The Canadian Jamboree (Long)
Jay Thal (jay.thal@TCS.WAP.ORG)
Sun, 10 Aug 1997 21:49:35 EST
[my apologies for using asterisks instead of some punctuation marks until I can
correct why uploading from my word processor converts to letters.]
Going to the Canadian Jamboree
Now I heard this from a Canadian: Q. How do you spell Canada? A. C Ay N Ay D
Ay. My wife used to speak like that, too.
They call it CJ, for short. And the question comes up: Why does a USonian
Troop visit CJ? The answer may be the same as Mallory*s -- *Because it*s
there.* [With the next World Jambo being at the foot of the Andes that answer
may be especially apropos.] But there are other questions and answers; and,
comments and challenges, which derive.
Location, location, location.... Our Troop has participated in Camporees at
Fort A.P. Hill, it being 75 mi. from DC, so we*ve gone to CJ the last three
times. Distant adventure at the same cost (it helps to have a Travel Agent
parent in the Troop). Though with the Troop I didnUt go to PEI in 1989, nor
Alberta in 1993. This time I was fortunate.
Scouts Canada moves CJ around the nation every four years. It offers rate
adjustments based upon the distance a Troop/Provincial Contingent must travel,
and Air Canada has special rates. [Hear that BSA?] Unquestionably, A.P. Hill
has the permanent infrastructure, and is centered in the history laden area of
northern Virginia and near D.C. for those who can come early or stay longer.
But A.P.Hill is a drab self-contained site and costly for distant travelers.
We took 21 boys, and eight adults (one who managed to break her foot four days
before departure). We left on July 12. From Dulles Airport (dread those
3:30am wakeups) to Chicago, and then to Minneapolis. From there we took three
vans the 300 miles to Thunder Bay, Ontario. The route was straight forward
(though we did get lost leaving the airport); but the Internet, various Web
sites, e-Mail contacts, and staff of the Congressman whose district we drove
through helped immensely.
The CJ encampment was at the edge of the city, by a large lake (and rapids)
for water sports, and close enough to hills, other lakes, and wilderness areas
that overnight activities and challenges were within reach. About 13,000
Scouts and Scouters attended.
Subcamps were named after rivers in each of the provinces and territories, but
not limited to Scouts from that area. This was unlike the Jambo where units
were sited by their BSA Region. Each of our three *crews* were in a different
subcamp. The subcamps were more tightly packed than at the Jambo, and
amenities were decentralized. The staffs supporting Saskatchewan and the Yukon
seemed to have done a little more planning and staged more on-site
entertainment and elaborate gateways, despite the distances they represented.
The center of action was called the *Thunderdome*, and was down by the lake.
It rocked nightly with groups like *Barenaked Ladies* (all men) who*s appeal
was lost to me by the generations. (Whatever happened to Buffie St.Marie,
Garnet Rogers, or Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms (Griiiin)? Nearby were display
areas/tents, the Trading Post, Tandy, fast-food, miniature golf, and the busy
Patch trading at CJ was inter-generational and, from what I could see,
conducted with great civility - unlike the report from Jambo. Adults were
telling Scouts what NOT to trade, while still trading. Provincial contingent
patches were comprehensibly limited in number, unlike the hundreds of USonian
Council JSPs and their variations (Utah National Parks Council, alone, had 15
stunningly different JSPs). Unfortunately, BSA didn*t define a USonian
contingent so the approximate 350 USonian Scouts were disadvantaged (even
compared with the Aussies, and Trinidad and Tabago) trying to trade CSPs for
Provincial Contingent patches.
Back to the Subcamps. Most were *supported* by a mini-Safeway store monopoly.
While at the Jambo food appeared stockpiled and standardized, at CJ there was
a *recommended* menu based upon what was being overstocked that day. Each unit
had to send Scouts to purchase food of their choosing to prepare. There was
some rebellion over the pricing, and some people boycotted Safeway and took
(free) public transportation into town to a competitive market.
