Scouts go from Lockdown to Jamboree

Scouts at VicJam
Scouts at VicJam

After two years of restrictions, 1st Bennettswood Scouts, along with 1st Ferntree Gully and Mont Albert North, have experienced one of the greatest times in Scouting – with thousands of their fellow Scouts.

They attended VicJam – an 11-day Victorian Jamboree from 29 December 2021 to 8 January 2022 – and a welcome event after almost two years of mostly on-line Scouting programs. While many organisations paused during Covid, Scouts Victoria actually grew, topping off a 15th consecutive year of membership growth.

1st Bennettswood Scouts went to VicJam at Elmore, near Bendigo, to tackle activities ranging from abseiling, a wet ninja circuit, robotics, escape rooms and a day at Whittlesea’s ‘Funfields Water Park’. A highlight was overnight expeditions including Caving Adventure, Paddle Away (canoeing on the Goulburn River), Ski, Skim and Swim (on Lake Nagambie) and Amazing Race (scouts followed clues making their way around Victoria).

The scouts made new friends at VicJam among more than 3000 Scouts (aged 11-14), 500 Venturer Scouts (aged 14-17), 100 Rover Scouts (aged 18-25), and 1200 volunteer Leaders and Adult Helpers.

VicJam is a $7 million event. One of the big budget items is food, with a shopping list including 1165 kg of lettuce, 1744 cucumbers, and 23 different fruits and vegetables.

With child safety being paramount during the event, VicJam’s medical team included doctors, nurses and a dentist, plus current and former police, and a 24-hour fire station. Almost all are volunteers.

1st Bennettswood Scout Leader, Carrie Simmons says the Scouts have been looking forward to VicJam for the past two years. That the event continued despite the ongoing COVID pandemic is a testament to the resilience that scouting and VicJam instils in the Bennettswood Scouts. “The hot and dry weather conditions at VicJam stretched all the youth members and the leaders, but we not only survived, we thrived and all of the scouts in our unit had a fantastic time”, Carrie said.

“Some of our scouts were selected to speak live to the International Space Station and ask them questions about space and being an astronaut. Scouts used 3D printers to design and build their own objects and virtual reality headsets to interact. Not everything was about learning though, Scouts had loads of fun with Water World on giant inflatable water slides, Abseiling at Vertical World and playing splatball at Action World”, Carrie said.

“After the challenges of the past two years, it is great that 22 of our Scouts were able to experience a Jamboree – a milestone event in their young lives.”

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For more information contact Sue Henley, Group Leader, 1st Bennettswood Scout Group, 9802 0119.