If you haven't done so already, get your updated Physical Fitness/Consent Form back to your Scouter as soon as possible. It is now becoming urgent that we get these forms back as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to indicate if your child is for any reason unable to take certain common non-prescription medications such as Tylenol, Advil or Asperin.
Let your friends in other units/groups know how to find you at the jamboree by sharing your subcamp and unit number with them.
Practice some of the great recipes from your camp cookbook at home.
- LUNCH BAG: Be sure to have an insulated lunch bag on your list of things to pack. You will often make and pack your lunch in the morning and only be back at camp for supper. Soft insulated school lunch bags are perfect. You'll need to carry it in your day pack.
- FEET AND BOOTS: If you don't already have hiking boots, get them as soon as possible and wear them as often as you can to get use to them and break them in. Don't wait until the last minute or you might end up with very sore feet at the jamboree. Good hiking boots should provide you with ankle support, be water proof and breathable -- not steel toe construction boots! Wearing a thin pair of synthetic (like nylon) socks under your regular socks will help stop friction between your skin and the boot and will also whisk away moisture from your feet. Take good care of your feet as you'll be on them for most of the jamboree.
- HAT: Be sure to bring a wide brimmed hat that you like. You're going to be out in the hot sun every day for the duration of the jamboree. The Scout Shop has some great wide brimmed hats. Less expensive ones go for under $20. Tilley hats go for about $70 but come with a lifetime loss replacement guarantee. Unfortunately it doesn't come with a guarantee that they will fit you in a few years so I only recommend them for late teens and adults. Be sure to try it on different hats before you buy as different sizes are available.
- NAME TAGS: Make sure your name, subcamp and your unit number is on everything! There is going to be thousands of people at the jamboree, all potentially loosing their stuff too. Get your subcamp and unit number from your Scouter. The Scout Shop can make you custom iron on labels. You can get a decent quantity for under $10. It takes them up to two weeks to process an order so don't wait until the last minute. Remember: Name, Subcamp AND Unit number. TIP: If you have a less common last name (not like Smith or Jones) and other kids going through scouting, consider getting the larger quantity and just haging your family name appear on the tags. That way you can also use the labels for your other kids during the rest of the year. The jamboree subcamp and unit number will be meaningless for other camps and outings and can easily be ignored. However it could mean the difference in getting your stuff back. Worked for me at the last Jamboree!
- PACKING: You can squeeze more room out of your backpack by packing clothing in compression sacks. Practice packing. Don't wait until the last minute to find out it doesn't all fit in your backpack. Remember everything has to fit in your one backpack. The down side is that this will also increse the weight as you concentrate more stuff into smaller spaces.
- BACKPACK WEIGHT: Typically a backpack should not weigh more than about 25% of the persons weight -- 30% if they tend to be physically strong.
- WATER BOTTLE: Make sure your water bottle 1) has no chance of leaking, 2) holds about 1L of water, 3) has a wide mouth at the top so you can drop ice cubes in. I have personally been through many water bottles and found the ones made by Nalgene to be very durable. They may be a little more expensive but at least you'll never find your water bottle leaked all over your tent or clothes (unless you don't screw on the top properly of course). TIP: The bottles with built-in spouts seem cool and convinient but tend to be the ones that also leak.
- CLOTHING: The WORST PANTS to wear is jeans. They are heavy, bulky and can take up to a week or more to dry if they get wet. A better choice would be dual purpose pants such as the cargo pants sold at the Scouts Shop with zip-off legs (they double as shorts) or other light weight quick drying pants.
- PJ's: Fleece pants or shorts and a long or short sleeve sweater can not only be used as pajamas but can double as a spare pare of pants and t-shirt.
- BATHING SUIT: Don't forget a bathing suit. Not only might you be using this for swimming but you will also be using it for taking showers.
- HIKING BOOTS: Have you started breaking in your hiking boots yet? Remember, these boots will be carrying you around for 8 days and must be comfortable.
- WATER SHOES: Consider bringing water shoes, crocks or dollar store flip flops for going to the beach or other wet related activities (like going to the showers). Water shoes, flip flops and sandals should not be used as walking shoes and should not be worn on a day-to-day basis as the grounds at camp are quite rugged.
- YOUR BED FOR EACH NIGHT: Be sure to bring a GROUND SHEET for inside your tent. It will help you stay dry if water gets in the tent. A red/silver solar blanket (not the tiny thin ones) is a good choice and can serve multiple purposes. Don't forget your MATTRESS. Self-inflating mats are very comfortable can compress quite well. Closed cell foam mats are lighter and thin, though not quite as comfortable. Open cell form is bulky. Inflatable mattresses are not recommended as once they start leaking, they become useless and more trouble than they are worth. Finding your SLEEPING BAG bulky? Try putting in a compression bag. It will help keep it dry and can sometimes reduce the bulk down to 50% or 60% of it's original size. Temperatures at this time of the year can sometimes go down to about 10C at night (who really knows with global warming). A good summer or three season bag is appropriate for this type of camping. Can't fit your PILLOW in your backpack? Save space by bringing just a pillow case and stuff it with clothes, a fleece jacket or your (optional) campfire blanket. Bring a second one if you are used to also having a pillow between your knees.
