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.
December 2022
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Dust, drills, and the end of 2018

It’s amazing how quickly a year can pass, especially one that has been as not-quite-according-to-plans as the last one.

It’s amazing how quickly three years can pass; it’s hard to believe that I was on my way to the last Jamboree this time in 2015 (for the 2016 Jamboree).

I had always planned to attend the 2019 Jamboree, but, of course, part-way through this year I was uncertain about whether I’d be able to go, as I wasn’t sure how my breast cancer treatment was going to turn out. However, as you know, things have been able to continue pretty much as normal, and so on December 28 I found myself attempting the triennial task of cramming too much stuff into the current version of the Jamboree contingent bag (I now have a large collection of large bags, although none of the others is quite as “loud” in its colour theme a this year’s).

The 4:45am alarm on December 29 was unwelcome, but necessary for the 6am flight to get us (the Tasmanian contingent advance party) to South Australia. Tassie sends a few of its leaders ahead of the main group, in order to do some preparation. Once we arrived at the Jamboree site at Tailem Bend, we had to come to terms with a few not insignificant problems. These included the fact that our Troop site was small and covered in mallee scrub (low scrawny trees), and it wasn’t entirely clear that we were going to be able to fit everything on it. The biggest problem, however, was that the ground was, essentially, a layer of dust covering a large quantity of rock, which might be fine for wise men building houses, but not for Scouts needing to pitch tents.

On the afternoon of the first day, we managed to get a sleeping tent up (so Damian, the other advance party member in my Troop, and I had somewhere to stay) and found the one position on the site where we would be able to put the eating shelter.

The following day the 12 Tasmanian troop leaders in the advance party went around each other’s sites (six in all) and set up all the dining shelters. Fortunately we were able to get hold of a power drill with some decent grunt, because there was no way we could have got the tent pegs into the ground otherwise. This is the crew (with me behind the camera) after finishing the final shelter, which was on on our site.

That night Damian and I were able to make a start on getting up our Q-store, drilling the peg holes by torchlight. Over the next couple of days, we eventually managed to get everything set up (but not without major hassles due to being told NOT to do any more setting up (so we went and helped the other Tassie troops for a couple of days) and then having to deal with drilling all the tent peg holes to get our site finalised once we were allowed to get back to work on it (in a massive amazing blitz when all the other leaders came and helped us)).

And in amongst all this, 2018 came to an end, with the Tasmanian team having an enjoyable barbecue dinner … but most of us were too exhausted to actually see in the new year, as there were still things to do before the Scouts arrived on the 3rd.

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