For 120 Scouts and Explorers, the opportunity to represent Berkshire at the 25th World Scout Jamboree in Korea inched closer to reality last weekend with the all-important selection weekend.
With only 72 spots available for the 2023 trip, the process of whittling down the applicants to the eventual members of Berkshire Scouts Units 68 and 69 was always going to be a demanding one. Over two days of action-packed team-based activities, it was down to our WSJ 2023 leadership team to assess and evaluate the candidates. It proved to be an incredibly tough job.
“As an ex-Jamboree participant from Japan 2015, I know how scary the application and selection process can be,” explained Unit 68 Deputy Unit Leader Jack Bryant. “But I think it’s really important that everyone should have the opportunity to show that they have what it takes to become Jambo material.”
Under largely blue skies, the sun shone on the aspiring WSJ participants as they demonstrated their Scout skills, team ethic, creativity and characters and collaborative in a series of fun challenges. A convivial spirit endured throughout each of the two days – with 60 attendees working together in true Jamboree spirit.
Jack added: “It’s a great chance to meet Scouts and Explorers from across the county as well as learning all about the Jamboree journey. We tried to create a fun weekend that the young people would enjoy, regardless of the final results.”
Among the activities were a Korean themed Mega Blocks challenge and a mini-pioneering task to build the tallest structure out of sticks and rubber bands. Participants also devised a Jamboree-inspired play or sketch using a variety of props.
Communications skills were put to the test, too, with a debate and discussion around potential scenarios that might occur during the Jamboree process. Incorporating our You Shape philosophy into the selection process, a ‘Your Jamboree’ section invited teams to put their thinking caps on and help shape the Jamboree experience. Everyone was eager to get involved and to immerse themselves fully into the process.
Maja from 1st Easthampstead in South Berks District said she applied for the Jamboree ‘to experience going to a new country and a brand-new culture’, while Explorer Lewis from Slough added ‘it is a good way to meet lots of people and experience lots of new things.’
Looking ahead to the benefits that a WSJ trip might offer in adult life, Maja said: “You could use it in CVs and for job interviews and maybe even learn some of the language to open up more opportunities in the future.”
Lewis summarised the feeling of the weekend when saying: “It’s a good chance to have lots of fun, even if you don’t get selected you can meet lots of people at the selection weekend and do loads of activities.
Beanie, a Scout from 1st Purley and Pangbourne, added: “The selection weekend was lots of fun, and I really enjoyed the team building activities. My favourite activity was making a fire to boil water. I really hope I get selected for the WSJ but if not, the selection weekend was an exciting new experience itself.”
Participants will find out in the coming week whether they have been chosen to represent our county in Korea 2023, the start of what promises to be a truly life-changing experience. For those who are unsuccessful, hopefully new friendships forged from an enjoyable selection weekend will stay with them as they progress through Scouts and Explorers – and beyond.