JotiJota 2014 - St Luke's
"What's Joti?" Said one of my patrol leaders, about this time last year.
Of course I'd heard of it, I spend a lot of time on 1st Facebook Scout page and it comes up from time to time, and I talk with people all over the world, so we have all heard of it.
I just wasn't 'really' sure what it was all about.
"Do you fancy doing it then?" I asked.
"Yeh, why not!" Says she...
Well, every day is a learning day, and never being one to back away from a challenge, I put it to the PL council.
As expected, they decided that it was something they definitely wanted to do, because as one of the boys said, "Who wouldn't want to talk to girls around the world?"
I made them aware that I hadn't done anything like this before and it was as much of a learning curve for me as it was for them. But the ball was indeed rolling and a plan started to develop...
Dave, one of our leaders, has a mum who goes to St Francis church in Strood, who's head honcho is also a Beaver leader, who's church hall has a community computer suite, and it has a room next to it that would sleep all the Scouts, and had a kitchen, and an area to play, and a separate room where the leaders can sleep and a kitchen, and ... well you get the picture!
So here we are a year later 24 scouts and 4 leaders having just come back from our very first Jamboree on the Internet.
Did we enjoy it? Possibly more than I can verbalise!
We set the weekend up to be as flexible as possible because we have Scouts who are really active at the weekends and we wanted to allow as many as possible to take part, so the core timings were 10 am on Saturday until 2pm on Sunday. That way the horse rider came after her lesson on Saturday, the Scout who was going to see his Nan brought cakes from her the lad who went to watch Fulham came after the game, and the Scouts playing football on Sunday were all away by 9.30 (I don't think were going to be very energetic though!). I think it was the right choice!
There were 6 computers in the hall and a WiFi connection, we told the Scouts they could bring their own pads, pods and laptops if they wanted, but we made sure they knew they were responsible for them and they must check their own insurance covered them as the Scout insurance doesn't.
On the lead up to the weekend, of course we covered Internet safety and what we expected from them when they were online. However, we shouldn't have worried they knew more than we did, we are old and they are children of the technology, they didn't mock us too much...
This is what we did...
Scoutlink is a fantastic area of the Internet.
It's a chat room area organised by the World Scout Organisation,
it's open only to Scouts from around the world, so it's completely safe and as a leader, that helps.
We had Scouts from St Luke's chatting to Scouts in places as obscure as the Ascension Islands, Venezuela, Mongolia and Nova Scotia. One of the Scouts even had a 20 min Skype chat with a girl from Australia. Quite sweet really!!
We ran a competition to see who could get the most contacts and the most Northerly and Southerly. There are tasks set by the JOTI organisers that we didn't get too involved with, but only because the kids were completely happy doing it their way - we had things in reserve but didn't get around to using them.
We are definitely doing it next year.
If you want to give it a go but really not sure how to go about it, don't worry, we can help you - it's not as difficult as we thought it would be. We speak plain English and this time last year - we were in your shoes!