I was just flipping through my 2009 High School year book, and the days of yore just came back in my head. I am posting this article which I had contributed when I was in my 9th. This article is about my achievements of me when I was a Scout of the LOYOLA SCOUT TROOP of ST.ALOYSIUS HIGH SCHOOL. Enjoy
A jamboree is a big gathering of scouts and guides which provides a great opportunity to exchange views with other scouts and guides from various cultural backgrounds, gain new skills and experiences and to appreciate the greatness of the scouting and guiding movement.
2009 is the centenary of Indian scouting. To begin the centennial year the Bharath Scouts and Guides Organization had organized a Special National Mini Jamboree at Ahmedabad. The grand jamboree was held in GMDC Ground, Ahmedabad, Gujarat from February 1st to 7th.
This was planned as a special celebration to commemorate 100 years of scouting in India. At the same time it was a prelude to think and plan about global peace and solidarity since peace is the need of the hour not only in our country but all over the globe.
The team from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi comprised of 50 scouts and guides from Mangalore, Udupi, Sullia, Puttur and so on under the leadership of 6 Rovers and Guides and 5 teachers. Needless to say, the train journey that started from Mangalore at 4.30 am on January 31st was very enjoyable and as we landed at Ahmedabad, we were all full of excitement and anticipation to enter the jamboree site.
The campsite was divided into two wings – The scout wing and the guide wing. As we passed the attractive welcome arch at the entrance there was a Jamboree market, Hospital, and dedicated counters for Allotment, Registration, Enquiry and Lost and Found counters. The jamboree had various facilities like jamboree equipment store, a market, bank ATM, Telephone booths, mobile charging points, and laundry and food shops at the campsite. Arena was a big open space where most of the performances were held. Beside the arena, there were two halls for jamboree activities and dedicated areas were kept for adventure and fun activities. There were 5 sub camps for each wing and in each sub camp there were dedicated areas for different states of our country with around 50 tents in each area. There were separate kitchen areas for each state area. The tents were our living place for not only we scouts and guides from all over the country but also for all our scout and guide leaders, rovers and rangers and national level leaders of the Scout and Guide Movement. The Jamboree Camp area was home for 5449 scouts and guides and 1113 adult leaders and participants which made a total of 6562 – a Mini India at its glory!
This special jamboree provided us a grand opportunity to make new friends, interact and exchange our views with other participants who have come from all parts of the country and also from abroad. The young boys and girls from all over India had different faces but the same smile on their faces, they spoke in different languages but had the same levels of enthusiasm which bound the whole crowd as parts of one vibrant nation.
As we entered the campsite, we could witness scouts and guides from different states busy in preparing their respective state gates, decorating their tents and surroundings and making preparations for pioneering projects. The weather I noticed was odd – it used to be bright, sunny and hot in the daytime and very cold in the night. While we were in scout uniform during day time, I used to keep myself warm in my windcheater and snug into my sleeping bag in the tent at night.
A typical day schedule consisted of 5.30 – rise, 7.30 – breakfast, 8.30 – Inspection and flag ceremony (sub camp wise), 9.00 – Jamboree activities, 12.30 – Lunch, 14.30 – Jamboree activities, 19.00 – dinner, 20.00 – evening programme, 22.30 – silence till 5.30 A.M.
The jamboree was inaugurated by the Mayor of Ahmedabad. It was followed with the marching parade of the scouts and guides from various states, folk dances and songs presented by the contingents from Gujarat, Bangladesh and Jammu and Kashmir. That night, we had a great time watching the Gujarat Nite – a musical and dance extravaganza from the scouts and guides of Gujarat.
29 jamboree award activities were arranged. They were categorized into 10 Fun activities, 13 adventure activities and 6 intellectual activities. The fun activities included basket ball, stilt walk, cycling, shooting, archery, skating, tolling hoops. The adventure activities included monkey crawling, rope climbing, commando crossing, ladder crossing, plank walking, tunnel crossing, monkey bridge crossing, rock climbing, tyre wall climbing, fire ditch jumping, flying trapeze, chimney climbing, tyre tunnel crossing and intellectual activities contained drawing and cartooning, HAM radio, Creative makeup, Computer awareness, electronics and vocational hobbies. Out of the above, we had to complete 7 fun activities, 10 adventure activities and 4 intellectual activities within three days in order to get the jamboree award Certificates I was able to finish all of them within the time given and it was a great sense of satisfaction when I won all the three certificates. But it involved a lot of walking, strenuous activities and anxiety about getting a chance to do the activities and completing the tasks in time but the stress and effort was worthwhile at the end.
There was a march past competition in the arena where contingents from 28 states marched in full scout and guide uniforms. On another day there was an integration march where everyone wore their states traditional costumes and participated walking the streets of Ahmedabad. All of us returned tired after the walk, but the feeling of unity in diversity which we experienced cannot be captured in words. The Governor of Gujarat, Mr. Naval Kishore Sharma graced the jamboree on one day. On that occasion, there was a grand show of folk dances of various states integrated into one theme titled “Jai Ho”. The chief minister of Gujarat Mr. Narendra Modi who addressed us also released the jamboree souvenir. On another day, there was a physical display competition. The grand display with practical demonstration of skills gave the skill-o-rama a spectacular look. Most of the presentations were unique.
There was a tempting food plaza with exotic foods served free from different states. This, I confess, was the joyful event of the jamboree, to me! Each and every type of Indian food was found being cooked and served at the different stalls by the participants. Their enthusiasm to serve and the delicious foods that we got were unmatched.
In our leisure we used to pass time ambling at the jamboree market, eating at the food courts, playing UNO cards and cracking jokes in our tent, and making friends at the camp sites. The cell phone charging stations near the tents became a unique part of the jamboree where 10 to 20 participants of different states would meet together and interact to become friends. We also had been assigned friendship tasks to complete like making friends with delegates from other states, learning their language basics, learning their folk songs and getting their autographs on cards.
The valedictory function of the special national jamboree was held on the 6th of February evening. The chief guest of this function was the Governor of Karnataka Mr. Rameshwar Thakur. At the end of the parade he told us that the main aim of this jamboree is to spread the message of peace. The grand event was ended with the lowering of the BSG Flag and singing of the National Anthem.
The last day at the jamboree was packing up day. All good things had to come to an end. On the last day we saw a lot of sad faces, moving three wheelers and buses as the jamboree site melted down tent by tent. With heavy hearts we saw our new friends leave for their towns. We too left the site that afternoon and spent the following two days visiting historical sites like the Gandhiji’s Sabarmathi Ashram, Akshardham and the city of Ahmedabad.
The slogan of the jamboree was “peace and solidarity”. The jamboree’s attempt to bring the scouts and guides of all the states together to make our country strong and united by way of peace had succeeded. Surely everybody leaving the jamboree site was sad but they had a glow on their faces which seem to say that they have to obey the scout law and to promote peace and solidarity not only in the nation but all over the globe.
The Jamboree was a fantastic lifetime experience and in the end it makes me to say that I am thankful that it came my way and I am thankful that I had the good sense to grab and make the best of the opportunity. Thanks to all that helped me make that happen.
B. BHARATH RAO, Class IX E 2008-09, St Aloysius College High School, Mangalore