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The Not-Quite-A-Jamboree Blues – And What You Can Do About Them

Jamboree Blues: the slump some of us feel after the buzzing, global, life changing, friendship-building, community-making experience of a Jamboree. The feeling of heading home after shared experiences so intense that you leave with a wish for the world to be a bit less 2020 and bit more Jamboree.

With EJ2020+1 cancelled we’re left in a weird state, thinking of what might have been. It’s a heavy sense of loss without ever experiencing the joy of what we were going to create together in Gdańsk. All this on top of what else has gone down in 2020, a year like no other, surrounded by other losses in life, events, jobs and ways of life.

The Safe from Harm and Listening Ear Teams felt it might be worth a little follow up to consider some of the ways in which we can come to terms with the loss of the Jamboree.

Spot the feelings…

Anger, shock, tiredness, loneliness, hopelessness can all be triggered by the Jamboree cancellation. Those feelings might come alongside thoughts about blame for yourself, others or even the world around you. Your behaviour might change in some aspects of your life, maybe being irritable, less interested in things you normally enjoy, and losing focus. Don’t be too surprised. This is normal after any loss. Remember, grief isn’t just about the death of a loved one. It can be felt for any loss, no matter how significant or meaningful.

Setting up camp…

Just like when we set up camp, we need to make sure we meet some of our basic needs first. When camping this might be a shelter, fire, water and logging into the Wi-Fi (maybe…). Right now, we need to keep looking after ourselves. This might include managing our sleep, keeping an eye on our work-life balance, getting some sort of physical activity in, making more space for family and friends. Getting our set-up right can help us cope with camp life, or life, much more easily and help us manage whatever the weather throws at us.

Validation…

One of the hardest things about Jamboree Blues is the loss of being with people who understand the shared experience of a Jamboree. Going back to where we live, we are likely to be with people who may be interested in our time away but don’t really ‘get it’. Our experience right now has some similarities. We might explain the sadness of not having Jamboree next year and be faced with sympathy, but not the more connected understanding that is empathy. Or they might even be like, ‘Well yes, but then 2020 has cancelled lots of plans’ – factually correct, but no one needs to be told this, and it’s not helpful in a moment of sadness.

We can instead say honestly to ourselves or people who are also struggling: ‘This is hard to work through’, ‘It’s okay to feel sad’, ‘I wish it wasn’t like this, it must feel horrible’, ‘You were excited about Jamboree and through no one’s fault it was taken away from us’, ‘This is hard right now’. It’s OK if it takes some time to work through these feelings. Everyone processes them at their own speed, so it’s important to be understanding and supportive of people who may be taking a little longer to come to terms with loss.

Express those feelings…

The JPT have done a wonderful job of communicating the sadness of losing the Jamboree in a hopeful and empathetic way. It’s important we keep this conversation going as long as we need it. Simply talking about Jamboree, how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking can help our brain process the loss as well as connect us to fellow Scouts and Guides and ease some loneliness. Remember, loneliness isn’t about proximity, it’s about connection, so even socially distanced conversations can still bring us closer together.

Time for another adventure…

While we comprehend the loss of next summer’s Jamboree it can be helpful to think of future adventures. Aspirations, dreams and goals can keep us going and motivate us through difficult times. It might be another Jamboree, a holiday or a weekend camp, a meeting with our new Jamboree friends in another context. So long as it gives you a sense of excitement and hope it’s never too soon to start thinking about it.