Cover Photo Credit: Stephen Way
What a weekend! Three County Showground in Malvern, usually home to farming and agricultural events but for 1 weekend only… Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s biggest scout camp. And not just HW, this year Shirejam also invited scouts from neighbouring counties including Gloucestershire and Shropshire.
The site was covered with tents, big ones, small ones, red, yellow, blue, every colour possible, filled the site like an ocean of canvas.
The Weekend started for me on Wednesday, I got the train to Malvern to help with HW’s sustainability campaign. I was involved in Shirejam’s Stage department so Wednesday involved mainly prepping lighting from our event sponsor, PRG as well as helping prepare program zones. | Photo Credit: Joe Dodman
Thursday was when the stage and entertainments department really started, our main stage arrived on Thursday morning and we sprang into action, hanging lights of all shapes and sizes on our own Shirejam Stage. Also on Thursday, we prepared our live camera equipment and rehearsed using it with the opening ceremony rehearsal on Thursday evening.
After a late night on Thursday, but not as late as our team leader Mark (who spent the night plotting lighting into the early hours), we got our final few things prepared before the final rehearsal of the Shirejam Opening Ceremony, lots of colour – which was to be expected from our head of ceremonies, Phil. | Photo Credit: Joe Dodman
Midday. It all starts to get real now, the showground is fast approaching ready status to allow Young People onto the site at 5PM. The arrivals process was staggered with nearest districts arriving first and our neighbouring counties arriving last to allow more travel time. Shirejam was planned in accordance to Hereford and Worcester Scout county’s climate campaign, giving a discount to those groups who organise centralised travel instead of arriving in parents’ cars. | Photo Credit: Harry Larner
The Opening Ceremony was a huge success with a mixture of scout and non-scout performers as well as a mini speech from Hereford and Worcester’s County commissioner Robert Sidley (Sid). followed directly by the live band – Duke. As expected, the opening ceremony was filled with colour and fun with plenty of singing and dancing. Duke’s set was an interesting one, not my personal taste in music but the young people still appeared to enjoy it and that’s the main thing. After Duke’s set the crowd dispersed across the site. The site I’d seen growing empty for 3 days was finally that nice busyness – not packed to the point you can’t move but busy enough you’ll have to wait a little before you can brush your teeth. | Photo Credit: Stephen Way
Saturday morning was a little earlier morning to the rest, considering I stayed up getting to know some of the guys from Scout Content in the media suite… which by the way I am now a part of 🙂 At 9am was the Squirrels’ Opening Ceremony, a very calm opening for the young squirrels consisting mainly of nursery rhymes and some songs- oh and meeting both Bertie Beaver and Cyril the Squirrel. | Photo Credit: Stephen Way
The activity zones were jam packed (no pun indented) with adventure and fun. From the water fun in Splash More to the thrill and adventure of Strive More.
Fire More despite the name doesn’t actually involve fire but instead was filled with a wide variety of Target sports including Shooting, Archery, Tomahawk throwing and more, I wonder how many bullseyes we had…? | Photo Credit: Stephen Way
Strive More was filled with adventure and thrill. From go carting to bag jump (jumping from a scaffold tower onto a big airbag), there’s guaranteed something to push you out of your comfort zone. | Photo Credit: Stephen Way
Splash More was one of the favourites zones when you ask the scouts. I mean what’s not to love about getting absolutely SOAKED!?!? | Photo Credit: Jen Holliday
Create More was one of the more… chilled out zones, shall we say? With a mixture of craft and retail as well as a few other things… | Photo Credit: Stephen Way
Bounce More was… as the name suggests, involved lots of bouncing but Bounce More also involved skills and balance, the zone featured a circus skills area as well as a mixture of inflatable activities. | Photo Credit: Jen Holliday
I almost forgot the cutest zone of them all… SQUIREL MORE!! Specifically designed for our youngest visitors. Squirrel More Including a cardboard cave, messy play and a sensory play area. One young leader said the squirrels seemed very “intrigued and exited by all the activities” | Photo Credit: Hazel Dodman
Check out the “Squirrel Cam” footage of the Cardboard caving HERE!
