I have been in scouting almost my entire life. From Beavers through to Scouts as a youth. Instead of joining Venturers I stayed with Troop and became a Leader-in-Training (as we were called Leaders back then) as a teenager. Over the years I have been a Scouter in Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, been a Venturer advisor, group treasurer, even spent some time as a Group Commissioner.
I missed going to CJ89 by a hair, as I was a third year cub preparing to start scouts. Four years later my group did not attend CJ93. So I missed my chance to attend CJ as a youth. I had many great adventures and experiences, but attending CJ was a dream unfulfilled.
I have been a Colony Scouter the last three years while my daughter has progressed through Beaver Scouts. Our scouts did not go to CJ. I however decided that I was going to fulfill a childhood wish, I was going to go to CJ17. I submitted my application to go as an OOS and didn’t look back.
As an OOS, I understand my experience was much different than the participants. I did however still have an amazing adventure that I will never forget. Being a member of a subcamp team, I of course spent a lot of time in sub camp, meaning I did not get to see and experience many aspects of the jamboree. But that is ok. I was there to be of service.
As often happens at scouting events, I made new friends, from far and wide. I also was able to meet in person many Scouters from across the country and from overseas who I have come to know through various Scouting Facebook groups. One group in particular, Canadian Scout Collectibles, I started three years ago and now has over 1,300 members. Quite a few of these members were also attending CJ so we did our best to meet up at one point or another. Adding signatures of members to a poster I brought with me was a fun project and my most prized sourvenir that I brought home. Collecting patches is great and all, but doesn’t beat the friendships formed.
In four years from now, if there will be a CJ21, my daughter will be in Scouts. I hope to take her and her troop to their first CJ and live the adventure all over again.