Scout jamborees a family affair

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 11:35 02/01/2014

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The Scout jamboree in Feilding is a long way from the first one John Groat attended, for several reasons.

Now in his 70s, Mr Groat was at Manfeild yesterday to see his 13-year-old grandson Matthew Cocks - the fourth generation of his family to attend a jamboree.

Matthew's twin sister attended a Girl Scouts jamboree in Rotorua in 2012.

Matthew and his grandfather compared notes yesterday on their jamboree experiences, with Matthew saying the highlight for him had been rafting on the Rangitikei River. "It's been going pretty good," he said. "It's better than what I expected."

Mr Groat's first jamboree was in 1953 at Sandringham in England, a time when there were no female Scouts and Scouts did not leave the jamboree site during the event.

Activities then included building bridges, seeing which troop could build the tallest flag pole and keep the nicest kitchen area, since all meals were cooked over open fires.

Mr Groat's father was a King Scout Award recipient and he was a Queen's Scout, as was one of Matthew's uncles.

Matthew, a member of the Palmerston North Panthers troop, said he was working towards achieving his Queen's Scout Award.

"It would be nice if he did achieve it, [but] there's no pressure," his grandfather said.

The pair said there were still a lot of similarities in scouting, with many of the same skills being taught as well as the ability to develop leadership skills and confidence.

"It's fun to learn good skills, you get to do things that you normally do not get to do," Matthew said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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