- WORK GLOVES: Bring a pair of light weight work gloves to help reduce the chance of getting blisters. Keep these in your daypack so you have them with you when you need them.
- UNDERWEAR: Should be proper fitting to prevent abrasion. I can't begin to emphasize this enough! Women, same goes for support bras too.
- RAIN GEAR: Rain coat and rain pants are preferred to a poncho as pants tend to get wet when the rain runs down a poncho type rain coat.
- FIRST AID KIT: Each Scout should bring a small personal first aid kit with them.
- PACKS: Be sure to put a tags on each of your packs (backpack, fanny pack, daypack). It is also highly recommended that you purchase or make a travel bag for your backpack to keep everything together during transportation. If anything should pop open or come unattached from the backpack during travel, this bag in which you put your whole backpack will keep everything together. Lost and found at a Jamboree can be a nightmare. It will also help keep your backpack dry in the (unlikely) event that it is raining on the days we are travelling. They go for about $20 at Le Baron -- ask them for a "flight bag". I haven't checked yet at other locations.
- GROOMING: A pencil case makes a good compact GROOMING kit.
- TOWELS: Small synthetic micro-fibre towels are best as they are compact, easy to wring out and dry fast. Try using them after your bath or shower to get use to them before you leave. To make it easier to hang them up, attach shower hook, or paper clip to the towel, or bring a clothes pin. Although you can get very nice ones at the Scout Shop or outdoors shop, check out your local dollar store in the wash cloth area. It's often the same stuff at 1/10th the price or less.
- SOAP & SHAMPOO: Using a No Rinse WATERLESS SHAMPOO will cut down the time you need to spend in the cold water showers. Please remember that your SOAP should be odourless and biodegradable. You can also save space by wrapping your DENTAL FLOSS around the handle of your tooth brush. Don't forget to bring and use DEODORANT. Leaders and your friends have to live with you for the whole time you will be there!
- OUTHOUSE KIT TIP: Take the cardboard centre out of a roll of toilet paper. Then wrap the roll with an elastic band and place it in a zip lock bag along with a package of Wet Ones. Why? You will draw the toilet paper conveniently out of the middle of the roll preventing it from unrolling. There is very little that is worse than getting to the outhouse to find that there is no toilet paper left. Stick a bottle of hand sanitizer in there too. Sanitizer dispenser stations often run out at the most inconvinient time.
- BUG CONTROL: Bugs can get quite aggressive in the woods when camping. BUG SPRAY for youth should contain a maximum of 30% DEET. Bring a BUG HAT OR BAG that goes over your existing wide brim hat. Your hat will keep the net away from your skin (won't work with a baseball style cap). You can find them for about $3 or $4. I recommend spending the extra dollar to get the ones with elastics that go around your arms to help keep the bugs out. By the way, never use bug spray near plastic or nylon such as a tent as DEET melts nylon and plastics like the face of a watch, nylon tent, and even glasses. Tip: Bugs like dark colours, less light colours and hate yellow. Something to keep in mind when choosing your clothes.
- LUGGAGE TAGS: It's a good idea to put a luggage tag on your Backpack, Daypack and Camp Chair. These are items that may not always be with you during activities and can get lost. If you don't already have, you can probably plastic tags from a dollar store or even make your own. Ensure they are covered in plastic to make them weather proof and securely attached to your equipment. If you are using a flight bag or other type of sack to keep your backpack and all your belongings together during travel, be sure to securely and clearly label that too. For even better protection, put your name and address in a pocket of each of your packs, just in case the outside tag comes off by accident.
- CAMP CHAIR: Bring a good camp chair or you could end up on your feet for the whole week. I know you can sit on the ground, but what if it's been raining and the ground is all mud? You might also consider a small portable seat to put in your daypack for those times when you are on the go.
- GLASSES: Bring a pair of inexpensive SUN GLASSES with a cord, not your irreplaceable favourites. If you wear GLASSES, bring a copy of your prescription in case you loose or break them. Do you wear CONTACT LENSES? Bring daily wear disposable ones -- and sunglasses to keep dust out of your eyes.
- DISHES AND CUTLERY: All dishes and utensils need to be identified with your name and preferably your unit number. Nail polish works very well. However if you do this with a sharpie, bring the sharpie with you as the information tends to wash off. Your mess kit should be stored in a net bag (not plastic) clearly identified with your name. After dishes are washed, they can then just be put back in the bag to drip dry.
