The world is wonderfully diverse—in language, customs, religion, culture, and so much more. We all have many of the same values, notwithstanding our gender, race, or personal preferences. We must treat everyone with the same values and attitudes that we wish to be treated with. We have come to the Jamboree to enjoy and share in this richness. What makes us different makes us special.
But differences can also cause confusion, misunderstandings, and even discomfort. What is normal for you may not be acceptable in another culture and you too may be surprised by the practices of other Scouts. It is important to remember that we share this space and that we all must treat our neighbors with both respect and forgiveness. As Scouts, we do not mean to offend others. Accidents and mistakes happen, but sometimes people just do things differently than you. That is OK and is a learning opportunity for everyone.
Feeling Uncomfortable or Threatened
If you feel uncomfortable, we hope you will say something. Perhaps your unit leader or a Listening Ear IST could help. Perhaps you are able to tell the person how their actions make you feel.
Being placed in an uncomfortable situation will likely be the result of an accident or misunderstanding. It may also represent something that is unique to the cultural practices or personal identity of another Scout. These practices may be different than your own experience.
No matter what, you should always feel safe. You should never feel targeted, harassed, or threatened. Speak to an adult if you feel that your discomfort was intentional. We are here to help you have a safe and rewarding Jamboree experience. Moreover, always remember that younger Scouts are looking up to you and we must set a good example for all.
What About Relationships?
When many people gather from all over the world, it sometimes happens that you find a person that you like very much. Please remember that we are from many cultures and not every culture has the same approach to relationships. It is important that we work hard not to make others feel uncomfortable and to always talk things out. If you feel concerned about these matters, speak to the Listening Ear IST or your adult leaders. We are here to help.
My International Neighbors
Cultural differences are a constant opportunity to learn, practice tolerance, and share mutual respect and understanding. How lucky we are to have the chance to meet new people and engage with new ideas. These interactions are exciting and it is the best part of the Jamboree! At home, our neighbors often speak the same language, eat the same types of food, and enjoy similar traditions. At the World Scout Jamboree, you do not have to travel far to experience new adventures—wonderful new experiences are right in your own campsite! Invite others to dine with you. Make new friends. Exchange information. Take a photo together!