Category Archives: Jamboree 2007

A year has past…

Exactly one year ago I flew to England for the Jamboree.

It is actually pretty amazing how fast time passes, especially considering that another huge scouting event in Switzerland is taking place which pretty much involves every single one of us.

The posts below have been transfered from another blod which I never made public. However, I posted a few things and thought that I need to reestablish those posts here on my website.

The work for the contingent is not yet finished. After the Jamboree we met again several times to make sure all post-work will be done accordingly. A few Swiss IST projects took care of a producing a film and a souvenir book. Now both being ready to be mass-produced and hopefully soon being send to the participants we can finalise the work on the continent, especially the finances.

We expect to reimburse several hundred swiss francs, but it is not yet determined for sure. Unfortunately we only received about 800 deposit slips (even though we asked for them about four times) which will make us able to pay back that money. Without those slips we can not pay it back. With about 700 missing deposit slips the whole issue will delay further on.

Guess it will take another few weeks or even month to finalise everything.

Our IST…

IST stands for International Service (or Staff) Team and includes all those adult scouts who voluntarily joined the Jamboree to help and work. It is those scouts who make this camp happen and a great experience for the young scouts being participants.

In an earlier blog I already said we have troubles with some of those and I feel to write a bit more about it as it may seem a little confusing in the first place.

Having 550 Swiss IST on place and about 8’000 in total is a challenge to make everyone happy. It is a challenge for us, the Swiss Head of Contingent as well as for the English organiser.
Some want to do this or that, want to party at night, socialise or just hit the pillow to get some sleep after (mostly) a very busy shift.

We have loads of brilliant IST among our Swiss Contingent. Nearly all of them work very hard, are friendly, support us in various ways and are just great to have around. Of course some have some minor issues we are happy to solve or address accordingly. However, they tell us they are happy and enjoy the camp very much.

Unfortunately there are a few Swiss IST causing me headache. Either they do not show up, being impolite to other scouts because they do their work or actually bend (or try to) the rules given.
We have an issue concerning the “bed time” which is supposed to start at 11pm. Granted, this is quite early and we really try to convience the British to do something about it taking into consideration that the young IST who want to party will not work anymore if they do not get the chance to party.
Some IST understand that, some others let us that this issues needs to be solved soon which is okay.

They are not causing me headache because they want a place at the night to be and chat, they are causing me headache because they are simply stubborn and intolerant (in my humble opinion).
Some compare everything to how it is managed in Switzerland and how they do scouting in their own group.
While this usually is not a problem at all those scouts are just trying to convience us and themselves that their way needs to be adapted. At least that is what I feel after over two hours of talking.
Of course that can simply NOT be done.

Maybe I am simply naive or too traditional or just stubborn myself, but I get the feeling that some IST are simply not ready for the international experience and should not have joined us here.
Some IST just managed to make us think very hard how to select the “right” ISTs for the next Jamboree because the number of 550 is simply way to big.

Sweden being just little farther than England the coming Head of Contingent will very likely run into the same or very similar problems.

Enough of ranting…they are just very few…the most are just a brilliant bunch and are patient scouts.
Thank you very much to all of those.

Time seems to be flying

The last few days I was busy by trying to solve troubles with our Swiss IST, food, opening hours, finances and some more. I was also attending some receptions (trust me, many will follow).

It is sad to see that the rules which have been known for such a long time are not accepted. Granted, sometimes we do not use the right tone to tell them they should do like they are been told. However, why do they bring us in the situation to tell them anyway in the first place? We will probably never know.
It is just annyoing and costs me time. Of course they tell me not to check those rules and “oversee” all their faults to save some time, but I am afraid I am not such a person. I do not know if the education of some Swiss Scouts (well, mainly IST…however, not only) might have been a little slack.

Some of the members of the Swiss contingent think this is some kind of holiday camp or wellness week. I am sorry to disappoint them, because it is actually not.
We are running into troubles which were not necessary since they just not follow the rules and do what they want to.
We want them to have fun, meet and make new friends. However, they should do it knowing that there is a Jamboree going on and not a simple scout camp.
It is THE scout camp.

Nevertheless we have a great time so far. Dealing only with minor issues (beside the said problems with the IST).
We are all looking forward to see the activities the troops and participants can do and to the next bigger events such as our national day which we celebrate on the 31st of July. That is because the first of August is the Scouting Sunrise where we celebrate our Scouting Anniversary.
To prevent someone asking why we do not celebrate our national day properly on the first of Augst let me say the following:
It is the Jamboree,….

