Celebrating culture at the World Scout Jamboree

Last week, Scouts at the World Scout Jamboree took a break from the high adventure activities that the Summit Bechtel Reserve offers to share what they love about their home countries with their fellow campers.

Games, food, dances, traditions — they were all available for Scouts to enjoy as they ventured from their campsites to neighboring sites. English Scouts served biscuits and tea; Italian Scouts cooked pasta; Japanese Scouts made origami, and some American Scouts shared how to play this country’s pastime: baseball.

For those who wanted to cook, Scouts shopped at the food markets that are available at the base camps. During the two weeks of the Jamboree, these shops are equipped to accommodate millions of meals.

As a side note, let’s look at the totals of food available across all these markets:

  • 774,345 bread products (sliced bread, bagels, tortillas, hamburger buns, etc.)
  • 190,000 boxes of cereal
  • 19,000 half-gallons of milk
  • 20 tons of rice
  • 92,000 Rice Krispy Treats
  • 415,120 eggs
  • 3 tons of American cheese slices
  • 1 ton of goat cheese
  • 1 ton of Brie cheese
  • 98,000 tomatoes
  • 4,476 gallons of marinara sauce
  • 15,000 onions
  • 120,000 apples
  • 4,000 gallons of apple juice
  • 82,416 cups of apple sauce
  • 39,312 individual apple pies

That’s plenty to work with to create some delicious dishes to share.

Live from the Jamboree

We reported via Facebook Live during this day, checking out the different camps and what they were sharing about their home countries.

In this video below, at the 2:40 mark, I play Sjoelen at a Dutch camp. Six minutes into the livestream, I visit a New Jersey troop, playing cards. Skip ahead to the 9-minute mark where I talk with Scouts from Australia and the United Kingdom, sharing how great it is to connect with Scouts from all over the world. At the 16-minute mark, a Japanese Scout writes my name in Japanese. In between these highlights, you can see Scouts playing games and serving tasty dishes from their homeland.

In this livestream, it starts with an impromptu game in a Danish camp. At the 3-minute mark, it’s over to a Belgian campsite for a card game. The rest of the video features patch-trading with a sudden musical appearance.

This livestream below starts with a lesson on Portugal. The Scout leading the lesson told me she wanted to set up a booth to educate others about her country. Nine minutes in, I talk with Scouts from the U.K. about what they’ve liked about the Jamboree. Then, I find some more Scouts trading patches.

Finally, in the last livestream of the day, I walk around the crowd at the AT&T Summit Stadium before the Unity Show.

Unity Show

The day ended with a colorful and insightful show at the AT&T Summit Stadium. A mariachi band played, Scouts shared aspects of their religious beliefs and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake from Sri Lanka delivered an inspiring speech on making a difference. More than 408 million youth live in conflict-stricken areas around the world, she says. For true, lasting peace, change needs to come from communities, especially young people.

“You don’t have to be Superman or Wonder Woman with a cape,” Wickramanayake says. “A Scout in a neckerchief can change the world.”

Shortly after her speech, the stage transformed in color to symbolize a spiritual campfire, and it spread into the crowd as every camper’s Novus wristbands began glowing orange. These wristbands have been used to digitally connect with others, but they took on a new role for the Unity Show.

Then, the 45,000 Scouts and leaders in the crowd were treated to a surprise concert by Broadway performers, singing Disney songs from Tarzan, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Frozen. “Let It Go” was a crowd favorite, for sure, as the Novus wristbands lit up again in blue and white.

The World Scout Jamboree wraps up this week. Watch the Closing Show tonight at 8 p.m. EST here.

About Michael Freeman 118 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.