The 8th Kidderminster Scout Group (St John's) Visit to the Danish Jamboree with Stjerne Gruppe, Husum.
On Friday 20th July, 2012 an early start at 1.30am from our scout hut in Habberley Road was the beginning of our much anticipated trip to the Danish Scout and Guide Jamboree at Holstebro in Jutland, Denmark. Months of planning with Stjerne Gruppe, our friendship scout group from Husum had seen our kit van leave Kidderminster two days earlier. Now the main party of 27 were off to Stansted for an early flight to Billund in Denmark.
The joint visit to the Jamboree came at the invitation of our friendship group from Husum, who are affiliated to the Danish scouting associations. This came at a time when both groups needed the stimulation of a large challenge such as this type of camp.
Reports from Rob and Chris with our kit van had reassured us that the weather in Holstebro was far better than the pouring rain we had experienced in the UK. The utilities for the camp site were all in place, and camping pitches were all marked out waiting for the thousands of scouts and guides to arrive over the next two days.
We arrived in Billund at 10.30am, Danish time, to be met by Markus Hausen the leader of the Stjerne Gruppe.  Markus had organised our transfer to Holstebro by coach, which we reached 90 minutes later. The sight that met us was a huge field with two tents – our main Group tent and a similar tent for the Stjerne Gruppe. What a difference 24 hours makes!! In that time the whole of this site was covered in tents of all descriptions, and filled with scouts and guides from around the world. The size of the camp was slowly being understood as our site was only a “sub-camp” with 6  such sites making up the overall camp to cope with the 34,000 plus “scouters and guiders” due to attend.
Over Saturday and Sunday the camp filled and groups completed their own sites with gateways and other constructions such as towers, bridges, cooking tables and showers built with pioneering poles. (See pictures)
Sunday afternoon was the start of a range of activities for Cubs, Scouts and older age groups. These had been pre-booked and ran morning and afternoon sessions until Saturday morning. The Opening Ceremony on Sunday evening was the first coming together of the whole camp. We joined with the Stjerne Gruppe for the procession to the auditorium.
Monday was the VIP day at the Jamboree. H.K.H. Princess Benedikte, a patron of Danish Guiding toured the camp joining in a number of activities. Also present were the Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and 15 members of Parliament. The whole week long camp was covered by Danish television, which a number of parents watched on the internet.
The camp rapidly adopted a routine.  Early breakfast followed by either departure between 7.45am to 8.30am if off to booked activities, or more relaxed if picking up one of the free activities. Lunch was back on the camp site at 1.00pm followed by the activity rotas again in the afternoon. Packed lunches provided to the cubs on their very busy day at the coast and then straight to their age group party in the afternoon. Afternoon activities ended at 4.00pm to allow time for the evening meal to be prepared and cooked on open wood fires. 
The activities included typical scout and guide pursuits. Sailing, coastal walks, the knight’s test, experiment station, climbing, the moment (activity challenges) etc
One unknown quantity going to this camp was the ability of the 8th Kidderminster Cubs and Scouts to cope with the daily cooking on open wood fires. This proved to be a great success with the daily rota for group cooking delivered high quality meals, such as meat balls, stew and spaghetti. The preparation weekend camp at our hut in Kidderminster had proved very useful.
Camp fires are a major feature of scout camps. These took place almost nightly on our site with various groups starting with our friendship group from Husum.  This still left plenty of time each evening for the young people to join together in large games. Our scouts learned a number of new games and made very many new friends from across the globe.
With daylight staying with us to about 11.00pm each night there was plenty of time to form impromptu games of many different types. When not immersed in these activities our youngsters threw themselves into trips around the sites to “swap” all sorts of scouting items. These included swapping badges, neckers (the individual scarf worn by each scout group) woggles and for two of our scouts their whole shirt. These were in exchange for a shirt of the Danish “green scouts” and the other for a distinguished looking russet red shirt from an Austrian scout.
Several relaxing evenings were spent in discussion with Markus Hausen and his team of leaders from Stjerne Gruppe. Further plans for them to visit us in 2013 were outlined. More work has since been done and we will be joining together in July 2013 for a camp in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.
Our camp site had very many visitors, some well-known to us and others brand new. Ann Denton suggested we had a world map to track our visitor’s nationalities. This rapidly built up with names and nationalities. In total our visitor list must have included people from well over twenty nations from Hongkong to Canada and from Bangladesh to Zambia. The 8th Kidderminster leaders and youngsters were constantly mixing, and each evening there were people arriving asking for our scouts by name.
Visitors well known to the 8th Kidderminster Scout Group were Peter and Ellen Bang who worked with us to set up the original link to the Stjerne Gruppe.  During this camp they were representing one of several scouting museums, Tydal, which was exhibiting at the Jamboree. While looking around their exhibits the 8th Kidderminster red T-shirts from our 2006 visit to the Tydal International Camp were prominently on display in several photographs. 
Brian Marsden from our Danish friendship group came to see us on Thursday afternoon. His role at this camp was leading one of the 6 sub-camps – quite a challenge.
“Quite a challenge” was also the task asked of some of our younger scout leaders. During the evening concert on Thursday they were asked to volunteer for a supporting role. They found themselves working alongside the cameramen on the main stage, an unexpected task but one rewarded with a crew fleece. This attitude of join in to help run the camp is a common theme of scout camps. This not only ensures thing happen, but most of the time proves very enjoyable.
Saturday came around very quickly with the final activities taking place in the morning and packing away of kit starting in the afternoon.  At 6.00pm preparation for the Closing Ceremony began as people gathered on their own sub-camps ready for the 6 processions which would meet at the auditorium. Once again this featured on Danish television. Included were numerous scouting and guiding songs and acted story telling. The evening concluded with a concert featuring Alphabeat, a popular group in Denmark, known to our older scouts for a hit a few years ago. Fireworks brought the whole camp to an end.
Sunday 29th July was a relaxed day for 8th Kidderminster Scout Group (StJohn's). With our return flight from Billund to Stansted not until 10.00pm that night we took our time packing away our kit. Our friends from Husum left just after lunchtime and we packed out kit van for the return trip.
We were the last group to leave our sub-camp. My feeling of “seeing it all” from the almost empty camp site at the start on Friday 20th July when we arrived, to being the last to leave and having seen it all in between had to be wrong. There was far too much constantly going on to “see it all”, but certainly I was left with the desire to do it again. 
The return trip to Kidderminster went smoothly. Once on the coach from Stansted the tiredness hit people and most people slept. 
Reflections on this visit by Kelvin Morris, Group Scout Leader, 8th Kidderminster Scout Group.