By: Rose Sutkowski
Cub Pack 11 Sacred Heart recently learned first-hand what the heart of Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) and Jamboree On The Internet (JOTI) is all about.
On Saturday, October 20 the Pack hosted its first JOTA/JOTI event and invited other local units to participate. Their virtual camp was set up at Sacred Heart (Everett Hall) in Havertown, PA. The Marple Newtown Amateur Radio Club provided licensed operators and set up the communication systems.
JOTA and JOTI is the largest Scouting event within the U.S. and internationally for all units. This annual experience offers Scouts of all ages a special opportunity to make contact with each other by means of an amateur radio and the Internet.
Since 1957, it has taken place the third weekend in October, and the virtual campfire typically has 1.8 million Scouts participating across 150-plus countries. A great feature is that it is travel-free so it takes place right where you are in the world making it accessible and convenient.
Scouts were provided with a wealth of knowledge in a unique environment. Through radios, laptops and video screens, the Pack exchanged experiences and stories by conversing with many Scouts both internationally and domestically. A webcam was also available so Scouts could see and speak to each other in real time. This activity helped them celebrate diversity around the globe and fostered a sense of belonging to a worldwide movement.
Todge Sutkowski, committee chair and organizer of the event, said, “Events like this are important because they demonstrate how Scouting goes beyond one’s backyard.” Aidan Sutkowski, a Webelo/Arrow of Light, enjoyed talking to Scouts about camping and hearing about specific traditions. He said, “I can’t believe Canadian Scouts camp in
snow huts. It must be so cold.” Many Scouts in the Pack commented that they had lots of fun and were glad to be part of the celebration of diversity. Parents who attended with their Scouts got into the spirit by asking questions of their own.
Scouts from Budapest, Hungary used their leadership skills to engage Pack 11 for 35 minutes. Budapest played a game with the Pack by asking them to find three items related to their country. And Pack 11 asked them to find three items related to the United States. The Pack was surprised to discover that Budapest likes the Philadelphia Eagles and knows about Dunkin Donuts Coffee.
If you are interested in hosting your own JOTA/JOTA event, check out https://www.jotajoti.info/.