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JOTA-JOTI Participant’s Guide — Get Ready for the Largest Scouting Event in the World

The World JOTA-JOTI Team has prepared a Participant’s Guide. It tells all about the largest Scouting event in the world and how you can get involved.  You can download it at this link JOTA-JOTI Participant’s Guide or click on the image below.

60 years connecting Scouts – a glimpse behind the scenes.

BP knew….

The earliest documented involvement of Scouts with world-wide connections comes from the 1st Arundel Troop in Sussex, United Kingdom; they had their own amateur station “on the air” in 1911. The transmitter was of the spark variety and the 300-foot-long aerial used the local brewery chimney as a mast. The Troop had the call sign “XBS” and they had a receiving range of 800 miles.

Lord Baden-Powell’s comments were as follows – “Wireless has become a favourite hobby with boys of the right kind, and it is a valuable hobby for them, because it has a big future before it… I hope that Boy Scouts, at any rate, will make full use of this opportunity thus given them, and will by their good work and progress in efficiency repay such kind interest”. Little could he have known of what was to come…..

Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) starts in a snack bar.

In 1957, a World Scout Jamboree was held at Sutton Park in central England, with 35,000 Scouts from 62 countries attending. For the first time at any World Jamboree, local radio amateurs installed and operated a large radio station under the call sign GB3SP. Scouts and leaders were allowed to visit, as long as they stayed behind the little fence with the flower pots and kept the noise down.

Les Mitchel, G3BHK, (9 December 1923 – 6 October 2014), a British Scout leader at the time, writes: “I was very surprised by the number of overseas Scout radio amateurs attending the Jamboree and decided that some effort should be made to bring them all together. A notice in the Jamboree Newspaper resulted in daily coffee meetings during which we got to know each other and had a good rag chew. The meetings were actually held in a snack bar outside the Jamboree gate, as meeting in the GB3GP radio station would produce too much “background noise” for the operators.

Towards the end of the Jamboree we were all a little sad at our impending departure, and someone casually remarked that we might try to contact each other on the air. This then developed into the idea of trying to make contact on one specific day in order to concentrate our efforts, and I was asked to make the necessary arrangements”. Unknowingly, Les became the JOTA founding father.

On to the first JOTA event….

“When I subsequently gave this idea more detailed consideration”, writes Les, “there seemed to be a number of pitfalls. There were a few of us, and we were spread around the world.

Then the idea hit me – why not run the event for a whole weekend and ask all radio amateurs throughout the world with an interest in the Scout Movement to put their stations on the air and, at the same time, invite their local Scouts to join them. Visiting Scouts would be able to really take part themselves – thus adding much to the general interest. Even if the original “coffee meeting” Scout amateurs did fail to contact each other, it would not matter for there would be plenty of other Scout stations to talk to”. So, JOTA was born.

Then it got out of hand……

As the event continued to grow fast, the Boy Scouts World Bureau located in Ottawa, Canada at the time, was asked to help organize it. The director of administration, Leonard F Jarrett, VE3MYF, (31 March 1921- ) had some experience with radio and got the job. The event needed publicity and this was done using an annual participation card.

Len writes: “this first card was designed by a local volunteer as were, I believe, the next two. It was not until around 1961 that we started to “borrow” artwork from other JOTA organizers (notably Australia for a year or so, I believe). Later on, we started to ask various National Organizers to “volunteer” artwork”. Here are the roots of what is today the annual logo competition ! The event grew from a few hundred Scouts, to a few hundred-thousand Scouts and next to well over a million today.

JOTI joins

Just as you think you have seen it all, a new life-changing technology emerges, the Internet. Soon, local initiatives popped up that grew into a real Jamboree on the Internet, following the same concept that JOTA had used for decades. Gradually, more and more exchanges became possible over internet, that had not been there before. Combinations of internet possibilities with amateur radio to bridge long-distances soon emerged.

In 2013, the World Scout Committee decided to join JOTA and JOTI together into one big event. In fact, it is the largest annual youth event on the global calendar.

The future is open…..

The World JOTA-JOTI Team that coordinates the event, has set the first steps for a long-term outlook for the event. With elements that will focus on its educational value, its international character and its main task: “Connecting Scouts”. Join us next October.

2017 JOTA-JOTI Theme — 60 Years Connecting Scouts

The theme “60 Years Connecting Scouts” recognizes the start of the event in 1957 and commemorates its growth in participation and in the expanding communication channels that are activated on the third weekend in October, 20 to 22 October 2017.

Those channels include amateur radio via radio frequencies and Internet-based channels as well as many other Internet-based options including social media, ScoutLink and IRC chat services, Skype, and more.

It also recognizes the goal of the event – connecting Scouts so that they can engage in conversations with other Scouts across town and around the world. This allows them to discover geographic and cultural differences and similarities. Plus, they are exposed to the technology that makes all this happen.

The World JOTA-JOTI Team will provide a number of weekend activities supporting this theme. Additional activities will be generated through online submissions from Scouts and Scout leaders. Activities can be targeted for one-hour to one-day timeframes. A select group of activities will be posted on the JOTA-JOTI website with credit to those who developed the activity.

