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My 21st World Scout Jamboree experience - by Kirsten Rawson

We started as we meant to go on – we were the noisiest unit to leave Trowell Services (both Derbyshire units left from there too) and we were also the noisiest UK unit to arrive! After carrying our bags for what seemed like forever to our camping area, the heavens opened whilst we set up camp – typical! However, at 5pm, the sun came out and that is where it stayed for the next two weeks (with the exception of two showers!).

After the UK Contingent Party consisting of a BBQ and fantastic entertainment including performances by Liberty X and Lemar, the Jamboree gathered pace with units arriving from all over the world before the Opening Ceremony. HRH Prince William and the Duke of Kent were in attendance to open the biggest Jamboree ever!

Activities began in earnest with lots of making of friends from all over the world. There was plenty of opportunity to do this at all of the activity zones and they were all designed so that the unit members could not stay together as a unit. They undertook community work and learned about saving the planet. There were opportunities to learn about different cultures, take part in water activities, adventurous activities at Gilwell, to name a few – far too many to mention!

It has to be said, Nottinghamshire unit members learned very quickly how to trade their English souvenirs and get the best deal they could! Some of the souvenirs they have swapped will bring many memories for years to come. The highlight of the Jamboree was renewing our promise on the stage on Sunrise Promise day. This, coupled with having photographs taken with Baden-Powell’s grandson, a wonderful International Food Festival and an evening meal out, made many happy memories of a day that none of us will forget.

We welcomed many visitors to our camping area, with the Nepalese even cooking our evening meal and it was good to see that it wasn’t only Nottinghamshire that burned the rice…..

It was all over far too quickly and before we knew it, the closing ceremony was upon us. There were many sad goodbyes to friends that had been made over the two weeks. Hopefully, they will be friendships that will last a long time. Being in an environment where you are forced day in, day out to tell somebody new about yourself when they don’t necessarily speak your language is hard work. From this alone, there are many lessons that have been learned at the Jamboree that can be used in everyday life – patience and tolerance to name two and for some of the unit it has been a life changing experience. The rest of the world can learn from the Jamboree experience too, even though they weren’t there and that is that it is possible to live in peace. Those of you who visited the site would have seen this in action – let’s hope that One World, One Promise can make a difference.