World Jamborees: 1975 Report

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1975 – 14th World Jamboree, Lillhammer, Norway

Jamboree Badge

29 July to 7 August / Participants 17 259 / Countries 91 / South Africans 330

The following article was written by Graham Symmonds, 1st Camps Bay Troop's only representative, on his return from "Nordjamb":-

In November 1974 I received a letter from Scout Headquarters telling me that I had been chosen along with 300 other Scouts from South Africa to attend the 14th World Jamboree in Norway. From that day on life for me became more hectic than ever before. I had to attend Jamboree training camps at Gilcape where I met all the chaps from the Western Cape who had also been lucky enough to be chosen. I spent a lot of time writing to the other Scouts around the country who had been placed in the same Jamboree Troop as myself and slowly began to get to know them. I had to get my badge work up to date as well as fitting in a bit of school work.

On a cold morning in July 1975 the trip began. The Western Cape Scouts travelled by train to Johannesburg where we met the chaps who had by this time become our pen-friends. It was great fun matching faces with handwriting. After a farewell speech by the Chief Scout of South Africa we took off bound for London on board a Jumbo.

Pre Jamboree tours

Cruise on the Rhine

We had three days free in London which I spent with relatives.

Next stop, after a hovercraft trip across the channel, was France. At Calais we boarded a tour bus which was to be our home for the next few weeks.

From France we travelled through Belgium and into Holland, which impressed me with its beautiful countryside. I was surprised to find that the windmills still serve an important function, that of draining the low lying areas into the sea, via a network of canals and rivers. The most interesting part was a trip around the canals of Amsterdam with a South African medical student as a guide.

From Holland we went on to Germany which I thought was the most beautiful country of them all. This was also the most hectic part of our European tour. I had never thought it possible to see so many castles, the most impressive of all being King Ludwig's Fairy Castle.

The highlight of the Germany was a cruise down the Rhine.

Home Hospitality
After a short visit to Zurich in Switzerland, the South African Contingent split up to enjoy local hospitality. I went to stay with my prearranged host-family in Denmark for a week. This was an important facet of the 14th World Jamboree called "Home Hospitality". I got to know a lot about the Danish way of life. Everything seemed so very different about them, the social structure of family life and their food were perhaps the most interesting aspects. We were given sandwiches one day while sightseeing and to explain what was on the bread is almost impossible. It consisted of raw meat, cheese, butter, cream, salads and spices all between two thin pieces of black bread. I decided to give them a taste of good South African food and made a braai for them, the next night they made a braai for me because they had enjoyed it so much. When I gave them some biltong they asked me how to grow it.


Colourfull SA campsite

After a sad farewell I left them bound for the great event - the Jamboree itself. The excitement began to build up on the ferry trip from Denmark to Norway where we began meeting Scouts from around the world. On arrival at the Jamboree site the most impressive thing of all was the sheer numbers of Scouts. Never before have I ever seen so many people, let alone Scouts, assembled in one place. There were 15 000 Scouts from 59 different countries. Badge swopping began before we had started pitching camp. Language was never a problem, Scouts offered me badges for bits of Springbok skin and with a handshake the deal was concluded. When our camp site was complete with a gateway in the shape of the headgear at the top of a mine shaft, we marched into the main arena for the grand opening ceremony. We were assembled into the shape of a hand, each finger representing one of the host countries namely Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

Camp activities such as water sports, pioneering, hiking, nature conservation and many others were organised from bases at different points around the campsite. The main event was an overnight hike. Hundreds of small Patrols made up of Scouts from different countries set out into the Norwegian woodlands. In my Patrol only three could speak English, an Englishman, an American and myself, for the Italian, the Swede, the German and the Japanese we used sign language. Campfires also played an important role. Here up to 2 000 Scouts would sit around a huge fire while Scouts from different countries put on acts depicting their country. We, the South African Contingent, danced the famous mine workers' "gumboot dance". After seven adventure-filled days we broke camp and began the long journey home, trying, on the way, to catch up on all the sleep we had lost.

The Jamboree was a magnificent climax for me as a Scout and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Group for all they have done for me.

I wish all the boys in the Troop and Pack all the best and hope they enjoy Scouting as much as I did. I feel I owe a lot to 1st Camps Bay and look forward to many years of continued service and involvement.

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