On Saturday afternoon, October 3rd, a group of exhausted Girl Guides returned from the airport to their Guide hall. Nine members of the 1st Sebastopol Girl Guide unit, accompanied by two adult Leaders, had joined 1600 other Guides at the Australian International Jamboree in Queensland.
The 2015 Jamboree had a ’back to basics’ theme, introducing current Guiding members to ridge-pole tents and outdoor cooking. With no mobile phone or internet coverage at the camp site, the girls took a break from social media and connected with peers in person.
For 9 days, the Guides camped outdoors at the remote Lake Somerset, a traditional meeting place for Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Event organisers had wanted to bring together Girl Guides from Australia and around the world to one of the greatest historical gathering spots in Queensland. Historically, it is a place of spiritual and cultural significance used to meet, renew and make acquaintances, tell stories, trade goods, sing and dance. In true Guiding spirit, there was indeed a lot of singing, chatting, laughing, making friends and exchanging of Guiding badges.
Guiding is an organisation of 10 million females and jamborees are just one of several methods of liaising with ‘Guiding sisters’ beyond individual units and districts. Girl Guides attended this event from Bangladesh, Canada, England, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Phillipines, Sri Lanka, United States and India.
International Jamborees provide an opportunity for the girls to gather with Guides from other states and counties, to develop personal responsibility and to challenge themselves to try new activities with their peers.
Age-specific activities were held at the campsite, as well as at various QLD locations. Offsite activities included paddle boarding and surfing on the Gold Coast, abseiling on the Sunshine Coast and Kindilan Redland Bay, an overnight hike, Dreamworld, Southbank, and the Australian Zoo. Onsite activities included the traditional Guiding activities of pioneering, bush cooking, rope bridges, canoeing, raft building, rope courses, bush craft, orienteering, mud bush obstacle course tie dying, circus skills, swimming, making musical instruments, rock climbing and archery.
Unit Leader, Dawn Fischer said “The girls have had an absolutely amazing time. Jamborees are often a once-in-a –lifetime opportunity, and most of these girls have now attended two. They have arrived home with experiences, friendships and memories to last a life-time”.
“Now it’s time to start preparing our younger girls for the next Jamboree in NSW in 2018”, Dawn concludes. Dawn herself has attended three International Jamborees and is prepared to do it all again.