Anona Mann (National SSAGO)
Friday 2nd of June 2017
Over the second May Bank Holiday weekend, eight SSAGOers from across the country got together to help at Oxfordshire’s Jamboree, OxonJam.
Friday started with two teams driving from Bristol picking up various people on the way and arriving on site at 4.30 before the mad rush of Scouters turned up. Never have we had such a magnificent arrival at a camp, driving up the drive of Blenheim Palace with lots of sheep everywhere! Whilst setting up camp, two people going to Moot came to set up next to us, we found out later that one of them is from CLOGS (newly formed Central Lancaster SSAGO) making our membership officer very excited!
After setting up our tents, we donned our hi-vis, and helped to direct parents in and out of the car park. After that, it was then food time - a very yummy BBQ!
After dinner, we helped to direct the 4000 participants into the main arena for the opening ceremony. While waiting for the kids to arrive we planned our stewarding strategy and had a little dance off thanks to the performers on stage. People were dressed up as everything from dinosaurs and cowboys, to Daleks and Jedi - the costumes were outstanding!
Saturday morning saw a strong wind blow over Oxfordshire, but the sun was still out in strength. We set up out Gazebo, SSAGOfied our area and found the missing pegs from the tent, then we were all ready to go! Young people started to arrive from 9.30, most running straight across our Quidditch Pitch to get to the other zone behind us (rude!), but luckily some rather small Beavers took an interest in us and we started to explain the rules of Quidditch. Interest in our base grew quickly, and lasted throughout the day, giving lots of advertising for SSAGO to both Explorers and Leaders. Much like our Quidditch players, our gazebo was also keen to fly away and we failed in our attempts to keep it secured to the ground.
We ended the day of activities by putting our mark on the tile walk - creating a fabulous SSAGO tile. The evening was spent socialising in the bar, where we met a member from Falmouth who wants to set up a SSAGO! Then we headed back to the tent and all squished in to play some rather amusing card games.
Sunday morning we said farewell to James but hello to the lovely warm weather, and welcomed Laura back from her night shift of delivering babies! Due to the flight attempts of the Gazebo in the wind the previous day, James took it back with him causing some very hot and slightly sunburnt SSAGOers, so we cooled down with a water fight! Some very enthusiastic Scouts and Cubs played multiple games of Quidditch in a row before taking a break to collapse in a sweaty, but excitable heap.
A Scout from 1st Benson Scouts, said “Quidditch was the best activity all weekend!"
Thanks to the fluorescent nature of the exec t-shirts we were very easily spotted and were asked if we could help do some more stewarding for the evening entertainments. One everyone was hi-vised up, (and Anona’s hi-vis was confiscated as she was already too bright!), we waited in an empty looking field waiting for the young people to arrive at the main stage.
We were also spotted and asked to help man the front gate, where we got to have walkie talkies and listen to funny conversations, such as towards the end of the night when admin radioed us to say, “If the band try to leave please tell them that if they would like to be paid that they should probably head back to admin” followed very fast by someone else “no let them leave, let them leave!!” Whilst those on gate were working hard the rest of SSAGO were at the pub quiz, we didn’t win but we got a solid 19 points!
Monday was the last day, we moved zone to where all the Scout and Explorers would be spending the morning. Here we explained to even more people the wonders of Muggle Quidditch and even had a visit from Tim Kidd (UK Chief Commissioner and newly-sorted Ravenclaw) to end the weekend!
One amazing weekend at Blenheim Palace showing the County and others how wonderful and helpful SSAGO is, as well as interacting with the young people and telling them to look out for us at Uni!