Ar agaigh le Dia - The Federal Jamboree 2004 of the Baptist Scout Association

In the early morning of July 29, 2004, 22 scouts of the Kestrels troop met on the platform of the Neu-Anspach railway station to set out for the sixth annual federal jamboree of the Baptist Scout Association. This year, the jamboree was themed "To walk with God" or in Gaelic language „Ar agaigh le Dhia", and it should transport us to the era of the Celtic monks in the sixth century. The train took us to the little town Rhens am Rhein (near Koblenz) where the jamboree was going to take place on the youth camping site "Pfaffenwäldchen". We used the time in the train to learn the new, self-written song of our troop, thus discouraging other passengers from entering our compartment.

After our arrival in Rhens we met the Essen scouts from the HeLa troop and together, we started our 5 km march to the camp site, with the sun burning relentlessly. At the site, Tobi and Edine who had brought the group luggage by car to the "Pfaffenwäldchen", were already waiting for us. After a short rest period, the two yurts and the four so-called "Kohten" were put up in record time so that we could start to build up our cooking table that day, which had to offer enough place for our complete sub-camp - which included, besides the scouts from Essen, also those coming from Rheinbach and from Itzehoe. The next day, we finalised our camp structures and had a tower construction duel with the Welzheim scouts who in the end absolutely insisted that their tower was the higher one.

The nine following days were filled with a crossfire of program items. Each morning, all members of the camp met in the "cloister", a construction made of yurts offering enough place for all 370 participants, to hold a worship service or prayers which were continued later on in the various packs. In most cases, activities actually started after lunch. On several days, sportgames or workshops were offered - ranging from smithery to archery and wet felting. Every evening, the "Cloister Tavern" opened its doors for some of the camp members. Here they could curl up, having a good time while drinking tea or chatting.

From Sunday morning to Monday afternoon, the camp was quiet because most scouts had left for a pilgrimage - the hike which is a must at each camp and also at this federal jamboree. The different groups explored the wonderful area between the Rhine and the Moselle rivers (some residents even talked about a "migration of people"). They always met friendly people who helped them to answer the questions which were not always easy to answer or to help find a sleeping place, and they got to know the motto of the jamboree by experience.

The undisputable highlight of the camp, however, was the "Great Game" which took place on Wednesday and Thursday, requiring all of our energy. All scouts appeared in splendid Celtic costumes. Some of them had transformed their hair with a mixture of flour and water into adamant pricks, while other ones had painted the upper part of their body with lurid colours. In several game phases which time and again were interrupted by show acts, we relived the life of the monk Columb from his education in the cloister to the fraticidal war about the precious Vulgate and Columb's banishment from Erin, as Ireland was called at those times, and the heyday of the cloister Iuwa which was founded by him on the Isle of Hy. We saw fierce battles, skilful dealings and the solution of many a riddles.

The next to the last day was a market day, and the different packs offered culinary delicacies, such as waffels or doners, as well as thrilling games or pleasant massages. The day ended with the great award ceremony in the arena. Certificates and prizes were awarded to the winners of the hike and of the Great Game as well as to the packs with the best market stalls. Then, a scout investiture ceremony was held during which the colonies from Hanover and Pforzheim were solemnly welcomed as troops in the BSA. In the evening, all participants assembled for the last time for the great final worship service in the cloister yurt because the next day the jamboree was going to come to its end. After having taken down the camp and a common final round, our troop, too, set out for ist way back home. The past ten days had shown us what it meant to walk with God. During the whole jamboree, we had wonderful weather, a marvellous community spirit and masses of fun. There is no doubt that the Federal Jamboree 2004 is one of the camps we will always remember with particular pleasure...