Scout jamboree 'a great experience'
"It was a great experience and totally worth it."
So says 15-year-old Curtis Johnson about the 20th Anniversary Scouts Jamboree in Feilding after returning home with 20 other troop members tired, but happy.
The First Waiheke Sea Scouts group and leaders Alex Johnson, Stu Halstead, Warwick Lewis and Marcel Vreogue set off early on December 28 for the 10-day international camp.
Mr Johnson says the camp ‘village' was divided into three zones with names prefixed by the letters ‘em' to accord with the overall and recurrent theme of empowerment.
"We were in Embark."
Each troop was given badges to trade - around 700 in the case of the Waiheke Sea Scouts.
It was a popular move, offering Scouts the opportunity to meet as many others from around the country and abroad as possible.
"We met some Koreans," 12-year old Max Lowe says.
"And Bo Sung Cho said we could go and stay at his house in Korea."
Each of the 5000 camp members had to spend a day doing domestic duties but the rest of the time they were free to take part in a huge array of on and off-camp activities nurturing practical skills, inventiveness and leadership.
And the Waiheke Sea Scouts made a big splash in one of the challenges.
"We were the only group out of the whole jamboree to make an outrigger raft during the rafting activity and sail it down the river," Mr Johnson says.
The troop had been holding fundraisers all year to raise the $28,000 needed to attend.
"Without the support of the community it wouldn't have been possible for so many Waiheke Island children to get this opportunity," fundraising committee member Emma Matthews says.
"The monthly car boot sale, including mini a fair in June, was handed over to the Scouts. Chocolates were sold, raffles run and two movie nights were held.
"The 1920s Bingo Night was a hit with the support of Otherworld Productions."
Scout leader Rebecca Goodenough says the troop is keen to thank all who helped make the trip a reality.
And the sentiment is echoed by Waiheke Sea Scouts Curtis and Jasmin Johnson, Serena Woodall, Max Lowe and David and Jemma Walden.
"It was muddy, exhausting, smelly and cold - great fun," they say. "We loved it."