Simon explores the world

Jamboree is essentially a massive gathering of Scouts from all over the world. The 2019 World Scout Jamboree was the 24th in total and was held in West Virginia, USA. The South African contingent started this three week adventure off with a week-long pre-tour of New York and Washington DC. We started the adventure staying in a Scout Ranch in New Jersey. From here, we visited Six Flags Theme park and saw the sights of New York City. These included the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial and Freedom tower and the Intrepid Warship (which has now been converted into a museum). The Six Flags Theme park was an incredible experience. The park is themed mainly around Superheroes (most of the rides are named after these characters) and also has the highest and second fastest roller coaster in the world. From New Jersey, we moved onto Washington for one night. Here, we got to see the many truly American things the country’s capital has to offer. These included the Obelisk and Capitol, The White House and the Boy Scouts of America monument. Washington was the final leg of our pre-tour and we soon moved on to the real reason we had travelled so far.

The drive from Washington took around eight hours. We arrived at the Jamboree at around 11 o’clock at night in the pouring rain. In the morning we realised just how massive Jamboree actually was. The whole reserve was around 25 times the size of Hawequas and had endless activities, including rock climbing, white-water rafting, SCUBA diving, mountain biking and skateboarding. There were also hundreds of cultural exhibitions and games from all around the world. Every day, there would be one patrol assigned to cooking meals for the troop. They would wake up earlier than the rest of the troop and buy food (with points) from the food tent. After breakfast, we would all set out in groups of two for a day of exploring the Jamboree site and taking part in the activities. A big part of Jamboree was also meeting people from different countries. All 45 000 Scouts were issued with a Novus (a small watch-like device) which could be used to transfer people’s details. Another important part of Jamboree was swapping badges and other uniform items. People brought souvenirs from all around the world to trade for other rare and valuable items. The South African contingent had the Springbok skin woggle. This was one of the rarest items on the Jamboree and could be traded for many different souvenirs or other rare items. The best part of the Jamboree, however, must have been the closing ceremony. This included a live performance from the Pentatonix and Light Balance and fireworks display that lasted around 20 minutes. The final day of our trip was spent back in Washington, where we enjoyed a final glimpse of the city before returning home.

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