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re: JOTA - Boys, Girls - Young, Old?

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  • Dave Colter
    Hi Jeff, Sounds like you re trying to put together a large event. I ve done JOTA for up to 200 boys in one day with one station, and it was not a huge success
    Message 1 of 4 , May 2, 2001
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      Hi Jeff,
      Sounds like you're trying to put together a large event.  I've done JOTA for up to 200 boys in one day with one station, and it was not a huge success for reasons you'll discover below.  The first thing to remember is the primary goal of JOTA - to allow our Scouts to communicate with other Scouts and Guides around the world, sharing experiences and ideas about Scouting - not ham radio.  Any other activities you do should be secondary to that goal.  It is very easy for us hams to forget that this is NOT a ham radio event - we are only a communication medium for JOTA.  Jamboree On The Internet (JOTI) is going on at the same time, and you might consider combining the two events to be sure we achieve the primary goal. 
      The way to approach the size of the total group is to take the number of stations, assume they can handle 5-8 groups a day (depending on your schedule), times 8 Scouts.  So, 5 stations X 5 groups/day X 8 Scouts/group = 200.  Mixing invitations to Boy and Girl Scouts is fine, but you will find that Girl Scout groups are few and far between on JOTA.  Be sure to let them know that they will be talking to Boy Scouts as well as Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.  ("Guides" is what Girl Scouts are called in most of the world.)
      The real trick is to get as many kids as possible on the air, in real conversations with other Scouts.  What I've found is that many are mic shy for quite a while, and by the time they get up the courage to go on, it's the end of their session.  If the conditions and conversations are good, and the group isn't too big (patrols are the best size), you can keep their interest for up to an hour, but that last half hour is going to be touch and go unless things are really hopping on the air.  Another trick is to keep extraneous noise and activity to an absolute minimum.  If you are all in one big room, like a cafeteria, it isn't going to work - too much distraction.  Quiet, separate rooms are best.  Refreshments in the room help a great deal to relax them.  If you can get a few conversations going on a digital mode such as RTTY or PSK, the shy ones will do well with that.
      Plan to have at least two or three ops at each station.  One can handle on-air stuff, the other two can handle questions and keeping the boys waiting busy and interested.  Have lots of international Scouting info on hand and some ham radio stuff, too.  Whatever you do, don't do too much ham radio promotion.  It will only interest a small percentage of the Scouts, and the rest will feel left out. We've had info on key words in other languages, such as "hello", "Scout", and so on, with pronunciation guides, the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) chart showing the logos of all the Scout associations around the world, pictures of foreign Scouts and activities, Scout catalogs and magazines from other countries (this takes a bit of work well in advance), info on upcoming world jamborees, and basic information on ham radio (nothing complex - it scares them off). !  Be sure to tune SSB for the most natural sounding voice. I've found kids are put off by the Donald Duck sound because they can't relate to it as the voice of another kid
      If you want to have other radio and international Scouting related activities going on to fill out the weekend, consider JOTI, hidden transmitter hunt races, radio merit badge classes, electronic kit building, foreign Scout games, displays on Scouting around the world, world jamboree videos, etc..  For information on JOTI, visit the www.ScoutLink.org site.  My Scouts have done both JOTA and JOTI and liked JOTI much better - it was faster paced, allowed them direct and greater control over conversations, didn't suffer from QRM, QRN, QSB, and funny accents, and the computer use was familiar to them (another good reason to try digital modes).  As much as I think the accents add to the romance of the event, it's pretty tough for radio newbies to pick any intelligibility out of the noise, let alone one with a thick accent.
      For information on WOSM visit www.scout.org.  It has links to all the other Scout associations around the world who have websites.  Another interesting site is www.scouttraveler.org.  If you need international and historical Scouting photos, try my Scouting photos archive at www.geocities.com/nhscouter/photos/oldpicspage.html.  For information on Radio Merit Badge, try www.meritbadge.com and the Scout section of www.arrl.org.  I've put a larger list of international Scouting sites below this message.
      If you are going to teach the merit badge on that day, you won't be able to finish it all.  Do the things you need to do teaching-wise on site, and either set up a second and third meeting in the future (get names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc from those who wish to continue).  You can even do some of the work by email or snail mail if distances are a problem, or set up multiple classes with instructors in different areas.  Meritbadge.com has a great workbook for teaching the badge in MS Word format - I am currently using it in a class and it simplifies the job considerably.  
      Hope this all helps!,
      Dave Colter, WA1ZCN
      Daniel Webster Council, BSA 

