Japan in a Box

The Japan in a Box page is now live – this is your chance to get out and about, or to let the groups you young lead at know what you’re up to!

There’s a folder full of programme ideas, toys, artwork, things to dress up in and of course chopsticks and flags. Something to keep everyone happy, from Beavers to Network.

See here for more information, or get in touch.


WOMAD Music Festival

July saw some of the Unit tackle the WOMAD music festival. Joining forces with the WOMAD crew, we had 4 days to erect over 300 tents – and then two days to take them down again! Slogging it out in 30 degree heat – pretty close to what we might get in Tokyo (http://www.accuweather.com/en/jp/tokyo/226396/july-weather/226396) the team worked exceptionally hard, and by the comments we got from the public made a very positive impression!

In addition to having to pitch tents in inch perfect rows, we also helped carry bags to and from cars (up to 2km away), sold cranes and ran a small raffle. Our campsite was actually also 1km from the tents – so lunch was literally a trek! Most of the photos I have are from the middle of the week, when we got a few minutes downtime. If anyone has any others, please let me know :)

Following the last minute panic we were aided by members of the IST and other friends and parents who proved invaluable, and allowed every member of the unit to receive £50 from the event. We’d also like to thank the cub leader from Bracknell at the stall next to us who kept an eye on our things when we left it unmanned.

Did you know?

•Japan is made up of 6,852 islands.

•The highest point in Japan in Mount Fuji, which stands at 3,776m (12,388ft).

•As of July 2012, there are over 127 million people living in Japan (127,368,088), which is the tenth largest population in the world.

Back on Track

Summer (apparently) is coming to an end so its time to get back on track.


I have figures for Sun Run, Womad and Malvern challenge to send out – the duck woggles are being split between TRG equally (minus Rachel’s costs) based on the lack of any other information :)

You’ll get your totals tomorrow in an individual email – everyone gets something from WOMAD too.

If you have money to pay in before the start of September £1500 gateway we’re trying to get hold of Cranham for next Tuesday evening or failing that the following Sunday afternoon. Please let us know if you’d like to pay money in and which of those days you’re free so we can do it as efficiently as possible.

We’re working on getting your totals (Cheltenham based people assume that the district money has gone in) but the easiest way is to add up the white receipts we give you every time you give us money, then add on the total from your email tomorrow.

If you have any concerns over the September deadline please contact us – we’re here to help :)


The diary for the end of September is still a bit fuzzy due to transport issues and some confusion over dates, so please watch this space.

EARLY WARNING – we will need all passport details by December the 15th so flights can be booked. Please check now that passports will be in date and valid.

If your patrol has organised any events that you’d like adding to the calendars (and we would appreciate all events being in there) please get in touch. Steve Powell will also shortly have access to the TicTacs calendar.

As ever, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to answer.

Did you know?

Kirara-hama, the Jamboree Site is in Yamaguchi Prefecture in the West of Japan, but did you know:

• The current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is from Yamaguchi

• Yamaguchi is the 15th most popular Japanese surname

• Yamaguchi is famous for Fugu (pufferfish) cuisine. Fugu is extremely poisonous and chefs have to train for 3 years to learn how to prepare it properly.

• The Rurikō-ji Temple in Yamaguchi is recognised as one of the top 3 pagodas in all of Japan

The Jamboree Journey in July

Five months into the Jamboree Journey, last weekend two of the Gloucestershire Unit found themselves in Manchester on a Scouts Speak Up course, and I took the opportunity to find out how the preparations for the Jamboree were going.

The Scouts Speak Up course is designed to give young people the confidence to talk about scouting and promote what they’re up to, and so Sunday morning was the perfect opportunity to put their new skills to the test .

Rachel applied for the Jamboree because she thought it would be the “ultimate adventure” and has not been disappointed! Her biggest fear was meeting so many new people and some of the training has been geared towards making this easier. At a unit training camp in June the participants were paired up with someone they didn’t know and had to spend the morning with them. This pushed people out of their comfort zone, but by the end of the morning everyone was thoroughly enjoying it. The bonding on the first day allowed them to pack the lunches on the second, and even the rain couldn’t dampen their spirits!

The unit packing lunch – 2000 to go!

The unit packing lunch – 2000 to go!

The Jamboree is still a year away, but Rachel pre-empted the course and has already been using her skills to give her Jamboree experience back to the community, running Japanese evenings at Beavers and Guides. The unit has recently acquired ‘Japan in a Box’ – a box they can bring to your group to share their experiences and they look forward to hearing from you.

I also got a chance to ask Ned what he’s been doing to help raise the money needed for the Jamboree, which not only pays for himself but also goes towards subsidising the Jamboree for scouts from less fortunate countries.

In addition to helping at unit fundraisers, Ned told me he’s “changes his life quite a bit” and taken a job as a butcher’s boy every Saturday. This bold step means Ned knows exactly what he’ll raise before we go to Japan, and is a great way to not only get to Japan but also to do something that will have a lasting impact for Ned in the future.

Before letting them go to continue preparing their final presentation for the course I asked if they’d managed to use any Jamboree skills in their everyday life. Confidence was the fastest answer I got, but Ned summed it up best: “I’ve managed to use the skills at school, like for giving presentations to year sevens on how to revise”, something he thinks the Speak Out course will help even more. The Jamboree Journey already giving something back!

Ned and Rachel loving the camera!

Ned and Rachel loving the camera!