So my neighbour asked me how was my week off!?
Our first response to that question would tell the person if you had a good week or not. I could see someone answering something about the weather; “It was hot” or “It rained “. Since I was camping, I would see some people talk about the Bugs or cramped living quarters. Oh and lets not forget the food. Despite everything, as humans we often focus on what went wrong, than what went well. You may have accomplished 100 things in a day, 99 of them went well, guess which one you talk about at the dinner table first.
But these items were not the ones racing through my mind as I was thinking up of an answer. This Jamboree was exceptional, we had good food, we had amazing program activities and we got to socialize with hordes of fellow Scouts! When we showed up at activity stations, we were welcomed and shown possibilities. It was a typical camp for us, simply extended. Weather was challenging, food always brought fun conversations like:” what to do with all these Bananas or 8L of milk !? That’s what happens at all our camps! But I couldn't just say "it was another camp!?"
So maybe I talk about the people I was with. A rag tag bunch of Scouters with each their own super powers and the youth who are in my mind the heros of this adventure. It’s tough for a youth to be placed out of their comfort zone, shipped to a different province and expected to think this is all normal. Our Scouts took on this challenge and truly shined. We cramped them in a train for 24hours, and not one of them complained, yes, sleeping was difficult, but we are Scouts, we sleep in tents, Quinzees, on bedrock , small shelters and under the stars. First thought for my Troop was that they can check off another fun spot on their bucket list of random places that I Scouts made me sleep in. The Train made them bond even more, 6 in a seat for two, chatting about their upcoming adventures, singing camp songs, and creating their banners of Canadian Jamboree. Once at the jamboree, every day we averaged 25,000 steps a day. Getting our food, or getting to our programs. For most morning we woke up around 5:30am-6am. (With the time diff, that made it tough for some.)
It was key that we made sure our Youth felt safe and had a great time, every time I spotted a tired or sad face, like many Scouters on the team, we simply walked over, offered a high five and reassured that Scout. Where we sometimes see weakness, as Scouters, we see potential for growth. Giving these youth to expand their abilities and explore their shortcomings as some thing they can do better. I’m always amazed, because this growth will not only occur from a supportive Scouter, but through genuine interactions with their fellow Scouts. #SPICES
My fellow Scouters on this trip completed this adventure, supporting each other, always ready to help, dig, cook, clean, poke fun or to rise our youth out of the”Mud”. Yeah, we may have forgotten a few things back in Ottawa, and the mud was exceptionally… muddy. But nothing was stoping us, we would figure it out. And we would do it with a vigour and passion that could only come from the devotion in wanting to make this one heck of an awesome adventure for our youth and for ourselves. Our careful eyes were always to the youth we are serving as volunteers, I always said, it’s a privilege to work with other people kids. These precious Scouts are part of our community, and a parent willingly entrust them in our care to help provide for them those key life skills that are even more important today for a young person to develop. I guess thats why we took tonnes of selfies and shared them to the masses. Not only showcasing that we are being successful in what we are accomplishing, but giving a wink to the parents that everything is “ok”, letting them join in the fun. And to also help those Scouters / Parent volunteers who were left behind, to know that their hard work, support and devotion brought us here and that they can also see those exceptional moments that they created for us on this adventure.
As Scouters, we devoted lots of time to ensuring that this event will be not less than exemplary. I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished. It took 2 years for us to refine and make this trip come to life. Kudos all-around. We were not alone, thousand other volunteers made our camp experience a unique and marvellous adventure. Tip of the hat to them and the organizers of this event.
So knowing that a Jamboree and the people I had the trip with would not make sense to my Neighbour, I thought of what were highlights of things that I enjoyed doing… Gave me a chance to use my super camera, between myself and with the help of some the Scouts, I now have over 2000 photos on my computer about this trip alone. (Sad news: My camera has officially died after 12 years). I went fishing! I got to eat 3 balanced meals a day. I got to use my tent that I have had for over 20 years. I laughed, omg did I laugh. I got to see some amazing fireworks. I got in better shape for this trip. My coffee was ready every morning and when it was not, I took pride in being the one to make it for the group. Sheesh, put that way, you would think I stayed in a resort. It was all inclusive. 😜
So, I was in Nova Scotia, took the train there, had smoke meat in Montreal, tonnes of laughter, hung out with passionate people, had the privilege to be with some awesome youth, Selfie galore, Hiking in new spots, Ice cream, fishing, ate small meatballs, had bacon every second morning, ate lobster, letting youth be the free spirits that they deserve to be, pizza party, Potato famine, shared the tale of our group crest (including our fancy ghost crest), adults had the space to become a kid again, watched a cannon go boom @ noon, had great Coffee, I gave out a "Je parle Français" badge to a deserving Scouter, fish & chips, an amazing bowl of Seafood chowder, found every Starbucks in Halifax, traded badges, insta-deserts, Unicorn Sprinkles, breaking the Morrison curse, shook hands with great Scouters from across the country, made my own cotton candy, used a 360 camera, heard some great bagpipe music and the Kevin's .
How do I sum all of this up!? In a few words?? How do I define all of this!?
I took a deep breath, and answered to my neighbour; “We got to be our true selves for a week.” And those are truly the best vacations. =)