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.
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Scout Jamboree, AJ2013

Every three years (see here for a brief account of the last one in 2010) thousands of Scouts and leaders gather somewhere in Australia for ten-plus days of camping, activities, fun, and sock-losing at Jamboree. This year was the 23rd such event – and my sixth — and it was held in Maryborough in Queensland, which is far enough north to be close to the Tropic of Capricorn and thus the weather was warm and humid. I’d hoped that my move from Victoria would get me out of two things: a really long bus ride to get there, and being asked to be a Jamboree Troop Leader. Well, the Tasmanian contingent flew most of the way — and on a charter flight, no less — which allowed me to gloat a little to some of my Victorian friends who had spent 30 or so hours on a bus (twice, by the time they got home). For better or worse, however, I still ended up being asked to be a JTL, and so found myself in charge of 38 kids. Fortunately I had a great team of four other leaders who were friendly and worked hard and helped me look like I was on top of things!

There were lots of activities for the kids, although I didn’t manage to take as many photos of them as I would have liked (on a couple of occasions I went in search of my Scouts, but couldn’t find them, or when I found them they were doing something that didn’t lend itself to good photos and I didn’t have time to hang around for long). Most of the time they were a good bunch of kids and didn’t cause any major major dramas: with 38 Scouts aged between nearly-12 and not-quite-15 for a total of 16 days you can’t expect it to be entirely niggle-free, but the problems were all manageable and the kids all seemed to have a good time, which is what it’s all about.

Of course, such an event is pretty full on for the leaders, too — you get to have a day or two off but apart from that it’s a 24/7 responsibility — and I reckon I need a month’s sleep and holiday to recuperate, plus I need to do something about the permanently bad case of “hat hair” that I seem to have acquired after spending most of the fortnight bedecked in my favourite leather hat! Unfortunately I had to go back to work the day after I returned, where I’ll concede that it’s a little quieter and no one is saying “Chippy*? Can I <insert request of unpredictable degree of ridiculousness here>?!” … but there is still the beep of incoming emails, many of which involve requests with unpredictable degrees of ridiculousness anyway!

* “Chippy” is the Scout leader nickname I acquired with my new group at the beginning of last year when I moved back to Tasmania, after years of just being “Helen” with my other troops (in my further distant past, when I was a Cub Leader for younger kids, I have been “Bagheera” and “Baloo”). I think Chippy is the ship’s carpenter. It’s a nickname I quite like.

The above photo shows all the Scouts and leaders of Troop H46 outside the gateway to our campsite.

3 comments to Scout Jamboree, AJ2013

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