Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
April 2020
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And now to catch up on some sleep

[I think I have now fixed WordPress’s picture uploading issues. I hope it will behave from now on.]

bWholeTroopThe 13-day Australian Scout Jamboree is over, I’m home and I am looking forward to catching up on sleep … lots of sleep!

I am also experiencing post-camp vocal bassification, in which I acquire a few extra notes in the baritone end of my voice range, and can thus amuse myself singing the bass arias from Messiah. I had a very stable bottom A and a somewhat unsteady G yesterday, and I still have a bottom B. Under normal circumstances my range only goes as low as D, and even that usually disappears once I’ve warmed up.

The Jamboree was a massive event. There were some 10000 Scouts in attendance, with about 3500 leaders, camping at a large Scout property about 70km from Sydney. The kids are grouped into troops of 28-38 Scouts, with 4-6 leaders; our troop had 30 Scouts (11-14 years old) and 4 leaders. My job was “quartermaster”, or chief cook and bottle washer, which meant catering for the hungry hordes and coordinating the cleaning up. The meals or ingredients were supplied (or, at least, we had to pick them up on a little trolley at various times during the day), and then it was my job to supervise a patrol of 6 Scouts in turning them into something edible on time. This required some juggling, not least because we only had a barbecue and three gas cooking rings, and sometimes we really needed four pots (not to mention the recipe instruction suggesting we use 50 litres of water for the pasta!). Anyway, we managed … but I think I spent about 7-8 hours a day in the kitchen.

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The Scouts were kept very busy with half-day on-site activities including rock-climbing, challenge obstacle courses, water slides, learning circus skills, traditional Scouting activities, trying out some trades, and so on; and then there were off-site activities that included a visit to Sydney, a day of water activities (sailing, snorkelling, canoeing, etc.), a trip to a fun park, and an “endurance” activity involving a number of different activity bases. They took part in patrols of 6, which gives them the opportunity to develop leadership skills and to problem solve group decision-making.

The kids had a great time, and we had a nice bunch in our troop. They had their idiosyncrasies, of course, and we had the usual collection of amusing anecdotes to tell about them as well as the usual collection of Jamboree injuries (mostly minor). There were often unclaimed items after packing away after dinner, and three names were 98% likely to be the owner; we had a bookworm, who can be seen above completely uninterested in the band playing at the closing ceremony; the kids would often sit around before bed (or in their spare time) playing card games like “Spit” (fast and furious); and they were a singy group, which is always nice, who did an amusing rendition of the “Roochicha/Singing in the Rain” song during a downpour. After the closing ceremony we had a 2-3 hour wait for our bus, and we sat around having a campfire singalong (without the campfire) and I told a couple of the long-story bad-punchline silly jokes I have in my repertoire.

Given that our bus left after midnight for the 10-hour trip home and the kids had had a very full on day and fortnight beforehand, it was quiet very quickly on the bus. I managed a few hours of Zzzzs, but I am looking forward to a few more.

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