The World Jamboree offers numerous activities, and while fun is the goal, each activity is designed to challenge Scouts in various ways; physically, mentally, socially. It could be as simple as having a conversation with someone who speaks a different language, solving puzzles and connecting clues in an escape room, or completing the obstacle course at the waterfront. All Scouts have their own set of strengths and weaknesses, but are they challenging themselves as much as they could be? Are we challenging them to try something new and encouraging them to try things they may not think they are capable of doing? Some Scouts are taking on that challenge full force. It happens in many ways across all areas. As I wondered around the Jamboree a few things stuck out to me.
Physically: I was up at The Rocks yesterday and one of the climbing instructors shared two stories with me. First: they had a Scout with physical and mental challenges come to the area. They were able to work with him and accommodate for his different abilities. Using another instructor as a counter weight, they helped this Scout navigate the wall as he climbed further and further. This Scout had a goal, and he accomplished that goal. He did not let his differing abilities stop him from trying, nor did the staff. Second: they had a scout who was visually impaired. This challenged both the Scout and the staff in a different way, but in the end the Scout got up the wall. The Scout had to learn about the gear, safety equipment, and ropes in a tactile way, feeling each object to “see” how it all connected and would keep him safe. The staff had to modify the way they taught by thoroughly and thoughtfully explaining how things worked and what they were going to do verbally rather than just pointing or showing.
Mentally: In Faiths and Beliefs I was introduced to a Scout who was raised believing that their religion was the only good religion. This Scout was raised on mis-information, and fear of “other religions.” With the encouragement of the sub camp Chaplain they went down to the Faiths and Believes area to learn more. At first this Scout was hesitant, not sure what to expect or where to start. They started at the area for the religion of this Scout, speaking with people who were there to teach others about it. Those in that area also encouraged this Scout to learn about the other religions as well. As this Scout navigated their way through the various religions, participating in activities as they went this Scout started challenging their own thoughts and preconceived notions about other religions. Whatever lessons this Scout chooses to take home with them is beyond our control, at the very least they pushed themselves and stepped out of their “box,” which is a step in the right direction.
Socially: I have no specific story for this, just my observations. As I have wandered around the Jamboree, I have seen so many Scouts from various countries intermingled in groups. Learning about where others are from, learning how to speak basic words in another language, trying foods from other counties, trading items like neckers, patches, and backpacks. Maybe it is because we are all Scouts and have a common bond, maybe it is that new friend from another country you want to get to know, maybe it is a desire to learn as much as you can. Whatever it is, Scouts are putting down their electronic devices and talking to one another. It warms my heart to see so much intermingling, all the positive vibes, the interconnectedness of it all. It is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, you still have the Scouts who carry pre-conceived notions and stereotypes, an unfortunate part of our society. However, the overwhelming acceptance and willingness to learn about others is tremendous.
These may be “extreme” examples, but so many Scouts each day are challenging themselves in various ways, stepping outside their comfort zone, doing things others may not think they are capable of, or challenging the way they think about the world. This is not just “another jamboree”, it is a World Jamboree. For some, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So, I will ask the question again: Are we challenging Scouts to try something new, do something they have never done before, or encouraging them to try things they may not think they are capable of doing? Are you taking full advantage of all that the Jamboree has to offer?
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