A Jamboree with a difference

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Last month, Scouts across the UK took part in Jamboree on the Trail (JOTT), an annual event in May, where Scouts from across the world enjoy a day of hiking. Young people get to experience being part of the global family of Scouting, while also having an adventure in the great outdoors.

It’s a brilliant opportunity to work towards the Hikes Away Staged Activity Badges, and get stuck into the International Activity Badges.

Young people in the Scouts section can use the event to complete their Expedition Challenge Award, or develop their skills for a future exploration or expedition. 

In Leicestershire, 13 Scouts from Ashby Hastings Scout Group were inspired to do just that. Choosing the ‘expedition’ option of the Expedition Challenge Award, they planned a two-day hike, in the White Peak area of the beautiful Peak District.

‘We are also working on the Navigator Staged Activity Badge with the whole Group, so that the expedition isn’t such a shock’, explained Scout Leader, Louise Bailey.

Over a number of weeks, the leadership team supported them to prepare for their adventure. This included preparing route cards which, Louise explains, helped them to  understand the route and gave them guidance during the hike which they wouldn't get from using a map alone.  

‘It has improved their self-confidence,' says Louise, of the impact the experience has had on her Scouts. 'This week they are running the whole Scout night based on their expedition. It has brought together skills they have learnt through their time in Scouts and is a big achievement. It should be an asset for them as they move up to Explorers, and especially for those that do the Duke of Edinburgh Award.’

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In West Sussex, for the fourth year in a row, all seven Groups in the Bognor Regis District came together to mark the occasion. After hiking to their District campsite from various points around Bognor Regis, the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts enjoyed tucking into some hot dogs and singing around the campfire.

‘For the past three years, with permission from farmers and landowners, including the National Trust, South Bersted Air Scouts have hiked through some of the most beautiful scenery on the South Downs, extending their JOTT adventures over two days,' explains Wendy Morris, Assistant District Commissioner (Programme).

'The Scouts stayed in a local bothy (hut) for the first year, and for the past two years, have taken the challenge a step further by sleeping out under the stars in bivi bags. This helps them to complete their Expedition Challenge Award.'

After preparing a hearty breakfast and packing up their belongings, the Scouts enjoyed the kudos of being admired by the Cubs, who are more than a little in awe of their adventures.  Building on the positive peer influence that is integral to Scouting, by extending the challenges for each section, there is a natural respect that the younger members hold for the older sections. 

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82nd Newcastle Scout Group have been taking part in JOTT since 2006. They started small with a family walk, and have since enjoyed exploring a different location each year, including coastal walks along the Northumberland Coast. Young people have clocked up hikes for their Hikes Away Staged Activity Badge and Scouts have gained some great experience for their Expedition Challenge Award.

The Group also take the opportunity to work towards other badges too, and this year was no exception: this year, they based themselves at Scout Adventures Hawkhirst, to combine some water activities into their hike. ‘The young people are always made aware of the fact that there are Scouts all over the world taking part in a walk at the same time and we are all part of this worldwide family of Scouts,’ says Carol Preston, Group Scout Leader. 'This means it's a good opportunity to introduce some international elements into your programme too.'

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Inspired to plan an expedition with your section?

  • Check out the hillwalking guidance in the A-Z of activities and find out what support is available in your District, County, Region or Area. There may be an Assistant Commissioner or an Adviser who can provide support.
  • Visit scoutadventures.org.uk to download resources about navigation and route planning, and find out what support Scout Adventures can offer.  
  • Download a sample format for a route card, to help plan the expedition route.
  • Find out about support from GO Outdoors, including in-store activities, as part of their sponsorship of the Hikes Away and Nights Away Staged Activity Badges. 
  • Watch GO Outdoors videos on a whole range of useful topics. 

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