When I applied for a place on the Wiltshire World Scout Jamboree Unit, back in 2017, I hoped that I would get a chance to visit another country and to meet Scouts from around the World. I hadn’t had the opportunity to travel very much, and this was the biggest attraction for me. I didn’t really expect it to change my life in the way that it has.
Although I was one of the youngest members of the Unit, we all clicked and as a group we still all chat online most days – even nearly a year after we went away together. I’ve made friends who will be friends for life, I think. Before the jamboree, I was shy about playing my guitar in public and didn‘t really know what I was going to do with my life as a job but one of the leaders brought their guitar along to the Monopoly Run (one of our first training camps) and some of the Unit members who knew I could play encouraged me to play for a group sing-along. This ended up happening at most of the camps and really built my confidence for playing in front of people. I’m now taking Music GCSE as a performance option and don’t think I’d have been brave enough to perform in public without the opportunity to grow my confidence with the Unit.
I think the biggest life-changer, though, has been that I have discovered a new passion for film-making and photography and I’m determined to pursue a future in anything camera-related, particularly film-making. One of the first films I made was the one documenting the Jamboree trip, which you can see here. Friends of friends from the Jamboree have already asked me to edit videos for them and so I’ve already begun my film-editing career all thanks to Scouting!
The Scout Association’s hashtag is “#SkillsForLife”, which people probably think of as the core skills – resilience, independence, confidence, teamship – and all the clichéd Scouting skills of tying knots, making fire and campfire cooking and songs, but there is so much more to it than that, and often the benefits of Scouting are harder to see and less obvious or expected. It’s definitely changed my life for the better.