It takes a village... Telus volunteers Zareef Houston (far left) and Bruce Layzell (far right) discuss with Gary Hendren (middle) a longstanding volunteer for Scouts Canada

Preparations for upcoming Jamboree in full swing

Telus employees help prepare Camp Barnard for Jamboree

Believe it or not, we are already in June (where did the rest go?) so that means there is just over a month left to get ready for the 2015 Pacific Jamboree, which will be held in Camp Barnard between July 11 – 18.

With attendance expected well into the thousands, it equally takes an army of dedicated volunteers to put it all together; the community helping the community.

Case in point — last weekend a team of nine Telus employees, friends and family were able to construct and paint 32 walls that will be formed into outdoor showers to accommodate the approximately 3,000 Scouts, Venturers and Cubs who will arrive in Sooke in early July for the massive Jamboree event.

In the end, it’s a way of giving something back, said Dave Bertoya, manager of service management at Telus and local Sookie.

“It’s all about looking after your community, not just going to back and forth between work and home and spending money,” Bertoya said. “It’s the community that are using our services, and this is a way to give back to it.”

The volunteer effort was part of Telus’ “Day of Giving” in which Telus employees across Canada pick an activity in their community to help out with; whether it is cleaning brush, picking up garbage, or building something as trivial as bathroom stalls — something which, let’s be honest, is important.

For Bertoya, Camp Barnard also happens to hold a special place in his heart.

“I actually came here as a kid, so for me, it’s a special place, so anything that’s going on in the Sooke community, I try to support it as best I can,” he said.

He said Telus’ intent this year was to get 16,000 employees across the country engaged, as well as other volunteers associated with Telus, with the count up to 14,500 of the initial 16K goal.

After the Jamboree is finished, Bertoya said all of the wooden stalls will be built in such a way that they can all be taken apart, re-used for another purpose.

Still, a jamboree of this size is not an easy thing to put together.

William Schutte, Deputy Camp Chief and a member of Scouts Canada for nearly a decade, said about 2,206 participants will be in Camp Barnard to perform numerous activities, not including an additional 750 volunteers who’ve offered their services – amazingly, aged anywhere between 14 and well, 100.

“We’re working with a $3 million budget to get everything together, five paid staff and many, many generous volunteers,” Schutte said. “”I’ve been in scouts for nearly 12 years now. It’s a lotta fun, it’s also a lotta work, but it’s worth it.”

Schutte, who also teaches archery and canoe courses with his wife, said there will be a number of different activities running throughout the Jamboree, such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboard, mountain biking, rock wall climbing, trips up to the Sooke Potholes for some gold panning, trips into town so visitors explore around. There will even be a an overnight trip out to the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.

“We’ll have all 2,206 participants and support staff camping in the back of the camp, we have 251 acres, and a 16-acre lake. It’s a gem” he said, adding that a camp ranger will also be on site helping out full-time.

The next Jamboree will be held again at Camp Barnard, in 2019, though Schutte isn’t looking that far ahead — he just hopes the weather holds up this time, unlike last year’s Jamboree.

“We’re all pretty excited for this one, but just no rain this time, please,” Schutte laughed.

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