Meeting new friends from all over Canada and the world is just one of the things Scouts will remember most about their time at last week’s Canadian Scout Jamboree 2013 (CJ ’13) held at Camp Woods.
“This is what I live for,” said Sarah Savic Kallesoe, who travelled from Burnaby, B.C., to attend the jamboree. “I’ve met so many new people, and I think this is the highlight of scouting.”
Savic Kallesoe is a member of the jamboree’s public relations team, and has been involved with scouting since she was five years old.
CJ ’13 marked her first jamboree as a volunteer, and she was one of many who helped create an unforgettable experience for those who attended.
“It’s wonderful because you have this sort of connecting bond. Everybody has something in common, and that something is scouting,” she said.
The large size of the jamboree, which hosted 6,500 Scouts, leaders and volunteers between July 6 and 13, meant much help was needed to ensure their stay at Camp Woods was both fun and safe.
Some who attended likened the camp site to a small city — complete with its own daily newspaper, radio station, police force and medical centre.
It even had its own currency in badges, which were traded between Scouts eager to add to and enhance their collections.
“I got a picture of a girl sitting down in the corner with her guitar case open and she was strumming, and rather than people throwing money in, people were throwing badges in,” said Savic Kallesoe.
Trading stalls displaying badges they were willing to trade were set up by some Scouts, she said. At times the site resembled a marketplace.
Badge trading is a common activity among Scouts, and jamborees offer a good opportunity to obtain rare and exotic badges from different places and events.
Some Scouts keep them to use in bargaining, while others show them off by sewing them onto a wearable blanket.
“As you progress, you get more and more badges, and a blanket is really a Scout’s storybook,” said Savic Kallesoe. “It tells you where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what you like and who you’ve met. It’s really personal.”
As well as trading badges, Scouts at CJ ’13 took part in a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, archery, sailing and orienteering.
Scouts were also given a chance to demonstrate their skills and talents during onsite talent shows.
A care corps assisted those experiencing feelings of homesickness, or who simply needed someone to talk to.
“We have a whole headquarters dedicated just to people who are there to listen,” said Savic Kallesoe.
CJ ’13 concluded with a ceremony last Friday evening. Chief commissioner Andrew Price declared the jamboree officially closed, before Kingston, Ontario’s the Abrams Brothers performed several songs.
Some Scouts left for home that night, while others left Saturday morning.
On their way out, all of them adhered to the Scouts’ leave-no-trace policy by picking up at least two pieces of garbage.
Many — Savic Kallesoe included — were already looking forward to future scouting events, and the chance to meet once again with Scouts from areas and backgrounds different than their own.
“Scouting offers so many opportunities, it’s mind-blowing,” she said. “Regardless of who you are or where you come from, you’re welcomed into the arms of scouting.
“That’s just how it is.”