Scottish Scout Contingent to USA – July 2013

5 young people from 28th Ayrshire (Troon) Explorer Scouts have just returned from the trip of a lifetime. Angus Mossie, Calum Campbell, Allistair Smith, Adam McPherson and Danny McCulloch, were members of the 30 strong Clan Caledonia, the Scottish Contingent to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Jamboree. Craig Smith, also of the 28th, was the Contingent Leader (Clan Chief).

The many activities on offer included a 3,500ft long 150ft high Zip Line, Multidisciplinary Target Sports, Dragon Boat Racing, Assault Course on the Jambo Lake, Climbing, Abseiling, Canoeing, White Water Rafting, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Skate Boarding, Scuba Diving, BMX, Fly Fishing and much more! The Clan found themselves on Foxtrot Subcamp which was for Venturers and International Scouts. The 3 Scottish Patrols shared Troop Sites with Canada, Russia, Sweden, Columbia, Japan, Norway, Egypt and Trinidad and Tobago. They were the largest Scottish Contingent to attend a BSA Jamboree, the first to attend the new site at the Summit and the largest International Contingent at the 2013 National Jamboree! Some of the Leader Team met Gillian (Gill) Clay, Granddaughter of Baden-Powell and presented her with a Contingent Badge. She was visibly moved on hearing about the tribute it carried, said that she was honored to have it and that her Grandfather would have been especially proud, wow! There were more than a few challenges including 5am breakfast starts, Bear alerts, Snakes, a multitude of biting insects and spiders, extremes of weather, heatwaves, lightning storms, floods, daytime tent temperatures reaching 52 Celsius and everyone wanting to ‘trade patches’ with Scotland!

As well as participating in the Jamboree at the brand new Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, the Contingent enjoyed Home Hospitality (HoHo) with American Scouting families in Connecticut, visited Gettysburg, hit the rides at Hershey Park, had an activity day at Camp Sequassen, did various New York tours including Ground Zero, Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, Jersey Boys Broadway Show, China Town and Statue of Liberty and were treated to some serious fun on the Police Launches at Greenwich, courtesy of the Chief of Police! The entire adventure spanned 3 weeks.

Craig, along with the rest of the Clan Leader Team did a presentation at Sandy Hook to Leaders and Cubs from Pack 170 affected by the tragic shooting at the school on Dec 14th 2012. It was a very emotional occasion and some lifelong scouting friendships were made. The specially designed Contingent Badge carried a direct tribute to the 26 victims, many of whom were from Scouting families.

A huge thank you goes out to all the supporters who made the trip possible through helping with fund raising and logistics. Special thanks must go to Connecticut Yankee Council who were superb hosts and organsied all the pre and post Jamboree programme. The Connecticut Contingent Leader, Jack Berry wrote a personal note to say our Scouts were excellent ambassadors for Scottish Scouting and he would definitely support hosting Scottish Scouts in the future.

There are many potential International Adventures ahead for Members of the 28th with Blair Athol next Year Kandersteg, Switzerland in 2015 as well as the World Jamboree in Japan then further USA trips in 2017 to National and 2019 to World Jamboree to name but a few!

Video courtesy of Matt McDonald