Sunday, 7 August 2016

Essex International Jamboree 2016 - Junior Jam

The Essex International Jamboree happens every 4 years in Chelmsford, Essex bringing together Scouts and Guides from all over the world for a week of activities, camping and friendships.  For the first time ever they opened their doors to organised groups of Beavers, Cubs, Brownies and Rainbows for their very own Junior Jam (a Jamboree in a day).   The children had an absolutely amazing day and all want to go back in 4 years time for the main Jamboree, I've started the savings account so I can also make it back.

So what happens at a Junior Jam?  Read on to find out more.

9.30am - Arrival and 'Noa's* Pathway'.
The excitement began from the moment we arrived when the children met members of staff  by following ‘Noa’s Pathway’.  With clues to follow in their passports to find the next sticker they saw everything on offer for the older Jamboree members.   The bubbly personalities of the volunteers was overwhelming, I'm sure they superglued their smiles on.

*Noa is the Jamboree Mascot you can read his story here.

10.30am - Opening Ceremony and activities
Just like the main Jamboree the children had an opening ceremony where Jess, Karen and Peter welcomed them to the site and told them about all the fantastic things they would be doing that day.

Then it was time to let them loose on the activities..... and what a lot of activities there was.

We visited the animal tent, hosted by Snakes Alive, and held a snake.....

..... did some crafts in the creative tent (but only managed a few it would be great to find the instructions for the rest).....



... went on the Unicorn Train.......

........tried out the bouldering wall.......

......... and the climbing wall........

..........and the absailing (although one little Beaver had a better idea)......

.... The swinging ladder proved too tricky for our little legs but was great fun.

We tried our hands at Caving.............

.............and explored the fire engine, got into trouble for putting the lights on, (and found water in the hose).

We made some new friends in the bucket stacking challenge.......

............. and tried our hand at archery (it wasn't as much fun as the real thing).

I had prepared some pegs before we went and taught our group all about 'pegging' they thought this was a fantastic game and had a brilliant time sneaking up on people and 'pegging' them.  I even got caught a couple of times.   Note to self:  whilst walking around a Jamboree Site with pegs on your clothes and in your hair is perfectly acceptable you get some strange looks when you stop at Tesco on the way home having forgotten to remove them.

I had to feel a little sorry for this poor Cub who had the best ponytail for Pegging, and we couldn't resist adding one to her collection.

1-2pm - Lunch Time.
A chance to explore the shop and site and go to visit our friends on the Subcamps.
The shop was amazing, I loved my collection of badges for my Camp Blanket and just missed out on the last black polo shirt :(

We found the 8th Colchester group in the 'Tereshkova’s Mission', but even on the way there we were made to feel welcome by Scouts and Guides from other groups who asked us to sign their banners and gave us high fives.  It was an amazing atmosphere.

2pm - Campfire
We headed back to camp in time for our Campfire, unfortunartly it was a little windy and too close to the inflatables to light it properly but we had fun all the same.  The leaders weren't at all jealous that the man running it (whose name I can't remember) could carry a tune..... and I've come away with a great new song (5 Chocolate Eclairs) to teach my Beavers.

2.30 - 4.30 activities and free time
During these last 2 hours we were free to roam the site (tho couldn't use the Jamboree activities) and meet up with our groups or we could continue with the activities in the Junior Jam area (we chose the latter) and, in between showers, completed "the best obstacle course ever" in the inflatables, I was even allowed on the reallly big slide.

We loved Steve's Different Drum session learning how to beat out syllables on different parts of the drums, playing tunes back and Phoebe even created her own piece of music.  I loved the way he taught it using soft toys and will be taking this back on board for the next musicians badge session.

Hook-a-Duck with a difference, this is one I am definatly re-creating for Founders Day.  Each duck had a date on it that related to an important event in either scouting or guiding history (depending on the symbol on its base).  The children had to hook a duck out and match it to the correct event on the grid.


4.30pm -  Closing Ceremony
The children had their own closing ceremony where they did the Jamboree Flash Dance and some point scoring activities.  Noah was invited onto the stage to talk about what he had enjoyed, I think this made his day.

The way out was lined with staff waving (and high-fiving) good-bye to everyone which was a lovely touch.

We would love to attend another Junior Jam in the UK if one comes up if not we will just have to wait for the next Essex International Jamboree in 2020.
At £20 per child and £10 per leader to attend the day was great value and the experience everyone attending got out of it was worth 100x more than that.

Each child received a Junior Jam goody bag with a pen, a badge and a passport in as well as a bottle of water they could refill.  Leaders got a Junior Jam badge and unlimited tea and coffee throughout the day.

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