Written by Lindsay van der Sandt
Bravery isn’t always climbing the highest mountain or jumping off a four story platform attached to a break. Bravery is when you really don’t want to get up but you do any ways, when you walk through the blisters and when you step out of your comfort zone and do something you were afraid to do.
I was privileged to travel to the Unites States of America to attend the 24th World Scout Jamboree. Held at ‘The Summit Betchel Reserve’ in West Virginia, it is the largest outdoor youth event in the world. Together with 45 000 other Scouts from around the world and approx 120 Scouts from South Africa I camped, did all sorts of adventurous activities and found out more about Scouting in other countries.
It was an absolute honour to be a part of the South African contingent and an even bigger honour to be the flag bearer for South Africa. This was an experience of a life time and I will never forget how I felt staring up at 45 000 people from the stage and then being surrounded by them during the opening ceremony. While among everyone I began to realise the positive impact Scouting has on thousands of lives.
Besides the pre-tour of New York and Washington where I got to bond with my Patrol, my favourite part of the Jamboree was without a doubt the vibe and atmosphere and being able to meet people from across the world who are interested in the same things as me; hiking, camping, the outdoors and doing absolutely crazy things such as the 945m long big zip and white river rafting.
Everyday we were woken up at about 6 am had breakfast, picked up our lunch and set off for the day. I have never done as much walking and queuing as I did over the time I spent on Jamboree. Although the sometimes 8 hour long queues were annoying, it was then that I met people and formed friendships. No words can describe what it is like to be in a conversation with someone from a different continent as if you’ve been friends for years.
I shared many laughs on jamboree and one of my favourites will always be from the Cultural Day when we caused chaos by converting our shopping buggy into a mobile spaza shop by constructing a cardboard roof over it, from which we offered people typical South African snacks.
The theme of the Jamboree was ‘Unlock a new World’ and I was definitely able to do this. I learned so much about myself, the cultures of the world, the reality of our world and just how much we, as the leaders of tomorrow, are needed to positively influence and impact society rather than simply doing things for applications or certificates. I was able to apply the life lessons of leadership, hard-work, service, respect and perseverance, that Scouts has taught me.
I was often forced out of my comfort zone and adopted the motto of: ‘If you are afraid of doing it, that’s exactly why you should do it’ Thanks to my new found motto I have absolutely no regrets from my Jamboree experience. Every activity I did whether it was riding a roller-coaster at six flags, doing stand up paddle boarding, trading a badge or speaking to someone new, made my Jamboree experience even more memorable.
Jamboree may be over, but it is not really over for me. The friendships I formed and memories I made will stay with me forever. The three weeks I spent on Jamboree were filled with absolute fun, laughter, adventure and unlocking new doors. It has been the absolute highlight of my Scouting career.
Lindsay van der Sandt
Puff Adders Patrol, Taung Troop
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