JOTA New Zealand style
JOTA and JOTI 2012
Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) and Jamboree On The Internet (JOTI) is the world's largest Scouting event. Each year approximately 700 000 Scouts and Guides from around the world communicate with each other via radio and Internet.
At the time of writing, pre-registered numbers were up on previous years. The preliminary reports that I have received indicate that JOTA-JOTI has been very successful in South Australia. From initial indications we will be looking to have over 600 participants. Credit must go to the many station organisers for offering their time, facilities and expertise.
Unfortunately I was not able to attend any of the SA events due to attending a work conference in Queenstown NZ. This though ended up being a blessing as I had the privilege of attending a JOTA-JOTI station in Christchurch. In August I made contact with the New Zealand JOTA coordinator who put me in touch with Mike Foubisher from the Malvern Park Scout Group in Christchurch. With only an email or two, my family and I were invited to join them for their Group's JOTA weekend. This worked really well as we were all due to arrive in Christchurch on the Saturday of JOTA.
When we arrived we were welcomed as though we had known each other for years. We were invited to park our camper van at the Scout Hall for the night so we did not have to worry about finding somewhere else to go. Once parked and introductions all round, it was time to hit the airwaves.
The radio waves were getting great propagation, which is a technical radio term meaning we were talking to people a long way away. From Christchurch we made contacts from the United States, Oman, Netherlands and other locations. It was great to make contact with so many other Scouts around the world. I finally turned in and went to sleep at about 1 am.
The next morning after breakfast, it was great to be included in the flag breaking ceremony. Following this I sat down with the Venturers and Scouts who camped over from the night before to talk about Scouts in Australia and, in particular, South Australia. They then shared some of their Scouting knowledge with Abbey and myself. The Scouting system in New Zealand is very similar to that of Australia in that their Nation is broken up into Regions similar to our Branches and then their Regions to Zones like our Districts. I was lucky to talk to some of their Regional Leaders as well as their Zone Leaders.
The next item on the agenda was the attendance of the Keas, which are their equivalent to our Joeys. This was great as Abbey, my daughter, is a Joey with Mt Barker so she was able to join in with what they were doing. Each of the Scouts and Venturers buddied up with a Kea and then took them around the activities. This was great for the Keas as they had someone to help them and get the most out of their IOTA experience.
At the end of the day we had a Closing Ceremony. As part of this I was able to present the Group with the Scout Radio Activities Group Scarf and some Australian and South Australian badges as a token of our gratitude and appreciation of being made to feel so at home. In turn, Abbey and I were presented with badges and a scarf from the Malvern Park Scout Group. This is going to be one of my most memorable JOTAs.
Branch Commissioner Radio Activities