The International Service Team makes the World Scout Jamboree work

How do you prepare for 29,000 Scouts from 150 different countries?

I quickly found out.

I arrived in Sweden on Monday to serve on the International Service Team at the 22nd World Scout Jamboree. About 5,000 of us have been preparing the past two days for an unforgettable 10-day experience. Our task? Welcoming the world.

In all, almost 40,000 Scouts and Scouters from around the world have arrived in this lush farmland in Southern Sweden. That makes this the largest world jamboree ever, organizers said.

The jamboree hasn’t officially started yet, but I’m already enjoying the “world” part of this event.

I’ve heard dozens of different languages (most I didn’t recognize), tried food from other countries (see below), and talked with people from Sweden, Denmark, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Egypt and more. And that’s all in the first two days.

The jamboree officially starts at tomorrow night’s opening ceremony at the arena.

But last night, the IST staff had a special ceremony of our own.

As you’ll see in the photo here, we gathered for a celebration that included inspirational speeches (“make sure every participant has the time of their life”), video montages, and live music. And, yes, ABBA was on the setlist. This is Sweden, after all.

This morning, it was off to our jobs. We didn’t know our tasks until we got here, but I think I lucked out with mine. I’m in the Quest area, which is all about activity, team-building, and fun. Works for me!

My specific job puts me in a Viking-themed section. I’ll post more about it once we’re up and running, but I think the participants will love it. I will say that my hands are sore and calloused from using a saw and drill all day. No wonder the Vikings have a reputation for toughness.

Well, it’s off to bed for me. Another long day awaits tomorrow. Check back here for my updates from Sweden!

Random thoughts

Weather: It’s been warm during the day — though not as hot as the Texas weather I left behind. The highs so far have reached 85 degrees. But at night it gets down to the 50s.

Sunset: It doesn’t happen until after 9:30 p.m. Makes sense because we’re at about 56 degrees north latitude. For comparison, Juneau, Alaska, is at 58 degrees north latitude.

Food: I tried some poffertjes, which are the small Dutch pancakes you see here. Pancakes with powdered sugar and butter? I’m sold.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.