A Job well done, over many years.
Thursday, August 4th, 2016
Baden Powell once said: “No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way.”
While EIJ2016, may be the first Jamboree for many participants, two people in particular have for many years been leaving those helpful tracks which Baden Powell spoke of.
Janet and Andy Austin are a couple who have lived and breathed Essex Jamborees for more than 90 years between them! Andy’s first Staff role was at EIJ 1968, in which he was on the “Bogs and Bins” team. He has attended each Essex Jamboree since, except, “I didn’t do 84!” he says.
Janet’s first EIJ was in 1972, and she’s done various jobs over the years, leading Comforts for Staff this time around. For EIJ2016, she’s overseen the expansion of Comforts from an area just for the Facilities team, to an area for all Staff.
After all of their work, the pair has decided that this will be their last time as EIJ Staff, “but we’ll definitely visit,” says Janet.
Janet and Andy’s contributions to EIJ have not gone unnoticed. At a surprise celebration for them on Wednesday, Del Hayes, Director of Facilities, expressed his appreciation for everything they have done, not least for him personally. “Andy showed belief in me at past Jamborees,” he told the attendees, “I know that I, and many like me, wouldn’t be stood here without such belief.”
Andy’s biggest role recently has been the drawing of the camp layout here at Boynton Cross. This year he oversaw the changes that were suggested from EIJ2012, and was on the ground spray-painting all of the lines from the start of July. With an eye on the future, Andy has trained Del’s son Josh in the whole process. Even though Del says that “we couldn’t have had a Jamboree without” Andy and Janet, they have both made sure that the rest of their teams are ready to fill the void they will leave behind.
Camp Chiefs Karen and Paul were keen to express their gratitude for the Austin’s hard work. Karen told those in attendance that she was really proud when she heard that “the 1968 EIJ had had such a buzz, that Andy had come back year on year to try to recreate it,” and that “he believed that 2016 has that same buzz!”
Most pleasing for the Austins, is that so many of the young people and adults that they’ve worked with at previous Jamborees have come back year after year, bringing their families. They’ve seen those sons and daughters joining the team as well. “I’ve just seen one of them driving a tractor!” said Janet. Their son Stuart was a Camp Chief at EIJ2012, and their grandchildren are here too.
It’s clear that Janet and Andy will be fondly missed, but we’re sure they’ll pay EIJ2020 a visit.