International Guiding is about new experiences!

Earlier in August I attended MedJam 2018 (Mediterranean Jamboree), an international camp jointly hosted by the Malta Girl Guides and the Scout Association of Malta.  The camp took place in the Ghajn Tuffieha campsite on the west coast of Malta. The campsite is run by the Scout Association and, when it doesn’t have 1,600 Guides and Scouts in it, is open to the public. This was the first time that Malta had hosted an international camp and it was attended by 21 different countries. I was there on behalf of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to run a workshop about WAGGGS and the WAGGGS Programmes.

The worskhop included activities about WAGGGS, some Thinking Day packs, Surf Smart, Free Being Me and the YUNGA challenge badges. I told the Guides and Scouts a bit about each of the activites and packs that I had with me and offered them the choice of which one they sampled. The choice of programmes that the participants picked was interesting. Boys unanimiously went for Free Being Me. Most Guides had already done Free Being Me in their units and so preferred other WAGGGS activities.

I camped in the National Service Team and International Service Team subcamp and it was a novelty to be on camp without any Guides to look after! As with all Guiding experiences, especially international experiences, they are all the more enjoyable because of the new friends that we make. I shared a tent with a Maltese Leader and there were some Maltese Rangers in the tent next to me who translated important announcements such as “dinner is ready”! I also met some Leaders from the UK who, as it turns out, are from the same  Guide Unit as another Leader who I know. (I know we say that it’s a small world a lot in Ireland, but sometimes it really is a small  Guiding world)!

The camp programme allowed participants to experience some of the culture and heritage of Malta in the morning sessions. As my workshops were only on in the afternoons, I was able to join the excursions off site with groups. I visited Esplora, an interactive science museum which was full of things for the Guides and Scouts to do and experiment with. An experiment involving liquid nitrogen and boiling water was particularly popular! I also got to explore Valletta, visit the Malta Experience and go on a tour of  the Knights Hospitillar exhibition which had plenty of underground tunnels and gruesome historical medical facts to keep Guides and Scouts interested. More importantly, as an Irish visitor unused to hot weather, the underground tunnels had some lovely cool walls to lean against!

This was my first time camping in the Mediterranean and it was interesting to experience a camp in a different climate. While we take precautions for rain on Irish camps, the activities and sub camps at MedJam were focused on dealing with hot temperatures.

International Guiding is about new experiences and meeting new people and that is certainly what I got from MedJam2018.