Monday, August 8, 2011
Taking a contingent of 79 scouts to a World Scout Jamboree requires a lot of work both before and during the event. We have a long list of people we owe our thanks to.
We need to start with the backbone of the Jamboree Planning Team - Josephine Gatt - who despite not being able to join us for the event, has worked tirelessly and selflessly to sort out the finances and administration (and a lot more). Without her we wouldn't even have registered for the event.
Many members of staff at Island Headquarters have supported us in many ways - Leslie Bonnici, Pat Marsh, Robert Gonzi, Mark Pizzuto, David Darmanin and Joe Zerafa are the obvious ones that come to mind. Without their support we wouldn't have even have gotten close to the airport.
The Contingent Management Team - Emanuel Grech, Paul Galea, Claudette Magro and Mark O'Neill were instrumental in running the Contingent Headquarters at the Jamboree and provided me with a solid team of people I could trust to make things happen. Without them I doubt if we would even have had tents in Sweden...
The Troop Leaders of Troop 1 - Timmy Cutugno, James Spiteri, Nicola Portelli and Darren Mercieca and of Troop 2 - Ian Fenech and Edith Camilleri had the tough job of keeping our members organised, fed, groomed, unlost, sane, entertained, safe and mostly dry during the Jamboree. They had a tough job to do and they performed it admirably. Without them I would probably be arrested somewhere... and a couple of scouts might be in a container on the way to Brazil.
All the members of the International Service Team came up to the Jamboree and worked long and sometimes difficult shifts to provide the manpower to make things work on site. I had the pleasure of sharing the campsite and dining quarters with them and their energy and fun-loving spirit kept us going. Without them and the other ISTs we would have had no food, toilets, media relations, activities, and all the other services required to run a town of 40,000 people.
Finally I would like to thank the participants for being themselves and for enjoying the Jamboree experience with us. Maybe one day you will take our places and help some other crazy scouts camp in a foreign field abroad for two weeks with another 40,000 people. Without you I would have lower blood pressure, a relaxing summer holiday and no blisters on my feet :-)
Yours in Scouting,
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Everyone has enjoyed the last few hours of sunshine on the site and we just had a security briefing to make sure hand luggage only contains allowed items.
Be advised that I encountered quite a few interesting items in your kids' handluggage - including a crocodile, an infocenter sign, a box of lightbulbs and a couple of sombreros... Checkin at CPH is going to be interesting :)
Our homeward journey begins in a couple of hours.
The weather has not been nice with us and keeping dry is starting to become very difficult.
The IST campsite has been cleared out and the Malta Contingent Headquarters has been dismantled, packed into the shipping crates and wrapped in plastic.
Both Troops have almost finished taking down their tents and the team is helping them pack the equipment crates and prepare them for shipping.
We managed to change our departure time from the site to Copenhagen Airport to 22:30, giving us less time in the wet and more at the airport where we can change and dry off.
Despite the weather, there is an impressive stock of food to keep us going until we get to civilisation. Bad weather we can handle - but we're Maltese - so forget leaving us hungry ! Food also helps keep the morale high so I'm not complaining.
I have been advised that the internet connection at the campsite from now on might get spotty - so updates from us may not be as frequent.
The weather is wet and grey but the participants are working with a quiet determination to strike camp and clear up the campsite.
Our buses are sceduled to collect us from the campsite at around midnight so we are working on the logistics of where to keep our kits in a dry place until then.
Early this morning ISTs Paul, Josmar, Stephen and Mark went to the Jamboree shop to acquire some of the dining shelters for the Association. They deserve an award just for getting out of their sleeping bags and braving the heavy rain !
There is a lull in the downfall right now and we are taking advantage of it to pack our kit and take down the tents.
Will update you later
Tomorrow morning the troops will dismantle their campsites and prepare the pallets of equipment for shipping. We'll do our best to keep everything dry but we'll see how helpful the weather will be on this point.
On a more positive note the closing ceremony was amazing and even thought it rained for most of it, the atmosphere was incredible. The highlight for people of my generation was definitely the legendary rock group Europe singing 'The Final Countdown' at full blast. The King of Sweden also made a very energetic appearance and the 3D fireworks display that ended the show was top notch. The kids were highly energised after the ceremony and I hope they get a good night's sleep - we are all going to need it tomorrow.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Whilst walking down from adult town we could smell bacon and sausages being cooked as the troops began to stir.
We're in the queue for an english breakfast from the irish food house... We figured we need the energy for the last full day of activities at the jamboree.
Under the tireless supervision of Edith, they prepared hot dogs, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and fruit salad with custard. The other patrol dug a trench for waste water, washed the pots and pans and cut wood for the campfire.
At its most basic level, a jamboree is half cultural festival and half a survival game where you need to adapt according to the resources you have available.
We may not have the fanciest equipment or the most resources as a contingent, but when it comes to adaptation and survival, few contingents come close. The picture shows the troop proudly showing off their Friendship award.
I left Troop 2 with a smile as one of the scouts from Monaco - the neighbouring troop - came to ask if we had any leftover food for him. Evidently he prefers our cuisine to his own.
Tomorrow is the last official day at the jamboree and the big event will be the closing ceremony.
The end of the adventure is near.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Under the guidance of the Sustainability Policy Document, every team contributing to the Jamboree has fully embraced the Green Agenda. For example, by carefully choosing what equipment they use, the Arena Events team has saved two thirds of the energy they originally planned to use. The charging stations have also joined in by setting up bikes which when peddled can be used to charge phones!
It is not just the planning teams which have done their bit for the environment. Every unit has been issued with separate recycling bins to recycle their rubbish. Each and every time these bins get emptied into one of the four recycling centres we help sustain the world we live in for generations to come.
All this effort has been recognised by Keep Sweden Tidy, a non profit organisation which aims to do exactly that. They have presented the Jamboree with the Eco Award for its efforts.
Taking 'Green' to a whole new level with some essential Restroom reading :)
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Troop 1 are offsite in a forest somewhere doing the 'camp in camp' activity hosted by a Swedish scout group. Troop 2 will be doing this activity tomorrow.
Those ISTs that are not on duty are down at the main square taking some time off.
By now the physical strain of all the walking we need to do on this big site is starting to take its toll, especially on the leaders. Morale is high but energy levels are starting to drop.
As the kids are enjoying their time here, the team is starting to work on the logistics of how to get 79 people, a pile of luggage and three pallets of equipment (four if Sabrina doesn't stop shopping!) back to Malta.