Jamboree On The Trail
By Dave Wiebe
The second annual Jamboree on the Trail was a success and we are looking forward to JOTT 2000. JOTT 1999 took place on May 15th, and had participation from over 30,000 members of the Scouting Family around the world. The following are some JOTT 1999 stories.
Our plan for the day was to hike from Nipigon, Ontario to Red Rock, Ontario and back. The hike is about 17 km. It was an excellent day! The first part of the hike was along a well groomed trail beside the Nipigon River. We learned that the Nipigon river was once an important logging route. We also learned that Coeur-de-bois and Voyageurs frequented this river during the height of the fur trade. The most remarkable fact about this stretch is that aboriginal people carved pictographs on some of the cliffs that border the river. The area is relatively unspoiled. There are lots of different types of trees and wildlife along the trail. We saw wild rabbits, a mink, squirrels, chipmunks, several types of birds and mallard ducks. We also saw evidence of several small mammals (skunks, snakes, etc.) along the way.
Our patrol of five (aged 16-18) ended a four day Scout project with a walk to the point there we would meet 3 other scout patrols. We just walked around 6 kilometers with all the project equipment (25 kilo each). With no path to walk on, we got rather tired. We walked along a lake-system. The lake was surrounded by cliffs and we walked between 3-10 meters above the lake. The nature was very beautiful and it was a new experience to walk without a path to lead the way. The weather was great, maybe a little too warm. Because I walked with shorts my legs are full with marks.
1st South Peace Beavers, Scouts, and Ventures teamed up with other local community groups in Dawson Creek to participate in our City's annual park clean-up (The Cubs participated at their camp that weekend). The Beavers hiked around Kin Park, a natural park in the middle of Dawson Creek. The park surrounds a lovely creek. During the hike the sun came out and the wind stilled, and our Beavers spent longer outside than what we originally planned. We really enjoyed the hike, which took place to the accompaniment of the most wonderful spring bird-song. We collected many bags of trash. After the hike our group met with other community groups to enjoy an outdoor BBQ. The BBQ put on by the Rotary Club, for all groups helping with the clean-up.
Although we started organizing late, the whole Group got involved in this year's JOTT. The Beaver Scouts decided to walk in the morning and meet the Cubs and Scouts at midday where the Cubs and Scouts would carry on the walk after having the JOTT baton passed on. We had a total of 32 people walking and 1 dog plus various mascots.
The Beavers met at Guttridge Memorial Church, our normal meeting place, and were taken to a local park by minibus where they set off along the side of the river Ribble. Their route took them along the river a short way, where they crossed over on the old Tram Bridge, walked out along a track where Trams used to take goods out of Preston to neighboring areas. A left turn took them past the local sewerage works back to the river. A short game of football before passing the baton onto the Cubs and finishing off at MacDonalds where they went to get milkshakes and ice creams. Along the way they played I Spy and checked out the local nature.
The Cubs and Scouts took on the baton at midday from the Beaver Scouts and walked out the old railway line heading away from Preston. Their route took them a couple of miles out of Preston when we had to cross over a main road. The path then took us deep into local woods, slipping and sliding on the mud, jumping in puddles, testing them to see how deep they were. Eventually, we escaped the woods to attempt to cross another busy road. Cheers went up as MacDonalds was sighted and everyone double timed it to get in their order of happy meals. MacDonalds are doing Teenie Beanie Baby's at the moment. Babies were flying everywhere.
Although we didn't cover a great distance, everyone had a good day, made new friends across the sections. An important link in the chain between Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts was improved. Of course it all gave the Scouts yet another item for their Outdoors '99 Awards.
Jamboree on the Trail has a very fond place in my heart, being one of the originating Hike Co-chiefs. Yearly I take great pride and excitement in preparing and planning the event. For the second annual JOTT our co-ed Scout Group attacked the Musquodoboit Harbor Trail System. Our Colony of 5, Pack of 17, and Troop of 15 left early Saturday morning for a memorable adventure. We returned to the same place as we celebrated JOTT 1998. The weather cooperated with a nice breeze and sunny weather.
We left our School Parking lot and headed East to Musquodoboit Harbor. Our Scouts wanted to Paddle! Our Cubs wanted to camp in Tents! Our Beavers just wanted to GO! The Scout Troop laden with gear paddled the river into the abandoned Scout campsite. The Pack and Colony humped along the trail system from the historic Train Museum along the newly Trans Canada Trail to the site. The Scouts made good time...look they already have lean too's up! No, it's Woodlawn Scout Group. Wonderful!
The day was like no other. Campfire on the beach along the lake, tents spread out in the treed area, and Mosquitoes galore! Everyone had turns in the canoes paddling and retrieving gear from the trailer on the other side of the lake. The spring was flourishing with wildflower and critters and the owls and loons serenaded us all night. Night game invitation from Woodlawn and off they went. The Pack took to the woods for their version of capture the hill. Mug Up and stories and off in the morning for an exciting trip home.
Pack 468 is a Cub Scout unit within the Seneca District of the National Capital Area Council. There were 37 Cub Scouts from our pack involved in one of our two JOTT hikes. They were accompanied by 18 Scouters. In addition, we were joined by 12 Girl Scouts and their Scouters.
The two hikes mentioned were organized and conducted as spring is a time of many competing activities. With the number of Scouts involved in soccer, baseball, and such we realized that a morning-only or afternoon-only event would not make participation possible for all the scouts who wanted to be involved.
A morning hike was held in the area of Lake Marion, Montgomery Village. The hike included emphasis on the local vegetation, the impact of the man-made lake on the housing in the area, the impact of the housing on the lake, and an on-site observation of downstream stream bed erosion of Fox Kit Creek. The kids had a ball being able to crawl all over the stream banks and the exposed bedrock below the stream, and actually enjoyed cleaning up trash along the banks.
An afternoon hike was held at the Izaak Walton League Natural Resource area. The group hiked several miles over existing trails through the area, observed some Boy Scouts in their camp site, and received explanations on the practical conservation and pollution control needs for the man-made lakes in the area. The highlight for the kids was the rock throwing for distance into the lake competition and the volley throw of forty people at once.
In the spirit of Scouting we all came together and truly enjoyed the experience. Also enjoyed the opportunity to share the trail with so many other scouts in so many other countries.