Bags packed, car loaded and a whole lot of enthusiasm at the ready… yes, we were off to CamJam 2015! Jamboree veterans, but CamJam first-timers, Colette and I were a little unsure of what to expect, but we knew it would be a great opportunity to meet some equally as enthusiastic leaders. Safe to say we were not left disappointed!
It was the warmest of welcomes as we arrived, with Rob Farringdon leading us in to the thriving land of CamJam, reeling off the event’s facts and figures. Did you know that a whopping 2,500 people are CamJamming this year? That’s 1,400 youngsters, 400 adults and 700 staff doing a Cam-tastic job of making sure the week ran smoothly. Kudos, CamJam, kudos.
We were taken to ‘the village’ (it was as cosy as it sounds) which was our base for the day and the central hub of the activity. Huddled up with us were the Scout Shop, international tent and badge tent, as well as the café which were serving up delicious cakes (drool…) and an ice cream van doing a roaring trade… I don’t think we’ve ever seen so many Mr Whippys!
Throughout the day we enjoyed a good old natter with a great array of CamJammers – from youngsters who were overjoyed about attending their very first jamboree, to veterans who had been at the first CamJam in 1990 when it poured it down with rain so much that even the Sea Scouts went home! That’s got to be a heck of a lot of rain to send those guys and girls home.
We even caught up with Scout members who had joined in 1940 when international travel wasn’t possible, and in stark contrast some real globe-trotters who had journeyed to Europe, America, Africa and beyond.
But what struck us the most? It had to be the cheeriness and friendliness of everyone we met – not even the previous days’ rain could dampen these resilient folks’ spirits! It would be pretty hard to with the abundance of activities on offer… The woggle workshop, aqua zorbing, sailing, climbing wall, go karting (breathe…), circus, laser shooting, on-site disco and visits to London and Woburn Safari Park (breathe again) meant that CamJammers were spoilt for choice. And that isn’t even the full list!
It was truly brilliant to meet so many leaders who were excited by the prospect of jetting off abroad with their Scout and Guide groups. Some would be embarking on their first international trip away, whilst others had travelled with us before and were keen to get another adventure under their belts. Well, once you’ve caught the (non-literal) travelling bug there’s just no stopping you! We hope to catch up with all you lovely leaders and help kick-start your next venture abroad (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
We’d like to say a huge thank you to the dedicated leaders and volunteers, as well as the attendees who made us feel right at home at our very first CamJam. Without you lot the jamboree would not be such a success. Hope to see you all again at the next one. Keep on jammin’!