This theme will also be used to guide creative options for the JOTA-JOTI logo contest, which is expected to launch very soon. Watch this website for full insight into the contest and how to submit your entry.

World JOTA-JOTI Team annual meeting

The World JOTA-JOTI Team convened in Kuala Lumpur end of January 2017 for their annual meeting.

The team is led by Richard Middelkoop, PA3BAR, from the Netherlands. Team members include: Hannu “Banda” Rättö, OH7GIG, from Finland; Ali Al-Mamari, A41RV, from Oman; Philip Bird from the United Kingdom; and Jim Wilson, K5ND, from the USA. Also attending this year’s meeting were Stephen Peck, Director of World Events, and (in part) Mihajlo Atanackovic, Digital Engagement manager, both from the WSB Global Support Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

2016 Evaluation

While the detailed world report for 2016 had been drafted during December and January as the reports from NJCs (National JOTA-JOTI Coordinators) were received and incorporated, the team met for a final review before it was formally published. You can find the report at Annual Reports.

We were pleased to see that our promotion efforts paid off and the activity levels increased considerably over 2015, bringing the total youth participation to well over 1 million. JOTA-JOTI remains the largest Scouting event in the world. The world report has more details for you.

The WJJT also noted a couple of improvement points. Notably some details on the new sign-up system, clarification points in communications and further support to NSO’s. Whilst the logo competition, JamPuz and our social media channels are definitely items to keep alive.

Strategic Outlook

By far the most time spent at the meeting was focused at developing a strategic roadmap for the event. The team felt that the annual organization is becoming mature, so it is time to look ahead further into the future. Our starting point is the vision that the World Scout Committee has laid out into 4 segments: we looked at “Innovating Scouting”, “Reaching Out To All”, Strengthening Scouting’s Profile” and “Governance & NSO support”. In each section, the team identified the items that the JOTA-JOTI event currently contributes in one way or another. Next, we identified those points that we felt were the important ones and that we would like to build on.

The team reviewed the first ideas with our World Scout Committee liaison Peter Blatch, using an on-line connection. Peter added a number of suggestions that we could incorporate on the spot.

After ample discussion and further reflection, the WJJT will focus for the next triennium on:

  • NSO support: “promote and encourage“, resulting in doubling the participation numbers
  • changing the profile of the event: forward looking, exploring new possibilities, safe communication.
  • adding innovative educational methods and resources
  • NSO’s to share their best practices

The World JOTA-JOTI Team will elaborate on these points, together with a number of NSO’s and Youth Advisors in a few on-line sessions, to make a high-level roadmap for the JOTA-JOTI event. Annual activities will then result from this roadmap.

2017 Planning

The team adopted the 2017 theme, which will be published soon, together with the launch of the logo competition.

The communication plans were updated for 2017. The team blog posts (like this one) will continue to appear monthly on our web site. An increased use of social media channels is foreseen as well.

The world-wide game will be upgraded; in 2016 some 46 groups managed to solve the John Bont puzzle. We will put out more similar challenges in 2017.

Finally, the work division amongst the team members was slightly adapted to better balance the workload and allow for further personal development.

Teleconference Calls

A highlight of the planing meeting were several teleconference calls with our trusted partner  organizations that are involved with JOTA-JOTI. This included calls with Juha Mäenalusta, Chairman of Scoutlink and Bart Jenniskens, the driving force behind JOTI.tv. These individuals brought fresh insight to JOTA-JOTI from their perspective in providing support to the event.

 

Get prepared for JOTA-JOTI this year from 21 to 22 October. Stay tuned for more updates on our plans for 2017. Next up: the logo competition.

 

We Want To Hear All About Your JOTA-JOTI Weekend

WJR2015Last year we reported that over 1 million Scouts were active during JOTA-JOTI weekend across 151 countries and nearly 18,000 stations. We’ve posted the highlights and the full report.

So, where did we get those numbers?

The annual numbers are compiled from reports submitted by National JOTA-JOTI Coordinators. Your coordinator will be assembling the full report for all locations in your country.

How can I make sure my location report is included?

Contact your National JOTA-JOTI Coordinator with your location’s information. You can find the full list for each country at National JOTA-JOTI Coordinator. They may also have a reporting system where you can submit your information online or via email.

What information is needed?

The information they’ll be collecting includes:

  • Number of participants (Scouts and Guides)
  • Number of visitors (non-Scouts)
  • Number of amateur radio operators
  • Number of contacts
  • List of countries contacted
  • Communication channels used

How about photos, videos, and Scout stories?

SV 10245377_856661904366012_7814956110575330068_n copyYou bet! Your National JOTA-JOTI Coordinator would be delighted to receive some of the best photos and videos from your event.

You can also provide short stories and Scout impressions of your JOTA-JOTI weekend as well. You can find a suggestions with examples at Station Report Best Practices.

Provide your report and watch for the 2016 World JOTA-JOTI Report

Collect your numbers this coming weekend, snap some great photos and videos, and then provide them to your National JOTA-JOTI Coordinator.

Watch for the World JOTA-JOTI 2016 Report. We’ll have it completed and published early next year. It’s all part of celebrating the fun of 2016 while getting ready for 2017.

Thanks for all you do for Scouting and for JOTA-JOTI.

Now tell us all about it!