The weather was unusually hot (90s)throughout the week with rain and wind
coming at night. One night, when we were camping at an off-site lake, a
violent 30 min. windstorm roared through but the only casualty was an
overturned portapotty. That lake was the focal point of environmental
studies, and the jump-off point for canoeing and orienteering challenges.
Talk about differences. The most noticeable was Smoking. Scouters, and some
of the older looking Scouts were doing it - openly. That was shocking, we
hadn*t warned our boys of it, and caught one of them in emulation mode.
I had mentioned earlier that one of our adults had broken her foot shortly
before departure. Well, CJ accommodated us providing wheelchair, aide, and
transportation. There were, noticeably, quite a number of disabled Canadian
Scouts integrated into mainstream units. At one of the display tents, down
near the Thunderdome, was an exhibit put on by an Alberta unit on how they
created a composite Scout unit of ten with disabilities, and 40 *whole* boys
and presented them with challenges and travel (as far as England). After three
years, 9 of the 10 Scouts with disabilities made it to Chief Scout Rank (equiv.
of Eagle). Unless I missed it during my day trip to Jambo, I didnUt see BSA
doing anything on what was (is?) known as Scouting Unlimited.
Oh yes, and what did we do? Well, each crew had a different schedule (though
not always of our first choice). I was with the youngest crew, and they
participated in building a Plains Indian tepee, and slept in it. They visited
Fort William (not a military fort), an outpost for fur trading. We overnighted
at the Lake of the overturned portapotty. Frolicked in rushing rapids.
Absolutely patch traded! And, had a lot of fun. So much fun that the adults
wanted to send them home and spend some time on our own.
When we left CJ we, again, crossed the border at the terminus of the Boundary
Waters Canoeing Reserve (a place I*d dearly love to go), drove south to Grand
Marais (a town of 1,100 with upscale stores where I got my wife a peace
offering (having had so much fun) of Indian earings) and picked up food for the
rest of the day. We stopped to eat lunch at Split Rock Lighthouse (as seen on
a $.32 stamp) and learn the lore of Lake Superior. We camped that night at St.
Croix State Park, and before heading to the airport the next day we brunched at
Tobie*s, in Hinckley - a place where abundance and prices (low) were hard to
And yes, IUve left a lot out. But for those Canadians on Scouts-L, and
for those I met at or through CJ, (and for those Minnesota Scouters who gave
good advice along the way), Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The next CJ will be held in 2001 at Prince Edward Island (PEI). Now that
they*ve built a bridge from New Brunswick to PEI the riff-raff will find it
easier to get to. IUve been to most of Canada*s eastern provinces, so IUll
tell you that can be a spectacular trip. Drive up from Boston, through Maine
and see L.L.Bean and Arcadia National Park, or stop at Old Town canoes and get
the Scout tour. Then there*s Baxter Park and the end of the Appalachian Trail,
or canoeing on the Alagash. At the Canadian border there*s Campabello Island,
FDR*s retreat and where he contracted polio.
In New Brunswick there*s Fundy Provincial Park with the Bay*s 50 ft tides -
their beauty, and showing how lunar power can produce electricity. (I missed
(not miss) the naked bathing that Don Izard reported). Then off to PEI, by
recollection a neat island (now with bridge), with everything in its place.
On the way back (if you are intent on getting back) at trip to Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia has the combined beauty of Maine and West Virginia. Travel north
to Cape Breton, travel the Cabot Trail, and find your way to Louisburg, a
restored French enclave. Head back south and visit Halifax, and Peggy*s Cove,
and travel down the Atlantic coast and visit lighthouses, or cut west to Fundy
bay and the Evangeline Trail and see boatbuilding. In the south, at Yarmouth,
you can take a ferry back to Arcadia or Portsmouth, ME. [Disclaimer: by now
some of you think IUm a paid lobbyist for Canadian tourism - not so!]
I am an Eagle (and so is my son Adam)
I used to be a Buffalo
ASM, Troop 666, Benjamin Banneker Dist., NCAC
(oops! there went the formatting, too)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City