Sutton Coldfield is internationally famous for being the site of the 1957 World Jamboree in Sutton Park. In 1957 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 50,00-0 Scouts descended on Sutton Coldfield with a further 7,000 being bussed in from all over Britain for day-long visits to the Royal Town.
On Saturday 20th October 2018 Sutton Coldfield Scouts did it all over again but 21st Century style using the internet and amateur radio to link up with 1 million other Scouts from 150 countries all over the world at the 17th Sutton Coldfield East HQ, All Saints Church, Belwell Lane, Four Oaks.
Adam Hodson, Scout Leader and Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts in Sutton Coldfield East, said:
"Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet is an annual event 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 the internet. Participating in the Jamboree events can also give Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers an opportunity to complete sections of various activity and challenge badges. A big thank you from me to all of the Scouts and Leaders who supported the 61st Jamboree on the Air and 22nd Jamboree on the Internet event on Saturday 20th October. Once again I am amazed at how all the Scouts and Leaders in our District pull together to make events such as this a success. We managed to make contact with over 70 countries using Skype, Webchat and radio communication. Special thanks goes to Neil Silverton, Scout Leader at 17th Sutton Coldfield East, for allowing us to take over their HQ for the entire day. We hope to run the event again in 2019".
The focus of the 2018 Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet was Life on Land. "We did that right here in Sutton Coldfield", said Scout Leader and Assistant District Commissioner Adam Hodson. "It's all about how we protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss".
The Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet enables Scouts from all over the world to 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.
Adam Hodson, Scout Leader and Assistant District Commissioner for Scouts said:
"It's the sheer excitement of having a live conversation with a fellow Scout at some other place in the world", he said, "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".
Sutton Coldfield Scouts provided the radio transmitter and receiver, power supplies, antennas, cabling, speakers, headphones and hand-held radios. Adam Hodson, a keen amateur radio enthusiast, also helped teach the Scouts the phonetic alphabet and morse code so that they could send messages to each other. "here was also a multi-media projector", Adam said, "and screen for Skype, Jamboree TV, display map of the world for radio contacts and general display of information".
Adam Hodson is a champion of Scouting In Sutton Coldfield. He said:
"Being a Scout in Sutton Coldfield is a very rewarding life experience. 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 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? 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 country".
And on Saturday 20th October the Scouts of Sutton Coldfield East District communicated with the world at All Saints Church, Belwell Lane, Four Oaks.