Jamboree On The Trail
By Judy Harcus
The 1st Annual Jamboree on the Trail 1998 (JOTT '98) was a fantastic success! Ontario Scouter Dave Wiebe originally suggested the idea of a "hiking day" to a Scouting e-mail list. After some discussion, a national (and international) Scouting event was born. The 2nd Annual JOTT is scheduled for May 15, 1999.
Last April, 19,000 Canadian Scouting members hit the trails for JOTT '98; an additional 6,000 Scouting members participated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
JOTT provided program activities and ideas galore!
Some JOTT '98 hikers learned about the worldwide fellowship of Scouting. Bob Cano, a 36th Ottawa Cub leader, said: "I wanted to give our youth an idea that their Cub pack is not an isolated entity, but part of a larger movement."
Many groups used JOTT as an opportunity to get together with other Scouting members; some made it a family outing. The 1st New Maryland Beaver "A" Colony, NB, invited a Beaver colony from St. Andrews, NB, (150 km away) for a fun day which included hiking on the Trans-Canada Trail near Fredericton. They also made woggles, played games, told stories, and shared snacks and lunch. The 33rd St. Catharines, ON, troop travelled to Mayville, New York, for an international hike with Boy Scouts of America Troop 54 from Buffalo.
Other Scouting groups just wanted to get outside. "Our pack members yearned to increase our exposure to nature as well as experience true Scouting," said Tim Haggith, a leader with the 1st Glencoe (ON) Cubs. Many Beaver colonies hiked to beaver ponds where they learned more about beavers, dams and lodges. Manitoba's 1st Teulon Cubs braved the Narcisse Snake Pits. Here they saw three different snake dens during their 2 km hike; everyone got a chance to handle snakes and learn how they live.
Many JOTT participants collected garbage along the trails and in their communities. Cubs from the 1st Aylmer (QC) Pack cleaned up garbage and downed branches (left from Ice Storm '98) along hiking trails around the Otter Lake Scout Camp. 1st United Church Cubs from King's Point, NF, biked to the community outdoor skating rink and cleaned up broken glass, plastic, bottle caps, and other debris.
JOTT provided many opportunities to practise Scouting skills. Scouts from the 1st Dickson Troop, AB, spent 2 hours on an 8 km hike through bush and swamp using topographical maps and compasses. The 25th Assumption Beaver Colony (Saint John, NB) participated in an orienteering challenge at Rockwood Park. They hiked over trails following hilly paths and flat roads. "This event covered all sections — Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers, Rovers — even Brownies and Guides. We ran into them all," said leader Catherine Walsh.
Some participants practised survival and safety skills. Beavers from the 1st Shelbourne (ON) Colony enjoyed a "Hug-a-Tree-and-Survive" program that was built into their hike. After learning what to do when lost in the woods, the children broke up into groups and followed instructions to find Keeo (a simulated lost victim). Their search and rescue activity taught them many exciting lessons. "What an excellent simulation!" said leader Barb Rohlmann.
Several groups studied local history during their JOTT hikes. Youth from the 1st Robson Group, BC, biked along the old Columbia & Western rail bed from Rossland to Warfield. During the trip they saw some historic points and learned the importance of the railway to their local area. Beavers from 2nd Waverley "A" Colony, NS, learned about the gold mining history of their community as they hiked the Dam Road from Rocky Lake Road to Lakeview.
JOTT'98 was a fun experience for all, but JOTT '99 promises even greater excitement! Mark May 15, 1999 in your calendars now.
See you on the trail!