Our Swiss Medical Service (SMS)

I really hope I am not doing them wrong by writting a few words about a specific team within our contingent.
It is a honour to have five people dedicated to our medical support. Two of them are actual doctors who have been registered in England for the Jamboree so they can do what they studied so long. The same applies to our nurse. Two other members supports the Medical Service with their experiences related to security and pharmacy.
Just yesterday the “medical center” which will be available only to members of the Swiss Contingent (for security and insurance reason) has officially opened. It has been operational before, however the apero was made a little bit later on.
Their tremendous work and preparations payed off for sure. They can do nearly everthing…covering small incidents that only involves a plaster and a few caressing words to wounds that may require stitches.
I must admit that I do not know what to say or write to describe what I feel right now. All of our teams worked so hard and so well. Nevertheless the SMS needs to be pointed out.
Their standards are so high that the brits can hardly follow. All members of the Swiss Contingent can be assured that they are covered by a medical service which is very similar to a Swiss hospital.

Please remember, this is all done by volunteers, girl guides and boy scouts!
It is just amazing!


Two days ago, when I was on my way to the contingent office, I stopped in the middle of the fields. Those fields – ment to be occupied by participants very soon – were completly empty. With all the IST on the training and only a very few wandering around I was alone there.
I could not resist and stopped when I was there, alone…

After taking a deep breath I had a moment where I struggled with my feelings. We are here and it started. All started after over two and half year of preparation.
For a short moment I felt lost and completly overwhelmed. There is no way to described what happend right there. I guess for the first time after about four days I realised that I am here. In England. At the Jamboree. Doing what I am supposed and expected to do (or at least trying).
I hardly find words to describe that. I was scared and happy, excited and sad at the very same moment.

Today, with all those participants arriving I had a similar moment when I walked the very same way to the contingent office.
I do not know what this is all about, but I guess I really start to see things rolling and getting real.

Nevertheless, I am sure this is a good thing!

The first week…

On 20th of July we took off and landed in Heathrow. I guess you already figured that much. After a quite smooth check in we had a even smoother luggage retrival. No fuss or problem at all.
Thanks to that we (still way behind schedule) made our way to a known car rental company and got one of our cars we rented for the Jamboree. Those cars actually suppose to help by making us more mobile during the camp.
The stall of said rental company was empty. A sign told us to wait outside at a specific bus station to get a shuttle to the car park. Well, the waiting game started to another level. The bus eventually arrived and brought us as well as our baggage to the car park where I could check out the car.
One of my contingent team members, one Swiss IST (IST stands for International Service Team and is supposed to mean excatly this…to serve) and me headed for the car. It was (please note the tense used in this sentence) a pretty much brand new car and clean outside as well as inside. Latter changed a bit during the few days, but that is another story.
After getting our stuff into the car we drove out to the M25.
Beside a few missed turns (which lead to a slight longer driving time) we were lucky and could drive to Chelmsford (actually Hylands Park Gate 8) quite easily. I made my frist longer trip on the “wrong” side of the road (and motorway) on a public road. I guess I did not that bad as we all arrived sound and safe, even though I still had some troubles with the roundabouts (read: I nearly panicked the first few times). Guess what…roundabouts are very very very very common in the UK….thank you.
As soon as we arrived I pitched up my tent in a square within the Adult Camp Site to make sure the Swiss Head of Contingent with nearly 40 people has enough space. To that time it was not really necessary as there were very few people (loads of Swiss among those few, though) on the site.
Unexpectedly our contingent stuff was delivered way ahead schedule and we had to sort out the issue at the very same time we arrive (the day after was planned for this).
Thanks to Sprudel and the wicked Swiss IST Team supporting our logistics team we got that covered very well and fast!
I do not want to waste more words on that day…it was a long day and I went to bed quite early.

The following days were quite okay. We tried to get our material from the warehouse to our contingent tent (where we suppose to have our office and work). This happend quite smoothly even though the british organisation was not very much involved in this process. To that time (well, somehow it still is) you needed to take your own actions to make things work. Not really how things should work. However, the circumstances did not allow us to hassle to much with the organisation.
The first real stressy moment was in the evening when I got a call telling me that there are nearly hundred Swiss IST stuck at Heathrow and there were no busses fetching them. I walked from office to office and tried to inform the people necessary. The first time (21th) it went quite smooth and they arrived at about midnight after a wait of about four or five hours at the airport. The day after (22th) it was even worse and they arrived somewhen in the morning (4am I have been told).
At first glance it seemed that the organisation was crappy, but actually there were more unexpected scouts at the airport who overrun the busses supposed to get the Swiss IST and therefore latter happend to be stuck at the airport.
Well, let me tell you…they all arrived sound and safe. So do not worry at all.