As activity zones stopped for lunch, groups were encouraged to come and have their lunch in the main arena. There was live music with thanks to Scout, Eva from 6th Bromsgrove, along with a DJ set from nonother than myself. The idea was to give young people from across the 4 counties get to know each other. Jam in the Shire ran for an hour each day and the young people enjoyed the live music atmosphere. Scouts from across the 4 counties conversed and got to know each other, linking back to what Sid challenged everyone to do in the opening ceremony. Scouts soon dispersed across the site to their next program zone. | Photo Credit: James Owen
The weather wasn’t the best on Saturday, rain coming through like waves and thunder was a possibility although none arrived in the end. Some of our program zones were watching the weather but only one activity was forced to close. As a result of the weather, our stage was absolutely soaking, it would have been too dangerous to allow dance acts to use it for our very own Shirejam’s got talent. I was tasked in finding a solution… Our wireless camera wouldn’t quite reach… which is why we hung our wireless transmitters in a tree in a plastic bag!! Nothing is impossible!! I was in charge of live streaming dance acts from indoors onto the large LED screens. Shirejam’s got talent was a huge success, the winner was given the opertunity to perform in the closing ceremony on Sunday. | Photo Credit: James Owen
Following Shirejam’s got talent was our second live band of the camp, this time in form of “The Breakfast Club” – Which I did think was ironic considering they performed in the evening, their set mainly consisted of 80s and 90s music, which to my surprise the crowd of mainly scouts and explorers enjoyed. The band had 2 sets separated by a DJ set from myself, the crowd was amazing, singing and dancing to everything I put on, but I had 1 little trick up my sleeve 😉 – with about 4 minutes left of my set I decided The Conga was the best song for the crowd of the evening. The crowd absolutely went with it (as expected), many conga lines were formed which all eventually joined into 1 by the end of the song. I handed back to the breakfast club and called it a night. | Photo Credit: James Owen
Sunday morning, while participants were Splashing away in splash more, firing away in fire more and creating more in create more, our stage team sound checked our final act. Channy was absolutely amazing! She is actually a Girlguiding ambassador and is living her childhood dream of being a pop star. Channy has played many a Jamboree before, and we absolutely loved having her and her team at Shirejam. | Photo Credit: Sam Douglas
As activity zones finished for the weekend, groups once again came down to the main arena for Jam in the Shire. Sunday’s DJ set was slightly longer and led directly into the closing ceremony. I hyped the crowd up towards the end including bangers such as Mr Brightside by The Killers and toped the set off with the conga, I soon realised this was not the best choice as I had messed up the entire seating plan for the closing ceremony as they ‘congaed’ around the arena – oops sorry Mark 🙂 | Photo Credit: James Owen
The closing ceremony lower key compared to the opening, the first bit was led by H&W’s “Team CYC” who headed up, ShireJam’s Scouts Own – reflecting on everyone’s favourite parts of the event. Some will have enjoyed the adventure of Strive More, or maybe the skill of Fire more. Maybe the younger ones enjoyed the ‘bounciness’ of Bounce More, or the… organised chaos… of Splash More. Or the creativity of Create More. Some young people will have enjoyed the likes of the evening entertainment, and simply the chance to socialise with those they know and those they don’t. The point is that ShireJam is about bringing people together, whether they’re from Northern Shropshire or Southern Gloucestershire, Malvern district or Hereford, the community spirit and the friendships made will last a lifetime. | Photo Credit: Steve Eddies
Next to the closing ceremony stage was Hereford and Worcester’s County Commissioner, Sid who (in complete Sid fashion) caused absolute chaos. Let me just explain here, through the entire camp, young people were desperate to get hold of small (hand sized) ShireJam cows, they were a success last time and they were again this year. Back to the story. Sid had asked a few key members of Shirejam team to (on cue), start launching hundreds of these cows far and wide into the crowd, it was carnage but 100% worth it. | Photo Credit: Joe Dodman
Following Sid’s chaos moment was my personal favourite act of the weekend, Channy was absolutely amazing. Channy and her girls 100% knew how to interact with the crowd and make shirejam’s closing ceremony one to remember. | Photo Credit: Sam Douglas
You thought the camp finished after the closing ceremony? How wrong were you. As the crowd from the arena dispersed, the stage team began to de-rig and de-prep the equipment from the stage. The deprep of everything probably took us about 3 hours, following this we loaded the lorry, with thanks to ShireJam sponsor White Logistics. | Photo Credit: Joe Dodman
Following this, the stage company took over and did what they needed to do before taking the stage away to the festival it was going to. | Photo Credit: Joe Dodman
AND BREATH! The Jamboree is over, we can relax. ShireJam 2023, we did it. Just 1 more day before I adios the showground. Monday I stayed and helped take down the site before leaving the site in the early evening. Thankyou to everyone who helped with the event. #Teamwork