Irish International Jamboree 2008
The members of Venturing crew 2052, from Lawrence Kansas, often find themselves explaining their unique membership. Venturing is part of the Boy Scouts of America program for boys and girls aged fourteen to twenty-one. What sets this crew apart is the fact that they are currently an all girl crew. While they are often confused for girl scouts, they do not let it hold them back from participating in scouting events. Many members of the crew are also registered Girl Scouts. The crew has participated in many activities locally and with surrounding councils since the crew was established over five years ago. They've participated in two trips to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, two trips to Okpik winter adventure in Ely Minnesota as well as summer camps and other activities. This summer, they have gone even farther, traveling overseas to Ireland.
The group gathered at KCI Airport on July 28, 2008 ready for this trip of a lifetime to the Irish International Jamboree. Scouts attending were Grace Clark, Casey Hutchins, Kat Lewis, Carmel Sivron, and Kelsey Taylor from Lawrence, JoAnna Male from Eudora and Becky Miller from Bonner Springs. Adult advisors were Audrey Taylor from Lawrence and Barb Pressgrove from Baldwin City. The four days prior to the Jamboree the crew stayed on Bull Island, just off the coast of Dublin, at the scout den of the 12th Dublin 5th Port Dollymount Sea Scouts. The Scout den was right on the water where the tide went in and out. Scouts from the 5th Port Girl Sea Scout Troop joined the crew touring Dublin. The crew was able to experience some of the history of Ireland at St. Patrick's Cathedral (where George Bernard Shaw and other authors are buried), Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublinia (a Viking hands-on museum), and the National Museum which had a "100 years of Scouting Ireland" exhibit. They enjoyed getting to know the Irish Sea Scouts and learning more about their scouting program. The crew was able to see the girl sea scout group in action as they rowed their boats from the Liffey River, across the bay avoiding large tanker ships, under the wood foot bridge to the scout den for storage. It took just about everyone to carry the boats up the ramp and into the storage space.
On August 2nd the crew arrived at the Jamboree with the 5th Port Sea Scouts joining 10,000 scouts, including 1,500 international scouts, to celebrate 100 years of Irish scouting. The festival lasted 8 days. Each day participants took part in all sorts of activities including crafts, murder mysteries (CSI skills), outdoor skills, and even computer technology. Becky, Barb and Audrey worked as Jamboree staff for several days earning a daily staff shirt and working alongside Jamboree staff and other scout volunteers. Becky taught the "Leave No Trace" program which originated in the U.S. and is just over two years old in Ireland. She enjoyed being on staff adding to her local Camp Naish staff experience. We took pride in being Americans and had a lot of comments about our accent which we hadn't noticed we had.
Wednesday was Beaver day when the younger scouts came to visit for the day. Becky and JoAnna helped to staff and the others were busy volunteering. Visitor's Day was cancelled for those not already in-route. The rain had left the subcamps submerged in areas and the grounds were not equipped for additional visitors. Visitors were kept to the main paved common area while staff, scouts, and volunteers worked to bail and pump water out of the hardest hit subcamps. Kat was on the trenching crew and worked alongside many of our new international friends to get the water flowing out of the campsites. Most of the crew (minus Becky & Jo) took a break at noon to attend a reception where they met the Thomas Foley, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. They were able to spend a short amount of time with the Ambassador visiting and telling him about our all girl crew and what they'd been doing while in Ireland and at the Jamboree.
The crew volunteered to run the Tara subcamp screenprinting. Casey, Grace, Kelsey and Audrey spent about five hours Wednesday afternoon printing shirts with different design options. The Tara and Jamboree 2008 logos were the most popular along with a multi-subcamp design. The shirt owner would hold the screen in place on the table over their shirt while Audrey or Kelsey pulled the squeegie to imprint the shirt. Casey and Grace assisted by keeping the screens cleaned so that the ink didn't dry in them. The shirts were then layed out in the sunshine to dry. The girls were caught up in conversation with other scouts about the screenprinting process and the great job they were doing.
Thursday morning venture scouts traveled to Donadea Forest Park to take part in a Tribal Island event where they rotated through stations. The “inflatables” included mechanical bull riding, sumo wrestling, pillow fight on a log, reverse bungi, and human foosball. Other stations included music, screenprinting, stilt walking, unicycling and oversize games. Audrey and the other advisors on site joined the staff to help with the stations. The Donadea castle ruins we camped next to were inspiring. They included the main castle along with a church, graveyard, walled garden and other buildings within a surrounding wall. The tribes participated in a conservation project removing vine from the outer wall surrounding the castle area. There was a wildlife presentation with pythons, a lizard, anacondas and other creepy crawlies. Music and stage entertainment went late into the evening. Ann kept a bottomless pot of tea going for the staff and advisors to converse and enjoy each other's company.
Along with every great experience comes a little rain. Little did we know, the dark clouds would be literal. The jamboree was hit with some of the worst rainy weather that Kildare, Ireland had seen in years. The last day of the jamboree was nearly washed out with near record rainfall. Because of the downpour, most of the camp had to be evacuated to higher ground and permanent facilities onsite. Despite being soaked through, the Kansas group maintained a positive attitude by donning Hawaiian leis while moving their gear. After two weeks in Ireland, they returned home on August 10th. Although most of their gear was wet, and they were all exhausted from the trip, it was an experience that left quite an impact. All returned home with a different outlook and many new international friends.
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