Scouts Victoria throws jamboree

1st Rutherglen Scout cohort on their way to VicJam. Pictured is Stuart Ross (Leader), Jess Hawkey, Declan Pearson, Jax Ramsey, Will Baker, Harry Chandler, Griffin Ross (Venturer), Anden Ross, Penny Hartung, Tim Knowles (Leader), Althea Knowles and Nathan Ryan.

Members of 1st Rutherglen Scouts were among thousands of young people who converged from all across the state for a life-changing experience at the Victorian Scout jamboree, VicJam held in Elmore.

From Rutherglen, nine Scouts, one Venturer and two Leaders headed off on their trip of a lifetime for 11 days from December 29 to January 8. Four Cub Scouts also attended the site for a day to get a taste of Jamboree life.

The 11-day event (December 29 to January 8) had many activities on offer including rock climbing and abseiling at Harcourt, hiking and biking in Spring Gully, water-based activities in Nagambie and exploring Echuca from historic paddle steamer rides to the iconic Echuca Ice Creamery.

Scouts from Rutherglen also participated in one overnight expedition including camping and canoeing at Lake Nagambie, an Amazing Race in Bendigo, and water skiing and swimming at Torrumbarry.

To finish off each day all Scouts gathered at the purpose built VicJam Arena and enjoyed a range of entertainment. There were spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, an ABBA tribute band, a New Year’s Eve DJ and fireworks, a motor cross show and a Master Chef competition.

Harry Chandler said VicJam was the experience of a lifetime.

“Picking my favourite activity is a very tough decision but I loved the Amazing Race,” the twelve-year-old said.

“We had to navigate through Melbourne on trams and on foot to find a checkpoint. My patrol was lucky as our checkpoint was the Melbourne Zoo. We spent a couple of hours seeing all the incredible animals.

“From there we took the train to our sleeping place… or at least we tried to! We all boarded but then four of our patrol jumped off the train after second guessing whether it was the right train. So, me and another Scout were stuck on the train as it left the station! We eventually got back with our Patrol, and together we found our host accommodation. The next day we a train to Bendigo for another awesome day visiting a Science Centre and the gold mines. We got a tour of the mines and got to see the old tools, climbed a mine shaft and even got to see gold!”

“Every day was different. One day we would be crawling through a mud obstacle course or flying through the air on a zip line, the next on a bus to somewhere like Echuca or Funfields,” 13-year-old Anden Ross said.

“Some days our patrol stayed closer to camp because we were on duty, meaning we had to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for our Troop of 40. It was sometimes a challenge to get the timing and portions right, but I enjoyed it.

“Our troop had Scouts in it from Cobram, Upwey and Wirringga and I hope we can see them again at future events. It was fun getting to know other Scouts who liked doing the same things as us.”

“I enjoyed the opportunities to make new friends and the Funfields excursion was definitely the best!” Althea Knowles (13) said.

Fifteen-year-old Griffin Ross joined this year’s VicJam as a Venturer providing support to the adult leaders.

“Most of my ten days were spent helping Scouts complete Tech World but there were other roles Venturers could do like entertainment, media, catering and transport logistics,” he said.

“One of the best bits was that I didn’t have to cook my own meals. Venturers were also in their own camp away from Scouts. We still got time off and did things like Funfields.”

Rutherglen Scout Leader Stuart Ross said the jamboree provided Scouts with great team building and life skills as well as new friends.

“With the amazing expeditions and adventures on offer, it gave our Scouts the opportunity to learn new skills while making lifelong memories,” he said.

“Scouts returned home having learnt how to scale a wall, navigate around cities, master water skiing, make 3D woggles and much, much more.

Leaving VICJAM: Althea Knowles, Nathan Ryan, Chloe Verlin (Cobram), Jacob Wilson (Cobram), Jax Ramsey, Will Baker, Declan Pearson, Lilly Verlin (Cobram), Jess Hawkey, Harry Chandler.

“Seeing our Scouts further developed their confidence in a new environment was fantastic. They learnt how to work as part of a broader team - a team made up Scouts they have only just met!

“The sense of comradery that was developed living together in close quarters, organising their own shopping and cooking meals meant that when their team went off to participate in the often physical and intellectual challenges, they were able to look out, support and encourage each other.

“Watching a Scout overcome a challenge, wholly supported by their new peers was inspiring and something I’ll never forget.”

1st Rutherglen Group Leader Mel Field thanked the community for their generous support leading up to the event.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the Rutherglen and surrounding communities for all of the support you have showed getting our Scouts to VicJam,” she said.

“You may have purchased a sausage, a raffle ticket or even been lucky enough to be at one of the catered Rotary dinners or even been at the Chiltern Rodeo and purchased a brisket roll! Thank you all so much for supporting Scouting in our community!”