Getting your group involved in JOTA-JOTI
JOTA-JOTI is a huge opportunity for groups to take part in. It allows young people to talk to other Scouts & Guides around the world to make new friends and learn more about international Scouting.
Many areas will put on large-scale events over JOTA-JOTI. This can be a great way to increase involvement as it reduces the organisational burden on group leaders and a larger number of participants means that you can hire a bigger and better venue.
A good venue will have…
- A stable internet connection. Bandwidth of 2-5Mbs is more than enough to use webchat. You might need more than this if you plan to use TeamSpeak, Skype, or Minecraft.
- Computers. You might need to provide these yourself, or your venue might already have some. For webchat it doesn’t matter how old a computer is, as long as it can use the internet.
- Outdoor space. The best events have a variety of activities to keep young people entertained. Having outdoor space is great as it allows you to run other activities and games for young people to burn off steam without disrupting your computer environment.
A good venue might be…
- A local library. Many libraries have reduced opening hours on weekends so it’s possible you could get the whole building to yourself.
- University computer suites. Universities are keen to get involved with their local communities. You might struggle for outdoor space but you’ll be guaranteed a good internet connection.
- Schools. Almost all schools have an internet connection and most will also have a good amount of outdoor space. Some will even have Scout groups that already meet there that you might be able to join up with. Make sure you check that their internet filters will allow you to access ScoutLink.
- Campsites. More and more campsites are now having WiFi installed in public areas, particularly in residential buildings. Using a campsite has the obvious bonus that you can turn it into an overnight event!
It’s important to offer a wide range of activities and not to spend too long on any one activity so that young people don’t lose interest. The best way to take part in JOTA-JOTI is to build it into a bigger event about communication and international scouting.
You can find activity ideas at the following places…
Planning your event
- Look at our rules. Ask any questions. Our Help Team is much less busy pre-JOTI so if you have the opportunity to ask questions about anything you don’t understand before the day, please use it!
- Get a feel for the webchat and how to do simple things (like change channel) so that you can help your group if they have issues.
- Make sure you’ve planned what is going to happen. Don’t expect to be able to sit your group in front of a computer for 3 hours without providing them with activities and focus.
- Think about where you’re hosting the event. How many computers does it have? How big is your group? We recommend that 1-2 people use a computer at once.
- It’s helpful to have a series of bases each with a different activity. Groups can rotate around each activity so that they get chance to do a lot of different activities in more manageable groups.
- Taking part in JOTI could help your young people achieve badges for the following things:
- IT/Digital Citizen
- World issues
Here are some ideas of other activities your group could do that don’t require a computer:
- Contact an amateur radio club, and ask them to help you to take part in JOTA by talking on the radio to Scouts & Guides around the world
- Play wide games or treasure hunts outside
- Learn about morse code, semaphore, and other ways to communicate. You could borrow (or make!) a morse code machine, or make up your own secret language.
- Learn about global issues. You could make water filters out of plastic
bottles, investigate ways of making electricity, or plan your own response to a humanitarian disaster.
- You could think about prizes for the young person who speaks with the most nationalities, or for people who successfully talk to a user in a different language.
- ScoutLink will be running various competitions over JOTI. We’ll release details closer to the time.
During the event
- Start the event by going through the rules (www.scoutlink.net/rules) and our safety information (www.scoutlink.net/safety)
- Make sure your group is entertained. Bored groups end up making trouble because they don’t have anything else to do. If your group is getting bored, throw in an extra game outside or introduce a backup activity.
- Use easy to identify group nick names such as “Groupname-1, Groupname-2, Groupname-3, etc.” and a leader can be “Groupname-Leader”
- Leaders can join the #leaders channel where they can talk with other leaders and also contact the operator in charge
- You may need to guide your young people with conversation prompts. They could ask…
- Where are you from?
- Are you a Scout or a Guide?
- How do you say ‘Be Prepared’ in your language?
- What colour is your necker?
- What does your country’s flag look like?
- What is your favourite thing about being a Scout or Guide?
- When did you last go camping?
- What badges have you achieved?
- What hobbies do you have?
- If you encounter any issues with other users breaking rules, make sure you tell an operator. JOTI is a very busy time for us, and some things may slip past our notice. You will always find operators available in the #help channel.
- Make sure you tweet us @ScoutLink with what you’re doing over the course of the JOTI weekend!
After the event
- Think about what went well and what could be improved upon next year. ScoutLink will have a feedback process which will be advertised after JOTI – your comments are really important to us and help us make JOTI better year after year.
- If you have any photos you would like to share for us to use on our website, please get in touch!
Amateur (or HAM) Radio is the ‘JOTA’ side of JOTA-JOTI. Using radio frequencies, young people can talk to people all over the world – on a good day it’s even possible to talk to people on the other side of the world!
You need a license and a lot of technology to use amateur radio, but many radio clubs are really excited about getting young people involved in amateur radio and have been helping with JOTA-JOTI for decades. Groups in the United Kingdom can find their local club at thersgb.org/services/clubfinder/.