Off to Washington DC!!

02/08/2019 – Day 14  

It was an early start today, 4:30 am as we needed to finish up all our packing of equipment and tents before we could leave for the next stage of the trip. Greeted by darkness, we furiously packed away the rest of the tents and camp to return it to what we came to 12 days earlier. As the sun rose, we waited for our couch in the subcamp before loading it up and heading out on a 6 and a half-hour drive down to Washington DC. This journey was like the other coach journeys we have had throughout the trip, lots of catching up on sleep and stopping at service stations to get a sugar fix.  

As we arrived at Maryland University we were greeted with a large campus with lots and lots of coaches of Scouts arriving and unpacking their stuff. The rest of the 100 units were on the campus too, so 4,000 Scouts!! We were all staying in accommodation around the campus that would usually be for students. We all settled into our rooms and took a few hours to chill and have a hot shower for the first time in 2 weeks, something that was very much needed. Even after a lot of cold showers, you still don’t get used to them!  

We headed to the dining hall that was buffet style that had salad and vegetables, something lacking on a camping diet! In the evening there was just some free time to sort things, some chose to use the laundry machines, and lots went to visit Target a 15-minute walk away. It is safe to say that the Target was not expecting the hundreds of Scouts to visit it, with stock flying off the shelves, tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, Jolly Rogers, hair dye and lots of nail clippers. After settling into rooms and a comfy bed it was time to sleep again.  

Tip of the day: You don’t know how much you miss something until you don’t have it  

03/08/2019 – Day 15  

An early 6:30 start for today to grab breakfast from the canteen, which was bacon, pancakes, potatoes and of course doughnuts! Today we had free time to head into Washington and explore the city and take in the sights. We walked from the campus to the metro station a half-hour away. We passed university buildings before heading out the campus and past the fraternity and sorority houses that littered the streets around.   

Using a prepaid card, we travelled into the centre. Us leaders had organised a hop on hop off bus tour tickets for the city. After collecting them, the unit was let loose on Washington for the day to travel around and do what they wanted. Some of the sites they visited were the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capitol. Quite a lot also went to some of the shopping malls for some retail therapy, to get a few presents and of course bucket hats.   

For the leaders, it was a day for us. We too took in the sites from the tour bus as we casually cruised around in the sun. We also enjoyed our first Starbucks and electric scooters. Around the city are littered hundreds of electric scooters that you can rent to tour around it. They were so much fun and a highlight of the day, whizzing around and being big kids.  

The unit met up in the afternoon outside the White house for a nice group selfie before catching the metro again back to the university campus. As we caught it back there were also other units too, meaning we were all packed in like sardines, singing and talking to one another. As we walked back to the university and our accommodation, we were greeted with you guessed it, another fire alarm! We arrived as the fire trucks were pulling up so waited with the rest of our block. It turned out it was a false alarm so nothing serious. We headed to dinner, which was enchiladas and pasta.   

In the evening, it was the Tri-Nation event, something being run by the UK contingent to celebrate the culture of the 3 host nations of the Jamboree, UK, Canada and Mexico. A field on the campus had been taken over with a DJ, magicians, batting cages, airbrush tattoos, circus skills, fairground games, decorations and lots of great costumes. It was another chance to socialise with the rest of the contingent and to experience the Jamboree once again. It continued into the evening and everyone that did go form the unit had a fun time, they even got a gift to take home too.  

Tip of the day: It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still be a big kid and have fun!  

04/08/2019 – Day 16  

Today was a chance to have a lie-in as breakfast was at 7:30, which was waffles. Today we were off to see a baseball game, the Baltimore Orioles vs Toronto Blue Jays. We walked across campus to a car park of 100 school buses to take the 4000 Scouts to the game. This time when we got on, they had air conditioning, unlike New York. After a 40-minute drive, we arrived in Baltimore for the game.  

 As we arrived in the city and saw the stadium it was a sight to behold, the 45,000-seater stadium was huge. As we passed through security, we each got a free cap for the Orioles and a UK Contingent branded foam finger to use in the game. We picked up our free hot dog and took our seats in the stadium on the left side of the pitch.   

As with all US sports games, it started with the US national anthem then we were into it. In some of our preparation camps, we had played some baseball, so we sort of knew what was going on. As we made it through the first few innings, there were cries of Oggy Oggy Oggy and Mexican waves going through the UK contingent. The rest of the stadium was empty, and the UK Scouts made up about a quarter of all the fans who were there.   

As we got into the game more, the Scouts took a shine to Anthony Santander, a player for the Orioles after he threw a ball into the crowd. Then the chant of “his name is a bank, his name is a bank, Santander, his name is a bank” started to ring around. Every time he went for a ball or he was batting the Scouts were going wild for him. He through more balls into the crowd and Rhys from the unit was fortunate enough to catch one. You could see on Anthony’s face he was loving it. The UK Scouts were even called the “Official International Anthony Santander Fan Club” and made the news in America too. As the fun continued, we had to leave early to make it back before everyone else left the stadium.  

After a short trip back, the unit had the choice to either go back into Washington or to stay at the university and chill. I took the ones that wanted to go back into Washington. We stopped at a souvenir shop and a Mexican for some dinner. We went back to the mall the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol lit up which looked spectacular and pictures didn’t do justice. They hopped back to the metro and headed back to the university after our last day in Washington.  

Tip of the day: Scouts can go to any event and make it better!  

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