The first Scouts Jamboree “down under” in four years is underway in Waikato with over 4000 scouts setting up camp.

The spacious surrounds of the Mystery Creek Events Centre have been transformed into a vast “tent city” for the duration of the nine-day event which has attracted scouting enthusiasts from as far away as the United States and United Kingdom.

Most of the scouts are aged between 11 and 14, but a group of 14 and a half, and 15 and a half-year-olds were also invited because the last Jamboree was disrupted by the pandemic.

“We had a short period of time, 18 months because of Covid, to get the team around,” says Jamboree Director Lawrence Fauatea.

“It was fantastic, in the sense, that almost everyone (approached for help) said ‘yes’.’”

Organising the Jamboree is a huge logistical exercise and requires a specialised team working across a range of areas from food supply to health and safety.

The range of activities on offer includes water slides, an adventure course with a large mud bath, quad biking and water sports.

For the first time this year, scouts are also able to try their hand at driving a digger. This activity is strictly supervised to high safety standards to ensure the wellbeing of both scouts and their one-on-one instructors.

A positive vibe can be felt right across the vast Jamboree site.

The scouts are kept busy not only with activities, but also with new experiences and friends that are the stuff of memories.