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European trip was an eye-opener for Paradise Scouts

By Mark Squibb
October 27, 2023 Edition

Members of 1st Paradise Scouting, including 12 youths aged 14 to 17, and five adult leaders (‘Scouters’ as they’re called) are still savouring the memories of a two-week, cross-country Europe trip this past August.

The group was in Europe to attend the 10-day Haarlem World Jamborette, held just outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands every four years, an event that draws upwards of 4,000 Scouts from across the globe.

“It’s like if you took over Bowering Park and filled it with tents,” said Group Commissioner Chris Hendry. “That’s the scale of the event.”

Hendry said the camp was divided into four sub-camps, each organized by colour.

“So, within our sub-camp, we had campers from the UK, we had campers from Israel, from Belgium, from Austria,” said Hendry. “And so, in our little neighbourhood, we were interacting with youth and adults from all over the world.”

Seeing as they planned to attend the Jamborette, Scouters helped the youths plan a sight-seeing trip across Europe that would culminate in attendance at the Jamborette.

“We really wanted to make sure that the youths had a hand in what we were doing, rather than the planning being done for them,” said Hendry, who added that it was the Scouts themselves who determined the itinerary.

Cities on the wish list included London, Munich, Paris, and Amsterdam, and the group enjoyed all the sites those cities had to offer, from the Tower of London to Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, the Munich Zoo and Olympic Swimming Pool, the Eiffel tower and Champs-Élysées and the canals of Amsterdam.

“It was a once in a lifetime trip for the youth,” said Hendry. “It was a huge opportunity and huge success.”

Hendry said the trip also gave the youths an appreciation for language.

“Every youth had a number, and just to make sure you had everybody at a stop, every youth would sound off their number,” explained Hendry. “But we made an effort to do that in the language of whatever country we were in. So, in London they sounded off in English, in Paris they sounded off in French, and in German they sounded off in German. And they seemed to enjoy it a lot, so much so that when we got back to St. John’s Airport we sounded off one last time, and they all sounded off in a different language, just for fun, so clearly it stuck.”

For Kate Rumbolt, 15, a second year Venture who has been with 1st Paradise Scouts for the last five years, the trip was an eye-opener.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, and so it was so cool to finally land in London, and realize, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in Europe,’” said Rumbolt. “Meeting new, international friends at the Jamborette itself was really cool. I met people from Belgium, England, and the Netherlands, specifically, that I became close friends with and still talk to this day. I also loved experiencing the European culture in different cultures that we went to and seeing how things are different there.”

Rumbolt said many of the outings were youth-led, with youths deciding what sites they wanted to see. In some instances, they split into different groups depending on what sites each of them wanted to see most.

“It was very much youth-led, and we were responsible for ourselves and for taking care of each other,” said Rumbolt. “So, we were responsible for our passports and for our wallets. We’re young adults, so it was expected of us that we do not lose those. So, that was a big undertaking for most of us, because normally our mommies and daddies would take our passports for us.”

Rumbolt extended her thanks to the Scouters who made the trip possible.

“There were five Scouters on the trip with us, and each and every one of them put in countless hours leading up to the trip to do this for us, all on a volunteer basis” said Rumbolt. “They enjoyed the trip as much as we did, and they put a lot of effort into it as well.”

Hendry said the Scouts also had a big hand in raising funds for the trip.

The group also received funding from Scouting NL to help offset costs and received a sizeable donation from an anonymous Paradise business.

1st Paradise Scouting offers programming year-round for youths from elementary school right up through high school.

“I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to join, but I went to one meeting and really enjoyed it,” said Rumbolt. “We are a very inclusive environment, for girls and boys and anyone else, and we have a good time. At my age now it’s all youth-led so we decided what we want to do every meeting, based on what youth want to do and not what the Scouters are telling us to do, and so there’s a lot of flexibility. For anyone who likes the outdoors, it’s a really good place to be and a really great group of people to hang out with.”

A recent trip to Europe afforded a number of 1st Paradise Scouts, including Kate Rumbolt, an opportunity to rub shoulders with Scouts from all over the world. Pictured here is Rumbolt with four Dutch Scouts sporting sou’westers gifted to them by Rumbolt. From left to right are Minke Blom, Jente Blom, Kate Rumbolt, Marije van der Wal, and Rixt van der Woude. Submitted photo

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