Flaming Phalanges

As you all know I was recently at the World Scout Jamboree as an Assistant Unit Leader, and, as promised, I took my diary with me to jot down all the little stories and details.

Oh the best laid plans of mice and men... if only my writing hand hadn't caught on fire.

Yes, you read that correctly. Caught. On. Fire.

Not me, yes. Not exactly what happened, yes. Cool picture none the less, hell yes.
It was our first day on the Jamboree site in Sweden, we were still setting everything up, including the kitchen. The way that our chosen system worked meant that the patrol that I looked after was on duty and had to cook dinner.

We were making dinner, on our brand new stoves, in our brand new mess tent surrounded by packages and boxes hiding all manner of things, like those handy things called fire blankets. Everything was going smoothly until I hear one of the kids say "Oh look, it's on fire"

That, for the record, is a sentence that can send shivers down any leaders back.

I quickly turn round and not only has the kitchen roll that was beside the stove gotten so hot that it spontaneously combusted, but it was in said kids hands. Everything following this happened in a matter of seconds. I ran over, I think I stupidly tried to blow on it (I know, I know, but this was like a second after seeing it) realised that I needed to get it out of her hands and out of the mess tent.

So I grabbed it and ran.

And then stomped all over it.

And then released that in the past 3-5 seconds from seeing fire to stomping it that I had burnt my hand...   not my best moment I will admit.

We got to treating it straight away. I was pouring cold water over it while Elaine (our first aider extraordinaire) was prepping the burn kit, and as soon as that was on I was on my way to the first aid facility. A first aid centre which was embarrassingly still setting up, that's how early in the Jamboree this happened!

I did try to write that night, a lot had happened that day after all... we'd gotten to Sweden, to the actual Jamboree itself after 2 years of work... but it just hurt too much to write with my burnt hand and if I had tried with my left it would look like a 5 year olds scrawl and a single word would probably take up half a page.

So all my Jamboree stories are going to be just that, stories. Unlike the 3Nations posts (going day by day) I'll be doing some random little stories from time to time. If you don't like it then you can blame the flaming kitchen roll...

And if you still don't get what "Flaming Phalanges" are... then this little clip from Bones might help

A little pick me up

Every leader has their ups and downs. And at some point or another we all need a little pick me up. I'm not talking about a cake and a good cuppa type pick me up.
Not this type of pick me up...
I'm talking about the pick me up that only the scouts can provide. They may not intend to provide it... heck they might not even realise that they have done it, but I've generally found that when you need one, then they will deliver.

This summer I was in dire need of a pick me up.

Things had been getting on top of me, I was getting mega-stressed with everything and if I am honest I wasn't exactly a happy bunny. I stayed clear of here for a while (if you hadn't noticed) as I didn't want to be all negative. That's also why I'm not going to go into any details.
I Iz Not A  Happy Bunny!
from here
But not to worry, my pick me up worked and I'm happy again! (woo hoo)

The nature of the pick me up, well, it's rather unusual as it actually involves something that we scout leaders dread, medical care. And no, before you say anything, I did not go round doing Timmy Mallet impressions and hitting the kids with an oversized mallet to relieve my stress.

Let me set the scene. At the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden one of the set activities was Dream, a night time activity in the forest based round self discovery. Our subcamp had this scheduled straight after the Opening Ceremony, so after the party at the main arena we had to fight the crowd back to our site to get changed and then make our way to the queue for the activity. Needless to say we were all shattered.

In fact we weren't the only ones that were shattered. A girl from another UK unit fainted near us while we were in the queue for the queue. One of her leaders dutifully stayed with her, but the rest of her unit carried on and went into the queue for the activity. My unit on the other hand, instantly, and without being asked, formed a human shield round them and started doing crowd control.

It was shortly after that, that one of our own keeled over. Well, the newly formed Protection League went into over drive. Passing water among themselves to make sure that everyone was okay, protecting the casualties from being walked over and clearing the road for the ambulance to get in.

At one point there was actually three people under our protection, altho the third wasn't there for that long... so I presume that he recovered quickly and went on to enjoy the activity.

I know, I know, it sounds like a complete disaster. Obviously it wasn't the situation that was the pick me up... that would just be a bit too sadistic even for me, it was the way they reacted. They truly went above and beyond the call of duty that night and I was immensely proud to be able to call myself one of their leaders.

Now, I'm not trying to brag, I've done a number of things that are rather pride worthy. I've got my Queen Scout Award, Duke of Edinburgh Gold, Explorer Belt and Wood Badge all before I was 25. All of which were presented to me at various times, and don't get me wrong, I was very proud at all of them. But all of them pale in comparison to how proud I was of my unit that night.

That night, not only did they protect their fellow scouts, but they restored my faith in being a scout leader.

Note: The scout from my unit that fainted recovered rather quickly as was fine. We also received a thank you message the next day from the girl from the other unit that fainted saying that she was fine.