Preparing to take a Scout Troop or combining several Scout Troops to go to a Jamboree takes considerable planning. It’s usually well within the capability of a Scout Group to mount such a project and a project it is. But it does need some serious planning and organisation if the outcome is to be memorable for the good times rather than any issues that arose.
Smart Groups will carefully select who is to lead the project and provide them with the backup skills needed to assemble a successful, positive and dynamic team that is able to meet challenges and overcome them.
The Jamboree Troop Leader doesn’t have to be the Scout Troop Leader. In some cases it is beneficial that it’s not, as the Scout Leader can focus on the weekly Scout programme and keep it at a high standard without distractions in the lead up to the Jamboree.
The team members
The most critical person is the Jamboree Troop Leader (who is the Team Leader). But even the best team leader will struggle if the team members are not pulling together and working positively for the project.
You may not always be able to find people to match the characteristics and skills listed below and that’s normal. What it does mean however, is that if a position requiring attention to detail is filled by someone who is not that way inclined, the team leader needs to be aware of it. Additional guidance and support must be provided so that the person appointed is not struggling and stressing the project team.
Here are some thoughts for assembling an effective team of moderately experienced Scout Section Leaders. Keep in mind that the Jamboree stipulates no more than 7 leaders with any troop of 36 Scouts and that the Jamboree Troop Leader appointment must be approved by the Youth Services Director of the Jamboree.
- Jamboree Troop Leader
Used to leading adults as well as youth. Takes time to think things through and is prepared to consult with the team and others. Encourages the team to take responsibility for their roles, provides leadership opportunities, encourages succession planning. Makes timely decisions quietly and firmly. Understands timelines and their importance in achieving a successful outcome.
- Deputy Troop Leader
Able to step into the JTL role as and when required. Supports JTL and leadership team.
- Quartermaster / Transport organiser
A practical person with a good contact network. Can find things and suppliers without undue fuss. Can fix most things, accepts that accidents do happen and that plans do change suddenly.
- Kitchen support
Enjoys supporting the youth duty patrols, supporting them in the decisions they make to ensure the meals are served on time, are well presented and wholesome.
Should be able to step back in a support role as much as possible enabling the scouts to take responsibility for the meals they produce.
- General duties – all Team members
Cares about people. Understands the Scout method and the Patrol system and knows when to intervene and when not to.
- Welfare / First Aid person
Has a first aid qualification. Is a calming influence on the youth and leaders and helps ensure their welfare is not compromised.
A detail oriented person who likes things to be correct. Is highly organized, system focused and takes pride in having the accounts up to date and the books balanced. Is familiar with budgeting.
While it is definitely preferable that all the positions listed above are filled by trained Scout Leaders, it’s not essential.
Having one or two parent helpers with the appropriate skill sets is very helpful and to be encouraged. Just remember that you need several months lead time to ensure the
Adult Helper application is processed and the Police check carried out in good time.
The Group Jamboree Leadership team
Not everyone listed above needs to attend the project meetings in the early stages so consider appointing a Jamboree Leadership team to do the initial research, get things moving and report back to the full project team every month or two.
The Leadership team might include the following, but can be more or less as needed.
- The Jamboree Troop Leader and or Deputy Troop Leader
- The Treasurer
- The Quartermaster/ Transport Organiser
Many people are very busy and have events booked up for six months or more in advance. As a result, the team needs to set regular dates for meetings up to 12 months in advance.
Meetings might be every month for the initial 3 months as things get going, then perhaps quarterly for the middle period and then with increasing frequency in the run up to the event.
Avoid holding meetings in a cold Scout Hall at all costs. Is there a local hotel bar or coffee bar that might be suitable? Scouts have a relationship with the RSA. Why not talk to them and see if you can have a corner of their dining room to hold your meetings in?