Back in 2013 3 girls from Essex West were selected for this trip of a lifetime – over the next 18 months we met as a unit to train and prepare for this amazing adventure.
Unit 30 travelled to Tokyo via Hong Kong on Friday, 24 July 2015 where we had our ‘Tokyo experience’ for 3 days, then we travelled by bullet train to the Jamboree site in Yamaguch Prefecture. The theme was “WA” which means harmony, unity, friendship and peace. 2015 was the 70th anniversary since the atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima and so we were able to visit pay our respects and understand more about this moment in history and its legacy of peace.
After camp we again travelled by bullet train back to Tokyo and on to our home hospitality in the prefecture of Chiba (east of Tokyo). The Japanese families were so very hospitable and welcoming and we all very much enjoyed our taste of real life in Japan.
We all had different experiences and favourite parts – here is a summary from each of us!
More photos on the groups Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Essexunit30/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream
Wow! What an amazing summer holiday... After the 2 year exciting build-up, where we met lots of new friends, learnt a whole new culture and even tried lots of new food, I can honestly say that it was definitely not an anti-climax! When setting off for Heathrow airport, although slightly nervous, I was absolutely buzzing. The travelling was very long and very tiring and settling into jet-lag was a new experience for me. However, the excitement and thrilling atmosphere of my unit kept me going and made the journey so much better. My entire journey was unbelievable, however I have 3 favourite moments to pick out. My first of which is walking around Tokyo at 1am on the first night we arrived! I said to my friend "Well, this is definitely not something I usually do on a Saturday night!" My second favourite part of my trip was having dinner with my unit after we had set-up our campsite. To me, this was a really rewarding feeling where we could look around and see just how much we had achieved - putting up many, many tents and 2 dining shelters in the boiling conditions. Finally, my other favourite part was having dinner with my HoHo family on our final night. This was a real cultural experience as we tried lots of new food, such as octopus and various raw fish in sushi. I have learnt lots of new Japanese words, learnt some history about Japan with our heartbreaking and moving visit to Hiroshima and have understood a whole new culture. My trip to Japan was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and if I could click my fingers, I would do it all over again. I have gained friends for life and will continue looking at my photos for memories for a very long time.
One of my favourite things about my experience at the jamboree wasn’t a specific activity, but more generally the atmosphere around the site: everyone you walked past smiled at you, said hello, or had a conversation with you. I was amazed and inspired by the array of different nationalities and cultures and how well they all interacted and had fun together. Each and every person I spoke to, whether we spoke the same language or not, I had something important in common with: we were both part of scouting or guiding and we had both made a huge journey in the past few years to share this experience. I felt as if everyone truly wanted to make the jamboree better and more fun for everyone else by being friendly and exchanging each others cultures. It is very difficult to describe the magical atmosphere around the site to someone who wasn’t there but the pictures we have taken help to convey the unforgettable memories we have all brought back from our time in Japan.
I feel so honoured to have been selected to represent GirlGuiding at the World Scout Jamboree in Japan, it was a wonderful experience. The scouts were so welcoming to us guides, I have made many friends in both scouting and guiding that I'm sure will last a long time. For me, if I had to choose the best part of my experience in Japan, the home stay would be it as it was an amazing cultural experience that opened my eyes to the ‘real’ Japan. Alongside the home stay, the peace programme at Hiroshima was also a brilliant experience as it was moving and tragic yet strangely inspiring. All in all the jamboree has encouraged me to stay involved with GirlGuiding and to involve myself in Scouting as well, as I truly believe that these movements will create a better, united world.
Earlier in the year, on 19th May, Wendy Henshaw, District Secretary for Ongar District was surprised with her own Good Service Award, presented to her at a District meeting. Wendy was a Guide leader for several years before moving to the Ongar area in the 1970s when she became Brownie Leader for 2nd Fyfield Brownies, a role she held for over 28 years. Wendy has also held roles as District Commissioner, Division Commissioner and Young Leader Advisor and continues to be instrumental in supporting local leaders and promoting and growing Guiding in the area. As well as being the current District Secretary, Wendy is an active member of the Ongar Trefoil Guild and an Essex West County Vice-President. She is a highly valued member of the Ongar team who everyone trusts and relies on.