Back in 1984, the Essex International Jamboree first welcomed members of Guides to join the fun, and thank goodness they did!!
As at that first Jamboree a young German lady, called Christa attended with her troop and met my Mother, Stella Watts. As Christa was learning and perfecting her English, they exchanged lots of letters and this led to both the families becoming great friends.
Almost 40 years later, we have so many visits to Germany and the UK, including weddings, baptisms, parties, hospital visits as well as trips for no real reason other than to just see each other and have some fun!
And this all started in at the Essex International Jamboree.
A Jamboree has a lasting impact on those who attend, giving us not only an opportunity to make new friendships but also to get a much deeper understanding of other cultures, lifestyles and behaviours.
We hope through the Essex International Jamboree, we help everyone to build meaningful friendships and help make our world more inclusive through understanding and knowledge.
Rachel Kemp with Stella Watts and our great friend Christa Breitfeld
The Essex International Jamboree can trace its roots back nearly 100 years!
Back in 1927, Essex held a large Scout Rally at Priory Park in Southend which was visited by the Founder, Robert Baden-Powell, and it is recorded that he received a rousing welcome and was so delighted to see all the Scouts together. Following this, the plans were set in motion for more big events for Scouts to meet for adventure and fun.
In 1947, the first Essex Scout Jamboree was held over a long weekend and was such a success that a week-long event was held two years later with Scouts from across the world invited.
Since 1952, it's been held every 4 years with the same fundamental approach of enabling Scouts from all over the world to join to make friends, create lasting memories and learn new skills. In 1984, the Scouts invited the Guides to join the fun - and thank goodness they did!
Putting on the Essex International Jamboree today is certainly a joint effort between Essex Scouts and the 3 Girlguiding counties in Essex. We have a wonderful mix of Scouts and Guides attending, and we see our staff as one family - Guides and Scouts together.
Our Jamboree is a true celebration of Girlguiding and Scouting.