JOTI/JOTA – The 21st Century Scout Jamboree

Sutton Coldfield is internationally famous for being the site of the 1957 World Scout Jamboree in Sutton Park.

our place scout jamboree

(l-r) Cllr Anne Underwood, Ian Henery (scout leader) Barry Connolly (Our Place Community Hub) Najm Clayton (Director Our Place Community Hub) Cllr Alex Yip, Kim Edwards, Kelly Round (Director Our Place Community Hub & Hub Operations Manager) holding a Singaporean Scout flag

33,000 scouts from 85 countries camped in Sutton Park for 12 days with an additional 17,000 British scouts camping on other organised sites spread over a 15 mile radius from Sutton Park and attended the daily organised events. A total of 50,000 scouts descended on Sutton Coldfield with a further 7,000 being bussed in from all over Britain for day-long visits to Sutton Coldfield.

Sutton Coldfield councillor Anne Underwood, Chair of Sutton Coldfield District and Senior Councillor, was at the 1957 Jamboree. “It was an experience I will never forget”, said the long-serving councillor for Four Oaks “and it was wonderful to have been at this memorable event. Experiences like that, as a young person, stay with you for a lifetime”.

On 17th October 2015 Sutton Coldfield`s scouts are doing it all over again but 21st century style using the internet and amateur radio to link up with other scouts from all over the world at Our Place Community Hub in Farthing lane Sutton Coldfield. And Councillor Anne Underwood is once again leading the way.

I am delighted to be involved in this highly innovative way of using the latest technology”, said Councillor Underwood “to enable members of the scouting organisation to safely contact other members throughout the world. The Scout Movement was a large part of my life for 15 years and I look forward to the Jamboree at Our Place Community Hub and seeing the difference modern technology can make to this 105th year old organisation called “Scouting”.”

The event itself is a Jamboree on the Internet (a JOTI) and a Jamboree On the Air (a JOTA) at which members of all sections of the Scout Movement can talk to other members of the Scout Movement from around the world using amateur radio and/or the internet. The JOTA/JOTI Station will be run on Saturday 17th October between 10am and 3pm at Our Place Community Hub, Farthing Lane, Sutton Coldfield B72 1RN. There is no charge for the event but donations to help cover the cost of the event are welcome.

The focus of the 2015 JOTA/JOTI theme is our environmental responsibility – The Earth is Yours. “We need to take good care of it”, said Scout leader and Assistant District Commissioner Adam Hodson “and wherever and whenever possible act to minimise the environmental impact of our actions”.

The JOTA and JOTI is an annual event in which about half a million scouts from all over the world make contact with each other by means of amateur radio and the internet. Short wave radio signals carry their voices to virtually any corner of the world.

“It`s the sheer excitement of having a live conversation with a fellow scout at some other place in the world” said Assistant District Commissioner Adam Hodson, who is also an amateur radio enthusiast, “that attracts so many young people to this event. It`s a real Scout Jamboree during which scouting experiences are exchanged and ideas shared. It`s a unique opportunity for each individual scout to get the real feeling of belonging to a world-wide movement”.

Adam will be providing the radio transmitter and receiver, power supplies, antennas, cabling, speakers, headphones and hand-held radios. He is also going to teach the scouts the phonetic alphabet and morse code so that they can send messages to each other. “There will also be a multi-media projector”, he said “and screen for Skype, JOTI TV, display map of the world for radio contacts and general display of information”.

Our Place Community Hub in Sutton are providing the computers and The Empire Cinema in Sutton and restaurant chain Jimmy spices have provided prizes for the scouts.

“Being a scout in Sutton Coldfield is a very rewarding life experience” said Nigel Speakman, District Commissioner. “From archery to abseiling to survival skills to zorbing, scouting gives you the chance to get stuck into loads of activities you wouldn`t normally get to do.

“Going to a scout meeting is a chance to meet up with your mates, have a laugh and do lots of exciting activities. You`ll meet adventurous people just like you who want to do something a little different. Above everything else, scouting is all about enjoying yourself, whatever you are doing – and there`s always plenty to do, believe me!

“As a scout in our District, you get to explore the big outdoors and travel to new places and try new things. Sounds better than being stuck in the house with nothing to do, hey? Not many people know how to navigate at night, how to build and sail a raft, or make bread twists on a camp fire, but you soon will!

Scouting helps you learn lots of new and amazing skills – and you get to earn badges and awards along the way. I am very proud to be a member of one of the best Scouting Districts in the County of Birmingham”.