International Jamborees: 1981 Report Canada and USA

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1981 - Canadian and American Jamborees

In June / July 1981 South Africa sent two Contingents to North America, one to the Canadian National Jamboree and the other to the American National Jamboree.

Canadian Jamboree Contingent

Jamboree Badge

Report by Andrew Wannenburgh

The five Cape Town members of the contingent departed from D.F. Malan (Cape Town) airport on the 24th June to meet up with the sixth member from Port Elizabeth at Jan Smuts (Johannesburg) Airport. We then flew on to Madrid that evening.

We spent the morning in Madrid exploring the city and in the afternoon we took a tour to Toledo visiting Cathedrals and the Museum and house of El Greco. The following morning we flew out to New York.

We spent three days in New York visiting the Empire State building, Statue of Liberty, World Trade Centre, United Nations Headquarters and Rockefeller Centre, Chinatown, Times Square, Garment District, Harlem, Central Park etc. We also took a launch trip around Manhattan Island and a helicopter tour over the East River area. We then flew out to Calgary, Alberta in Canada.

Back: Mike Bosman, Stephen Stefano, Andrew Wannenburgh, Mark Wittemore; Front: Kenneth Harding, Daniel van Daalen

We spent three days exploring Calgary and taking a bus tour to Banff National Park viewing Lake Louise, Bow Lake, Mount Eisenhower and the Columbia Icefields where we took a guided tour over the Athabasca Glacier by snowmobile and threw snowballs around.

On July 2nd we travelled in a typical yellow school bus to the Canadian National Jamboree in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies (the site of the World Scout Jamboree in 1983). We set up camp on a hill among 23,000 other Scouts and Venturers. We took part in various activities such as Western Challenge (bronco riding, roping and branding), Assault Course, Motocross, and the Great Canadian Boat Race etc.

There were three out-of-camp tours, one to the town of Banff where we ascended Mount Norquay in a gondola lift, another was a day hike in the Canadian Rockies, and the last a visit to the Calgary Stampede rodeo. We met many Scouts from all over Canada and the world, and traded many badges. On the 10th July 1981 we left the Jamboree site to spend three days home hospitality in Calgary.

After three relaxing days with families in Calgary we flew out to Winnipeg, Manitoba. We spent two days in Winnipeg touring the city in a double-decker bus and taking a trip down the Red River in a replica of an early stern-wheeler.

On the last day we met our Chief Scout Colin Inglis and the South African Patrol to the American National Jamboree.

Charles L Sommers National High Adventure Canoe Base

The South African contingents to the Canadian and American national jamborees at start of the canoe expedition

Together with the then Chief Scout, Colin Inglis, the two Contingents participated in the 'Northern Expedition' Canoe Adventure.

Called the world's greatest canoe country it gave the South African Scouts access to the vast Canadian interior, canoeing the same routes as the trappers and explorers of old.

Andrew continues:-

The canoe expedition at Wallace Lake, Manitoba

The following day we travelled by bus to the small village of Bisset where the Northern Expeditions of the Charles L. Somers Wilderness Canoe Base is situated.

We rode in a crew of nine with three people in each canoe. We travelled 200 km through lakes and along rivers using the same routes as the trappers and explorers of old. We often had to portage the canoes around rapids but there were quite a few we were able to shoot. The fishing was great, Walleye and Northern Pike were plentiful. The mosquitoes were plentiful too, towards sundown they came in their thousands and therefore we went to bed early. We saw many mallard ducks, bald eagles and herring gulls. We also saw a horned owl and were very fortunate to see two moose splashing through the river.

We were picked up by a Cessna floatplane at the end of our expedition and returned to the canoe base. We returned on a Grey Goose bus to Winnipeg and the next day flew out to Washington D.C.

We spent three days in Washington D.C. touring the city and taking tours to nearby points of interest such as Harpers Ferry, Gettysburg Battlefield, Chesapeake Bay, U.S. Naval Academy and Annapolis, Maryland. In the city itself we visited the White House, U.S. Capitol Building Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum etc. From Washington we took a luxury three day colonial Virginia and Williamsburg bus tour. Williamsburg is a restored 18th Century town where guides and others appear in period costume. On our way back to Washington we left the tour to visit the American National Jamboree for a day, held near Fredericksburg, Virginia.

That evening we flew to New York where we hurriedly boarded a plane to Madrid so we could beat the air-controllers strike. We spent the day in Madrid and left for South Africa the following day. So ended a fantastic trip, certainly an experience of a lifetime.

America Jamboree Contingent

Jamboree Badge

The second Contingent of 8 Scouts and their leader started their trip with a two-week tour of the USA. Starting in New York they visited Manhattan. Chinatown, Wall Street, Greenwich Village, Cruised around the island of Manhattan, Statue of Liberty, and then on to the joyous wonderland of Disneyland before taking part in the Canoe Expedition.

After the canoe expedition the second Contingent then went on to attend the USA National Scout Jamboree from 29 July to 4 August at Camp AP Hill in Virginia.

When the Jamboree ended they travelled by to Washington D.C. for Home hospitality with American Scouting families for few days before flying back to South Africa.

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