Poacher's Global Development Village Manager, Alexander, talks about his experience of the recent World Scout Jamboree in the USA.
"On the morning of the 4th of August my wife and I’s Jamboree journey ended with a thud and a screech at Heathrow Terminal 5. Milling through the passport control and baggage collection it quickly dawned on me that only another Scout standing with us in the queues would comprehend what we had been doing for the previous 21 days. It had taken me the last two years to convince my colleagues at work that the World Scout Jamboree was not a holiday!
The numbers associated with the Jamboree are hard to visualise in any meaningful scale until you see the 45,000 young people, 10,000 adult volunteers and 150 nationalities spread out like an enormous technicolour carpet at the opening and closing ceremonies. UK Scouting took more young people to the Jamboree than Poacher 2017 had participants - over 5,500 - and that’s before you include the 750 UK International Service Team. It was the biggest civil movement of people since WW2.
Due to my previous high ropes experience, I was lucky enough to be part of the “Flying Squirrels.” A multinational team that put participants through the 6 available canopy zip-line courses split between “The Canopy,” or “Action Point Canopy.” During the 2 weeks of operation we put close to 12,000 Scouts through an experience that allowed them to experience something new, physically and mentally challenging and above all have a lot of fun. I know the same experiences will be available with the vast array of activities that are available at the next Poacher.
International disputes, conflicts, language barriers don’t matter at an international Scout event. We were all at the Jamboree as Scouts. There were many opportunities to appreciate the many different cultures, languages and local delicacies during the International Culture Day and national food outlets. Just walking around the subcamps and bearing witness to such a variety of different songs, languages, dress and foods was a learning experience. The international groups that attend jamborees always add a fantastic atmosphere and different dimension to a camp and I’m sure the groups who attend Poacher will have the same effect.
The young people and IST also had the opportunity to understand complex global problems such as environmental concerns, global markets, ecosystems and food security through the Global Development Village and North American Dream area.
The next Poacher will have their very own GDV area which promises to challenge young people to tackle the big problems that we face locally and internationally. There will also be a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) area to apply theories learned in school to real life situations. The GDV and STEM will be bigger and better than Poacher 2017 and will provide a wider range of learning opportunities.
It wasn’t all plain sailing through our stay at Bechtel Summit. 400 tents blew away in a storm just before our arrival, the sewage backed up in one of the site toilets, there was flooding from some torrential downpours and various lightning alerts causing delays for participants on certain activities. No matter the size of the problem, they were all faced with the usual Scouting positivity, teamwork and can-do attitude to adapt and overcome the problem.
Above all, the amount of memories and friends that I made at the Jamboree was life changing. The experience of an international event does stay with people for the rest of their lives. Whether it’s pictures or new friends from different countries, a badge, necker or t-shirt that was swapped, the souvenirs of a great camp are only a small part of a camp legacy that lasts forever. Poacher, although a smaller event than the World Scout Jamboree, will have the same effect and I look forward to sharing it with you in 2022."