      International Scouting
      This is not a complete list - visit the World Scouting site listed below for more...
      World Scouting: http://www.scout.org/
      World Scout Shop: http://www.worldscoutshop.org
      World Scout Events Calendar: http://www.scout.org/wse/events.html
      Jamboree On The Internet (JOTI):  http://www.scoutlink.org/joti/index.html
      Kandersteg International Scout Center:  http://www.kisc.ch/
      ScoutTraveler.org: http://www.scouttraveler.org
      Scouting Penpal Page:  http://www.interlog.com/~asap/scouts/king/penpals.html
      World Jamboree - Chile 1998: http://www.sossi.org/jamboree/jamboree.shtml
      Scouts Canada: http://www.scouts.ca/
      Scoutbase U.K.: http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/index.htm
      Scouting UK Magazine:  http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/hq-info/scouting/index.htm
       Scottish Scouting: http://www.scouts-scotland.org.uk
      Scout Association of Macau:  http://macau.ctm.net/~scoutmac/
      Honk Kong Scout Association: http://www-scout.org.hk/
      Scouts of China:  http://www-scouting.edu.tw
      Scouts Mozambique: http://pages.whowhere.com/community/scoutmoz
      World Organization of Scout Movements- CYBERCAFE: http://peace.scout.org/
      Swedish Scouting: http://www.scout.se/eng/
      Scouting New Zealand: http://www.scouts.org.nz/
      Scouting Ireland SAI:  http://ireland.iol.ie/~sai/
      Scouting Netherlands:  www.scouting.nl
      Switzerland Scouting:  http://www.pbs.ch/eng/
      Danish Scouting: http://www.dds.dk/ddsweb/ddsweb.nsf/HTML/home?Open
      German Scouting and Guiding:  http://clio.rz.uni-duesseldorf.de/~bell/gerscout.html
      Finnish Scouting:  http://www.partio.fi/SP/english/
      Boy Scouts of Nippon (Japan):  http://www.scout.or.jp/english/
       Scouting Argentina:  http://www.scouts-de-argentina.org.ar/
      Scouts Australia:  http://www.scouts.asn.au/index.html
      Portuguese Catholic Scouting: http://www.ip.pt/cne/english.html
      Icelandic Boy and Girl Scout Association:  http://www.scout.is/index.html
      Singapore Scout Association:  http://socrates.moe.edu.sg/ecac/uniform/scouts/index.htm
      Northern Ireland Scouting: http://www.scouting-ni.org.uk/

      Jeff Burns wrote:
      Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 10:31:56 -0700 (PDT)
         From: Jeff Burns <jeffhburns@...>
      Subject: JOTA - Boys, Girls - Young,  Old?

      I am in the process of planning a JOTA event for my county, and am
      trying to decide what groups to include - Boy Scouts, Cup Scouts, Girl
      Scouts, and/or Brownies. I know that both boys and girls of various
      ages can enjoy JOTA separately, but I am not sure how it will work with
      them all together.  If I include the younger ages the odder ones may
      think the event is for Children and be turned off.  Mixing the boys and
      girls may also have sum interesting consequences.

      I have been trying to devise strategies to make the older Scouts feel
      they are getting special treatment. One approach is to have the main
      JOTA activity from about 1 to 4 P.M. During this time the Cubs, and
      Brownies will be the primary guests.  I can ask a few Boy Scout troops
      to come early (possibly camping the night before.) They can help the
      radio people set up. One Patrol can be assigned to each station. When
      everything is set up the Scouts can help "test the station." That way
      thy will be on the air without knowing they are participating in an
      "activity." During the afternoon the Scouts that helped set up a
      station can stay and help the cubs.

      I am also thinking of having the Order of the Arrow sell refreshments.
      They do this as a fundraiser at many events in our area. It will also
      help get more scouts participating.

      I am also wandering how long various ages of kids will be interested in
      the radio. How long should I plain to have one group at the stations?


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