For Kent Latimer and his son Ethan it was a trip they will long remember.
The father and son duo travelled to Ireland earlier this summer to participate in JamboRí 2018, Scouting Ireland’s national jamboree.
From July 25 to Aug. 2 the Yorkton pair were among more than 5,000 Scouts and Venture Scouts from Ireland and overseas taking part in the event held at Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois.
“We took a tour first,” said Kent Latimer, adding the tour and jamboree site was “absolutely beautiful, just gorgeous.”
The actual location Stradbally Hall near Portlaoise in the midlands of Ireland, is about an hour south of Dublin, with a history dating back to 1789, said Latimer, who said he met the current resident, asked a question about how old the hall was “and ended up in a 32-minute conversation.”
The trip to the Jamboree was not an event initiated by the local Scouting organization but the experience of attending the 2017 Canadian Jamboree in Camp Nedooae, Nova Scotia had Latimer interested.
“We went to the Canadian Jamboree last summer and had a great time,” he said.
So when the opportunity to make the trip to Ireland, going with a group from Calgary, they took it.
The Latimers were among a very small contingent attending from Saskatchewan, the others travelling from Humboldt.
It was a trip well worth the time and effort, said Latimer.
“We met a whole lot of different people from different parts of the world,” he said.
Latimer said while there were organized activities much of the camaraderie came from good natured joking and practical jokes between camps.
“There was lots of good fun,” he said.
And then there is the tradition of trading pins and neckers (scarves). He said he and Ethan would walk to different campsites in the evenings to do trade, with each sub camp having its own necker.
“Ethan managed to trade for every one of them,” he said.
Latimer said it is interesting to see how popular the Scout movement is in Ireland. In Yorkton the group usually sits around 15. In Ireland groups often exceed 40, with some even having waiting lists, he said.
“And 50 per cent were girls,” he noted. “… Scouting in Ireland is just massive per capita.”
But among those at the camp the Canadians attending were treated very well.
“The Canadians were the rock stars. We were new and shiny and bright,” said Latimer, adding as they arrived “the kid’s got swarmed by the Irish kids.” He said they wanted to know what it was like in Canada, and from that friendships grew.
More trips for local Scouters are planned for 2019, with a few headed to a World Jamboree being held in West Virginia, and a larger contingent going to a Pacific Jamboree on Vancouver Island.