The 24th World Scout Jamboree, a World Organization of the Scout Movement event held this year at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, had opportunities for Scouts to try activities they’ve never experienced before, as well as meet some impressive Scouters, like astronaut and Distinguished Eagle Scout Greg Johnson, who spoke to Scouts about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
“Scouts I encountered are very excited about new STEM initiatives,” Johnson says. “The key is to expose our youth to these opportunities — to give them a chance to experience some of these innovative STEM initiatives along with traditional Scouting — not separately, but often fully integrated. The possibilities are endless.”
Scouts at the jamboree got their hands on virtual reality technology, spoke with astronauts aboard the International Space Station, launched scientific balloons, and worked on computer networking and cyber security. Some of those activities were held in the new Rex W. Tillerson Leadership Center, which was dedicated during the jamboree. The 13,800-square-foot facility will host future half- and full-day training modules as well as accommodate conferences, receptions and special events.
“If it doesn’t meet the Scout Oath and Law, then we’ve missed it,” Tillerson says of the training. “That is the bedrock of what we’ll be teaching here.”
Unity and friendship
In addition to some fun high adventure activities, many Scouts and leaders reported their favorite part of the World Scout Jamboree, which was hosted by Scout organizations from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, was making new friends.
“Simply seeing Scouts from so many countries, continually sharing and getting on so very well with their shared view of Scouting was truly heartwarming,” says Morton Chalom, Advisor for Venturing Crew 755 and assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 755, both in Northville, Mich.
For Everett Winn, Scoutmaster of USA Contingent Troop 230, the highlight of the jamboree happened with the troop’s assistant senior patrol leader organized a potluck dinner with units from Spain, the United Kingdom and Finland.
“It was wonderful to see people of different cultures, eating, talking and enjoying each other,” Winn says. “It was a chance for the Scouts to see that while we may be different, we are more alike than they realize.”
Scouts all over the world have the goal to be agents of change in their communities. At the Closing Show, before the finale dazzled the crowd with music, a laser show, pyrotechnics and fireworks, Ban Ki-Moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, addressed the Scouts, charging them to be global citizens, advocating for peace and sustainability, and not to just settle for being leaders in their home countries.
“In the last 112 years, a Scouting program has been adopted in nearly every nation on Earth,” he says. “Tomorrow’s leaders are built through Scouting and the values it instills.”
The next World Scout Jamboree is scheduled for 2023 in Saemangeum, South Korea.
Scout leaders have been sharing photos from their time at the World Scout Jamboree, including from those who visited the Summit for the day. Take a look and also check out more photos and videos on the Boy Scouts of America Flickr page.