I’ve been volunteering in Scouting for nearly 13 years! (nearly 9 as an adult and 4 years as a young leader). Scouting has given me many things, from life changing experiences to learning new skills, who I am, is all down to Scouting!
However, nothing prepared me for what happened last weekend.
Sitting, waiting, praying the postman had delivered two very important letters… doesn’t sound that important?
Well, these letters were addressed to two of our Explorer Scouts, two girls, who have both been through our Scout section and are now Young Leaders, helping in one of our Beaver Colonies. But why the importance?
Three weeks ago these two Explorers attended a selection event to become members of the County contingent to The World Scout Jamboree in Japan, in 2015. 146 applicants went through one of two selection days, where the contingent leaders had to find just 36 young people to go on this once in a lifetime journey with them. (I wouldn’t have wanted the job of selection!).
These letters are all that stood between them and the road to Japan.
Knowing both Explorers were busy all Saturday on a young leader training event meant that if the letters had arrived, they wouldn’t be opening them until about 6pm! A very nervous day for both them and me! (I had given them both advice before going to the selection day, if they don’t get through, was it because I gave them bad advice? Would it all be my fault?)
Well, at 17:48 my phone bleeped… I opened the email which read;
I got in !!!! Wooo, thanks so much for all your support
YES! I sent a quick congratulations email in response, but also asked if she had heard from the other Explorer… The probability that neither would be going to Japan was very high, so getting a place for just one of them was very much a best case scenario.
The following 10 minutes, felt like a life time!
The first Explorer replied at 18:00 with;
We both got in!!!!
Could this be true? Really?
18:05 and the phone bleeps again, this time with confirmation from the second Explorer!
Just an email to say that……….
I’M GOING TO JAPAN!!!!
Wow! I just didn’t know what to say! Total amazement! I think I probably out did them both in the excitement levels! (I’m still excited while writing this!)
Both Explorers were now going to Japan! The chances of both being a part of the 36 member strong contingent was just too little to even think about!
Although I never experienced a World Scout Jamboree as a participant, I have attended the last two, 21st World Scout Jamboree in the UK during 2007 and the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden during 2011, both as a member of the International Service Team (IST).
I’ve seen the life changing experiences, I’ve lived and worked in a field with over 40,000 other Scouts from over 160 different countries and I’ve experienced Jamboree life.
Trying to explain what being at a Jamboree is like to someone who has never been is impossible! You really can’t put it into words!
These two Explorers are going to have an amazing time, they will form lifelong friendships and I really do hope they will come back and share their experiences and continue in Scouting for years to come! They may even catch the International Scouting bug! (It’s very addictive!)
Here’s a quote from a write up for our website by Isobel, one of the lucky Explorers;
But now I had to ring Ella up to ask how she had got on, I thought she wouldn’t have got in as it was quite unlikely we both would have, so I tried not to sound too happy as I awkwardly asked her if she had opened her letter. “I’m going to Japan” she said, obviously trying not to sound too pleased either. “Me too!” I shouted down the phone. This was the icing on the cake; not only do I get to go to the Japan jamboree, but I get to go with my best friend.
Scouting is all about giving young people the chances and opportunities to do something different, to learn new skills, to make life long friendships, to experience other cultures, to take part in new adventures, to grow and develop into active citizens and if the chance to fly to the other side of the world to attend a World Scout Jamboree comes along, well who could say no?
Scouting is why I volunteer!
But receiving emails from both Explorers thanking me for my support, well… that just makes everything feel so much more worthwhile!