21st NZ Scout Jamboree

As a scout I never had the chance to attend a Jamboree, so when my son Alexander had the chance to go, and it became apparent that Brooklyn needed an extra leader, my arm was relatively easily twisted.  I was curious to know what I had missed out on – some 35 short years ago!  Would you believe that on day two I met my original scout leader from 1st Karori, Dave Jupp (he looked just the same as I remembered), and he was able to point out a row of green canvas tents – the same ones which I had slept in all those years ago at various scout camps.  Scary.

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The Jamboree experience began weeks before we caught the Ferry.  Six newly formed patrols met one Sunday afternoon to dream up patrol names and design their banners which they carried to most activities at the Jamboree.  Our Contingent was an amalgam of Brooklyn (21 youth, 4 leaders), Karori West (7 youth, 4 leaders), Ellesmere (5 youth, 1 leader) and 3 Samoan (international) Scouts and their leader.

Personal suitcases were combined with troop gear in the hall.  The gear ranged from tents and newly purchased kit (from an on-demand LPG hot water system (brilliant) to 3 big chilly bins – special thanks to the Infinity Foundation for their grant), to literally the kitchen sink.  All this was loaded into a shipping Container (shared with five other Wellington contingents) which we later unloaded on site.

The evening Ferry trip on Kaitiaki was uneventful and we (some 150 youth) had a hot nights sleep in Marlborough College’s hall.  We arrived nice and early on site the next day to set up camp. Luckily Andy (a cub leader) and I had checked David’s ‘not to scale’ site drawing on the ferry and realised his maths wasn’t too good – so a quick redesign ensured we met Jamboree rules.  In the end we had to measure the distance between each tent (down to the nearest 50mm) to ensure compliance with site regulations!

The Jamboree was tightly and somewhat confusingly programmed but David did a great job of ensuring we all made key departure times and locations.  This Jamboree was unusual in that all activities were offsite.  On the worst mornings youth had to  depart for busses as early as 5.45am – at that hour they were definitely in ‘manual mode’!

The first full day was hot and we were careful to manage youth so they didn’t get heat stoke or sun burn (plenty of others did).  Wind blown dust got so bad the next afternoon it set off our smoke detector!?  Ironically two days later after a Southerly front came through some youth on water activities (not ours) got too cold and had to be warmed up.

Aside from the daily rostered activities we had two days ‘off’.  The first was a market day where all sites ‘sold’ products or services for Beaver Bucks (fake money).  We did face painting and balloon shaving and other activities included pillow fights, wet sponge activities, life boat ‘rides’ and bungy water slides.  Some even offered to do your washing (in a home made bicycle driven contraption) and sold freshly bagged leader’s farts!?  Another aspect of the Beaver Bucks money was to swap out our own currency and collect everyone else’s – we came second overall!

Market day was the first and only time I got to walk around the whole Jamboree site and I saw future accountants, marketers, inventors, entrepreneurs and fraudsters at work!  There were also some pretty swish camp site setups too.

The next day off was for a Jamboree wide battle with flour bombs and paper swords.  We all enjoyed spending the morning making our weapons and it was the first time I felt a real camaraderie forming across all the patrols and the troop.  We had a long walk to the battlefield.  Unfortunately it all got out of hand when somebody mentioned the ‘start’ word before the organisers were ready…

Several Birthdays were had during Jamboree, including one significant one for Helen.  I think we reached our target of singing Happy Birthday to her 50 times!?

Packing up and the Ferry trip back late at night was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but waiting beforehand in Picton at the Sea Scout hall was tedious.  Hopefully a mistake by the Wellington Regions organisers not to confirm the ferry booking will never be repeated!

Special mention needs to go to our Contingent leader, David, who spent countless hours (actually weeks) navigating and managing the bureaucracy that inevitably goes with organising such events.  He was calm, even in the face of bureaucratic adversity throughout the Jamboree and he even managed not to make it look like his first time too!  Anneleah, his wife, also played a key role in getting us to Renwick.  Their contributions really ensured our youth had the best possible time!  Thank you both.

Thanks to Terry for his advice and wisdom and ensuring we had some really great kit.  And to Andy for keeping his side of our tent tidy.

Thanks to Karori West Leaders, Mary, Helen, Maggs, Lindsay and Jeremy for their wisdom and advice to a new leader!?  And thank you to Richard for being brave enough to join non-Mainlanders on the Jamboree

There is not much difference between the ‘child’ in a scout leader and the the ‘child’ in our youth so I had a ball and I know everyone else did too!

Yours in Scouting


JOTA JOTI camp at Brookfields

Over 300 youth and leaders arrived at the Lower North Island JOTA JOTI camp at Brookfields on Friday evening with the knowledge rain was coming, so setting up the camp sites was a priority and was mostly completed before the heavens opened. Some outdoor activities the next day were curtailed.

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Indoor venues provided a welcome respite from the ‘real world’ rain and the youth were able enter the digital realm – Scouts from as far away as Egypt, Columbia and the Netherlands were just a keystroke away. Much hilarity was had. Unfortunately the ionosphere played havoc with the radio reception so the airwaves were more filled with crackles and hisses than strange accents.

One room had electronic kits with plans for simple (to more complex) circuits – which occasionally worked!

Roast pork was beautifully cooked by Venturers Arthur and Taine (with a little help from Terry). While waiting for dinner Daniel showed no shame in modeling a flower pot, before trying to auction it off for a profit!?