- FLASHLIGHT: A flashlight that uses two C-size cells is a good compromize between bulk and durability. Flashlights with two AA batteries are also a good idea especially if they use LED lights. Batteries might be available for sale at the jamboree but it is best not to depend on it. The less common AAA batteries are harder to find should you need replacements. Use a piece of tape or elastic bands to keep extra batteries together and taped onto the handle of your flashlight. That way they will always be together when you need them.
- GARBAGE BAGS: Use clear garbage bags or large zip-lock bags to hold things that are not to be thrown out accidentally as garbage. It will also allow you to see the contents of most of the bag without having to riffle through or empty it.
- PACKS: Be sure to leave space in your pack for items acquired at the Jamboree. Use real rope, not bungee cords to tie things onto your backpack. Don't forget to pack everything in plastic bags to ensure your belongings stay dry. You never know when your backpack or daypack will be exposed to water.
- PERMITS: Be sure to bring your Knife Permit as well as your Stove and Lantern Permit. All Scouts in our unit must have these permits with them. Contact your Scouter if you don't have these as soon as possible.
- AXE/HATCHET: Please leave these at home. They are heavy and take up precious room in your backpack. Besides, chopping anything at a jamboree is forbidden as we are supposed to be practicing light weight no trace camping.
- SPECIAL SUPPORT: Don't forget to bring any leg or knee brace, insoles or other support devices or medication even if you only occasionally use it. Chances are you'll need it.
- MONEY: Should you bring money? If so, how much? There is no requirement for scouts to bring any money at all. However one CJ official recently suggested that scouts bring about $50-$60 as there may be activities, snacks and souvenirs available at the Jamboree. If you are planning on bringing money, travelers cheques and a money belt are highly suggested. Again it is up to scouts AND their parents to make the decision.
- There will be very little security at the jamboree so please leave expensive items and electronic games at home.
- Review the participant guide, your program list, and the program booklet
Two weeks before you leave
- Practice drinking the right amount of water each day for two weeks. This is typically half your weight in ounces. So if you weigh 100 lbs, you should be drinking 50 ounces of water per day or just under two litres (32 oz = 1L). Note that it is normal for you to need to go to the toilet more often when you start doing this. It will take time for your body to adjust to not being dehydrated.
- Go to bed around 9-10 PM and get at least 9 hours of sleep every night.
24 hours before you leave
- Wash your feet the night before leaving.
- Wash (shower or bath) the morning you leave.
- Cut your toe finger and toe nails the night before leaving.
- Hair getting long? Get a hair cut! Chances are pretty good it's going to be a hot week!
- If travelling by bus, know when and where your bus will be leaving from.
- Bring a full water bottle, a snack and a book to read (or some other diversion) for the trip.
Parents, make sure your scout understands…
- It is a Scouts responsibility to keep themselves clean and take care of themselves throughout the week. Please make sure they understand this.
- Scouters are there to help the scouts when they need help, to guide them towards making the right decisions, to do their best to keep scouts from harm, and to be there for them when they need someone to talk to or need some advise. Please encourage your scout to talk to us if they have any concerns.
- Bed time is expected to be between 9:00 and 10:00 PM each night as scouts will require their full 9 hours of sleep in order to keep a good level of energy level and a positive attitude. Tired irritated scouts won't be able to enjoy themselves. Scouts will be expected to rise and shine between 6:00 and 6:30 AM each morning! Scouts are free to hit the hay earlier if they feel the need or so desire.
- Please remember that the terrain may not be exatly what you expected. The land could be rough may or may not have trees! Flexibility will be important to everyone. Be Prepared
Departure and Arrival Information
NOTE: Confirm your travel plans with your scouter the day before you leave.
WHO: My unit number is: ____________. My Sub Camp is: __________________.
WHERE: Drop off will be at _______________. Pickup will be at _______________.
GOING THERE: You must be there no later than ________ on ______________.
COMING BACK: Estimated time of return will be between _______ and ______ on ____________. We hope to have a better idea of our return time on the day of departure.
A few notes to make your trip more pleasant:
- Pack a light lunch and/or snacks and a full water bottle (with ice if you want) as you will be travelling for several hours. Even once we get there, there could be delays and a hike before we finally get near any washrooms. When you get to camp there will be too much activity to initially have a meal on site.
- Make sure the vehicle you travel on is clean when you off load at camp. Not only can this prevent you from forgetting important equipment but some companies will charge for cleaning any messes.
Be sure to thank anyone who has been involved in helping you prepare for camp including your parents, your scouters, anyone involved in transporting you to the jamboree and back, people that help you at the jamboree, etc. Remember that a Scout is kind, curtious and cheerful.
Michael Milette is a Scouter with the 27th Nepean Scout Troop in Nepean Area.
This article is licensed by Michael Milette under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/ca/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California 94105, USA. You may use and share this information as long as Michael Milette is given credit.
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