At the end of July, I hastily threw a pair of neon Primark wellies, an extra thick sleeping bag, a very unattractive head torch and various other ‘staycation’ essentials into the back of my friend’s car. After the rather predictable game of car-Tetris which resulted in a fair few sacrifices, we were on our way through the Dartford Tunnel.
Our destination was none other than a 120 acre-field near Chelmsford. Not your typical holiday spot I must say, but a beautiful location none the less. We rocked up, pitched our tents and headed straight to registration to start what would be an incredible week in a field.
We were joining 10,000 Scouts and Guides from across the world (including a chap from Kenya!) at Essex International Jamboree – the largest Scout and Girlguiding event in Europe this year.
And what an event it was! With over 100 different activities in 30 programme zones, from abseiling to zorbing, the participants had the unique opportunity to try something new, create lasting memories and make international friendships.
As part of the 2,000 volunteers dedicated to making these seven days and seven nights an unforgettable experience, I was looking after the event’s social media channels. We had a blast interacting with the Scout and Guide groups attending and making sure the parents were kept informed of what was happening in our pop-up village.
One of my personal highlights was when we received a special delivery of pancakes (complete with toppings!) thanks to a conversation on Twitter with one of the groups attending the event. Of course, having an online following of 15,000 didn’t come without some hiccups. I quickly learnt how to respond to toilet issues, noise complaints and negative reviews. Despite several late nights responding to a brewing crisis online, it was all worth it when we got all of the positive reviews coming through at the end of the week.
Leaving the Jamboree bubble and returning back to the real world was definitely a bit of a shock to the system. There’s just something wonderful about waking up to the sound of rain falling against the tent canvas, being tucked up in a sleeping bag and surrounded by nature. I’m already missing the tent that I called home and the brilliant bunch of people that were my neighbours. Bring on the next Jamboree!