On 23th of July we finally managed to get power at our office to recharge our mobile phones and radios. I was actually getting worried about it. It only took 3 days, loads of people asking for power at our tent and a few bars of Swiss Chocolat to get things up and running. We now enjoy the luxury to use our mobile phones and notebooks without the fear of running out of power. Printers, copy machines, servers, coffe machines and the light are all operational..

The main arrival day for the IST was on 24th of July. Needless to say there were people again stuck at London as there were a few (non related) car accidents on the M25 which took a coach not 1,5 hours but 3 hours to reach its destination. Another group of Swiss arrived in the morning hours and it took over 10 ours to get here.
Fortunatly they did not need to build up their tents in the rain.

Today, it is the 26th of July and we are – at least I think so – fully operational. The troops are spread all over the UK in their Home Hospitality. So far we had no troubles with those, but let us knock on wood it stays like this. They will arrive tomorrow and join us at the camp site.
I will sleep much better knowing all my 1500 people are within the same four square kilometers.
Our mobile phones are charged (with powers and money) and we can again keep up with the pace.
The weather was nice to us so far. It rained quite hard one day and lighter on another day, but that is it so far. Hope it stays that “dry” and our participants can pitch up their tent without any rain. A Jamboree without rain (remember Chile and Thailand) is just the best thing that can happen.
On the other hand, what else than the weather to do you talk about in England…;)

I would like to thank my team. You all have no idea what they achieved and have done so far. It is incredible and if there was a Novel price to win for this they definitively would win it!
Thank you all ever so much! I am honoured to work with every single one of you.

P.S.: the flirting started all over and I must admit I got carried away a little as well. There are hundreds of very gorgeous ladies around. Trust me, their looks is not the only great thing about them. They are also funny and intelligent. Well, what shall I say? It is great to be a scout…;)

I am sorry

Well, my last message was transmitted on 20th of July. I got my PCMCIA card working in the plane (where we waited nearly two hours to get the clearance from London to start from Zuerich) and typed a few things (see earlier posts).
Since then access to the internet was a simple NO GO.
So, that is the reason why there is a bigger post coming up to review the week which past quite fast…

At the airport….

Well, here I am now…sitting with my friends near the check in desk and waiting for the kind lady to announce our boarding for LHR.
In about one hour we are supposed to take off and head for London.
One personnel at the costums office even recognized our scout uniforms and was joking about us being late…..the others have gone already…;)
There are quite a lot of people watching us and trying to figure out what the heck we are. Funny…:)

See you in England.

Update 1:
We boarded the plane at about 12 pm. However, due a thunderstorm over Heathrow we are still in the plane. London gave no permission for our plane (still in Zuerich, go figure) to take off. It is now 13:45 and we still have about one hour to go.
Our time table seems to be altered by the weather….what a warm welcome from England…;)

Only a few hours left…

Just came back from my last pre-jamboree-meeting in Olten. We talked through the whole journey which will be made by the participants. We talked about what is needed and to be prepared when the train arrive in Zuerich and the people will board it.
It is going to be quite a challenge and we really need everyone, troop leaders and especially the participants, to cooperate and work smoothly.

Now, hours left until I will check in at the airport in Zuerich, I get even more nervous.
At about lunch time three of us are supposed to take off and arrive about a hour later in London Heathrow.
The thing that comes next actually causes me physical pain only thinking about it. We will get one of the two hired cars. And guess who will drive on the “wrong” side of the road from Heathrow to the camp site? Yes, you guessed right…it will be me.

After that I hope we can pitch up our tents, prepare ourselves a bit and then head for the contingent tents to check out if and how their are build.
On the other hand, tomorrow will be surely full of surprises. I am looking forward to it…

And we wait some more…

I just found the new photos which have been taken by one of our Swiss IST (or actually Swiss JDT).
I must admit that those pictures did not help to ease my pain of waiting and made me even more nervous.
Nevertheless I got informed that everyone is well and things are going as planned so far. Even the food (which sounds somehow unbelievable) is said to be…good. This is indeed rather surprising.

You see, there are hard working IST trying to present us a well built and prepared camp site as soon as we arrive.
My last day of work (today!) before I can fully (or at least more or less) concentrate on the Jamboree, comes to an end and I will hardly miss it for the next three weeks.

Lets see how thinks work out tomorrow at the airport, when the next bulk of Swiss IST will join the build staff in England. Hope everyone checked their passports and put the pocket knifes into the checked luggage. I have been told that there was already one Swiss knife about to be destroyed by airport security because someone left it in his pockets. Fortunately someone noticed in time and saved it…;)