Friday, August 15, 2014

The 11th Latvian scout and guide jamboree, Mantojums!

In a few days Latvian scouts and guides from around the world will descend upon the wilderness of New Jersey for the 11th Latvian scout and guide jamboree, Mantojums. These jamborees are organized every four years in a location in North America, the previous one, Zvaigžņu sega, taking place in Michigan in 2010 with attendees from the US, Canada, Australia and Latvija.

Lauris attends his first jamboree! Also pictured: my father, mother, aunt, grandmother, godmother, sister and cousins who attended Zvaigžņu sega

I attended my first jamboree Draudzības Lokā at the age of five, technically a few months too young to be a guntiņa but proudly wearing the forest green uniform nevertheless. At that time still organized every five years, in 1992 I accompanied my troop to Canada for Ugunskurs, and then another five years later to New York for Kopsolī. 2002 was Kalnaine in Massachusetts, then Dziesmu Gars back in Canada in 2006. Despite Lauris being only three months old for Zvaigžņu sega, I have not missed a single Lielā nometne in my lifetime other than Kāvu gaisma, the 4th jamboree that took place when I was only nine months old. Until this one.

August 1987, my first lielā nometne

With our move down south and the years spent in France, I have not been active as a troop leader as there are no Latvian girl scout troops in the area. This is possibly the second hardest thing for me about our living in South Carolina, the first being our distance from family, as scouting has played a large role in my life from the very first. With a mother, grandmother, godmother, aunt and various uncles and other relations who were/are active leaders in the organization, I grew up a guntiņa, then a gaida, eventually a lielgaida and finally gave my scoutmaster oath in 2006. The love of camping and the outdoors that took root during this time led to my degree in forestry and career with the Fish & Wildlife Service and US Forest Service, and I hope to be able to instill the same love of nature in my children in the years to come.

After giving my vadītāju solijums, with my grandmother, mother and godmother

About a year ago when the planning for Mantojums kicked into high gear I accepted a request to help with planned activities. It was with a heavy heart that I had to write back and report that I wouldn’t be able to attend the jamboree after all; I was so happy that Lauris and Mikus would be able to accompany me to New Jersey and attend the daycamp usually scheduled for those too young to be mazskauti and guntiņas, but with my due date estimated to be four days before the start date, there was no way any of us would be attending.

Roberts swears he first remembers meeting me at a winter scout camp - possibly this one? (See arrows)

And so, to all my sisters and brothers attending Mantojums, esiet modri! Enjoy your week in the woods forging new friendships and discovering yourselves and the wonders of the outdoors. I will be there with you in spirit, singing right along with you –
Šis ir mūsu mantojums, - ai          
Tik daudz laba nodots mums.
Saņemsim un sargāsim un
Tad to tālāk nodosim!

And maybe a little sīkguntiņa will arrive in the world just in time for Lielā nometne

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