Brooklyn had the honour of co-organising the main campfire, helping to plan the program and coordinating over 10 skits and songs.

Sunday dawned fine so we began to dry out, squeezing in a quick kayak before dealing with muddy tents and heading home


Brooklyn Scouts Ski Trip


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An enthusiastic team of nearly 20 scouts and leaders enjoyed a full first day at Turoa on Saturday 24t September    The soft snow did not deter the experts or the beginners and a number of scouts rode the chairlift for the first time and conquered new trails.   Led by senior scouts, a delicious burger meal followed on from a sampling of traditional Ohakune kai – no, not carrots, but chocolate eclairs.   Although the weather forecast for Sunday and Monday is for wet windy weather, all are keen to have more time on the slopes.

Saywells Camp

We arrived at Saywells Camp (29km South of Featherston) after sunset.  Pitching the tents (using torchlight) we then had dinner in the dark as the solar – LED light system in the cookhouse wasn’t working.  A large fire provided evening warmth while we watched a near full Moon rise – it became so light we could have put the tents up without torches!?

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The next day Terry took us on a long journey up through the farm on his trailer.  This meant quite a few stream crossings and a few bouncy moments.  We went for a walk up into some stunning bush at the ‘end’ of the farm, and Terry pointed out the ‘sign’ left by deer.  We also came across piles of used automatic machine gun rounds which were later explained by a local farmer – the Territorials had recently been training in the area.  It’s a pity they didn’t tidy up after themselves!?

We tried the latest Whittakers Chocolate rehash of an old Kiwi favourite, the K-Bar; it received a thumbs down from our sweet connoisseur, Terry!

Nicholas (a Kea – not a small scout!) found a Common Skink in the wood pile.  We had two German exchange students with us (one is a Venturer) and they really enjoyed a trip to the cow shed where two day old calves were being fed.  The calves quickly learnt there was no point in sucking their fingers!

Sunday dawned fine and after Sophie and Ina had cooked pancakes, we headed off to the south coast where we drove about as far as we could down Ocean Beach Road (through giant mud puddles and fording several large streams) to get to Corner Creek, a small community of hardy fisherpeople who launch boats from the beach with the help of bulldozers.  An leisurely hours walk along the beach (collecting sea shells) left us in a rush to make it back to Wellington on time

Thanks to Sebastian for organising the camp.  The numbers attending were down on expectations, and I heard that some thought it would be too cold – actually it was actually quite mild and very calm.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.


Brooklyn Group Camp

We arrived full of anticipation on Friday night (in the dark) to find Terry had pitched most of the tents (yay!).  A fire was quickly established as it became clear that we were in for a frost!  After dinner we sat around the fire until sleepiness kicked in and the chilly night drove us to the relative warmth of their sleeping bags.

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Two cubs were initiated into the joys of camping with one of the colder nights one could ever experience in a tent.  Everyone coped well with the exception of one Scout who will now be fixing his sleeping bag’s broken zip so he doesn’t roll out into the cold.

A waining crescent Moon greeted us in the morning as we unzipped our frost covered tents.  Initial awe at the extent of the frost soon gave way to cold toes for many.  Venturers soon distracted people from any discomfort with a superbly cooked breakfast followed by a series of games and activities.  Bivy’s were built lashing poles together and tested for weathertightness with a bucket of water.

We all waited for the Sun to rise, bringing warmth, but light cloud meant it remained cool into early afternoon.  A Northerly change lead to a more mild (and frostless!) evening on Saturday.

We joined First Wainuiomata cubs a the Kauri fire pit after being treated to another great cooking effort by the Venturers.  We exchanged songs and performed short skits for each other, before returning to our own fire to cook damper (thanks Sophie!).  This was cooked with much enthusiasm on sticks over the fire (in the dark).

Sunday’s highlight for many was exploring the adventure playground.  Many personal and group challenges were undertaken before returning to camp for lunch followed by a visit to the outdoor chapel to reflect on our experiences.

Thanks & Cheers

Turere Tramp Photos

The sun was shining when 31 of us set of tramping along the Orongorongo Track to the Turere Lodge.

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Scouts Visit Johnsonville Police Station

The Scouts had a great time finding out information on NZ Police from Constable Hamish Knight of Johnsonville Police station.  They were shown what tools Hamish has available to him, which started with how to control people by using certain arm locks, with a couple of lively scouts happily volunteering to be pinned and handcuffed!!

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The scouts had a great time having all their questions answered.  Afterwards the scouts got the opportunity to be fingerprinted, view the police cells and see some of the guns used by NZ Police and try on some of the gear.

Thanks Hamish, the scouts had a great time.




Hastings Cossgrove Course

We had a busy weekend in Hastings with 13 Scouts, 3 leaders and 1 parent helper making the journey to Hastings.

Saturday was a day full of learning activities:

  • Fire building/Lighting and axe safety
  • Tent Pitching (Centre pole)
  • Find your way – GPS, Map and Compass
  • Food Safety/Hygiene/Menu planning
  • How to storm lash tents
  • Gas Safety
  • Tent Pitching (continental)
  • Lashings and chariot racing

The rest of the weekend was putting the new skills we learnt to the test!!  With the main focus on FUN.

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We had a full on weekend, once again our youth showing dedication and outstanding hardwork.  When we returned home everyone was ready for bed!!