
Restless Scouts chatting among one another late at night didn’t help matters, she added.
“We would just yell at them every night. One night we actually went over there and banged on their tent for them to shut up.”
Initially, 5,000 were expected to attend the jamboree. That number quickly rose to more than 6,500, meaning camping space was limited for some Scouts.
Yet, despite experiencing some of the hiccups that arise with having 6,500 people living in a considerably small area for a week, the jamboree was unforgettable for plenty of good reasons, assured the Sylvan Lake Scouts.
For all three of them, it was their first Scouting jamboree. Future similar events being held in Newfoundland and Japan over the next few years now give them something to look forward to, and are just some of the adventurous experiences for which Scouting is famous.
“(As a Scout) you get to go and do a bunch of different things,” said Bylsma. “You’re not just doing one thing.”