Scouting: Youth in Unity
Md. Saimum Reza Talukder
It was the first World Scout Jamboree at Olympia, UK in 1920 where Baden Powel, the founder of Scout movement said “The Jamboree has taught us that if we exercise mutual forbearance and give and take, then there is sympathy and harmony. If it be your will, let us go forth from here fully determined that we will develop among ourselves and our boys that comradeship, through the world wide spirit of the Scout Brotherhood, so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among men”.
Since then, Jamboree became the great gathering for the Scouts with a view to promoting and strengthening peace, solidarity and cooperation among young people by providing them with the opportunities to be together and engage in various activities fostering friendship and mutual understanding. It was Baden Powel who coined the word “Jamboree” combining the words “Corroboree”, an Australian Aboriginal term for gathering of people, dance or celebration and the English word “Jam” symbolizing boy Scouts' gathering.
Upholding the above value of Jamboree, the 8th National Scout Jamboree was held with the theme “Scouting for Change” from 14 to 22 January at National Scout Training Center, Mouchak, Gazipur. A total of thirteen thousand scout boys and girls including 143 Scouts from India and Nepal attended the Jamboree. For the first time adolescent scouts and street children participated in the Jamboree. The Jamboree was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of People's Republic of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina on 16th January. She expressed her gratitude to the scouts for their voluntary and educational services around the world and urged them to make our country free from hunger by building themselves as qualified leaders. She also promised her government's full support for the proper implementation of Jamboree theme.
This particular Jamboree became the biggest ever congregation in the history of Bangladesh Scouts in terms of number of participants, programmes and facilities provided. The total five square kilometre Jamboree area was divided into five villages which were divided into three sub camps named after different rivers of Bangladesh. Several facilities like bazaars, drinking water, sanitation, medical camp, ATM booth, and fire service etc, were set up in the camp area. A highly expert team consisting of 774 Jamboree Advisors, secretaries, directors, officials, staffs and 358 Rover volunteers worked very hard to run the programme smoothly. Different government ministries, institutions, Police, RAB, Dist. Authority, NGOs and private institutions gave their effort to make the Jamboree a success.
If we fix 12.5 for each letter of the word 'Scouting,' in total it will be 100 point. And if we remove 'SC' from the word 'Scouting,' it will be Outing containing total point 75 which symbolizes that 75% of the Scout activities shall be done outside. So, the participants of the Jamboree stayed in the tents surrounded by the beautiful environment of Shal-Gojari forest of Gazipur district. Despite the cold weather the scouts participating in the Jamboree gave Mouchak area a festive look. Expressing the opinion, Murad from Kishorgonj said that as the Scout motto is “Be Prepared”, they are always ready to serve the nation whether it is cold or hot.
Vishal Kothare from Madhya Pradesh, India was really excited while crossing the 'Tarzan Swing' under the challenge Cross Road. It was a combination of ladder, drum and rope hanging from the tree that is really amazing to cross. According to Vishal, living away from his family in a camp has taught him to become independent, how to make new friends, how to correspond with high officials and how to respect the mates which ultimately made him self confident, courageous and trustworthy.
Indira Ghimire, a Scout Leader from Nepal attended the Jamboree along with her daughter Apekshya and husband Shambhu. She felt that Bangladesh was her second home because of the hospitable nature of the people. Her daughter, Apekshya was so proud of her parents because of their devotion to serve the world by helping the young generation through scout activities.
The most interesting part was the Jamboree Challenges. The activities, which included the Jamboree, were called Challenges. There were 14 different exciting challenges that were conducted at sub-camp basis. All the successful participants of the challenges received stickers which were placed in their Jamboree certificate and a medal. To understand the Jamboree activities, here is a brief outline of the challenges:
1. Blooming: This was the morning challenge for everyday including exercises, march past, aerobics, warm-up.
2. Camp Care: Scouts were expected to decorate the tent area with attractive camp-crafts and keep their camp area neat and clean. This camp craft included maintenance of tents and cookeries, decorating the tents with natural resources, making gadgets (dining table, washing basin, bed, bench) using bamboo and rope etc.
3. Genius: General Knowledge competition.
4. Hike: One of the most adventurous events to discover an unknown destination using tracking sign, compass and a tricky guideline.
5. Global Development Village (GDV): Participants knew about the activities of different government institutions and NGOs at their stalls and they attended several seminars on environment, nature, ICT and health issues.
6. Fun and Learn: Combination of different funny games.
7. Cross road: Obstacle crossing such as rock climbing, commando bridge, crawling, Tarzan swing, hurdles, rafting etc.
8. Social Awareness: Social works such as rally, road re-construction, health education, preparing vegetable garden, health campaign etc.
9. Friends and Neighbours: Wonderful events to make friendship, swapping etc.
10. My Dreams: To share everyone's dreams and thoughts through a talk show in front of special guests and important persons of Bangladesh.
11. Workmanship: Challenge for obtaining Scout Proficiency Badges.
12. Scout Skill: Practicing Scout skills such as Pioneering, First Aid and Estimation.
13. My Vision: Helping the scouts to make decisions about themselves through a career planning.
14. Camp Fire: Performing the items for relaxation and entertainment based on educational and social awareness issues. This is one of the core programmes of any scout camp that keeps the scouts refreshed after the daylong hard work.
Also there were opening and closing ceremony, open night, display centre, open air concert, old scout reunion, President's Scout and Rover Scout reunion, scout leader reunion, Guardians day in the Jamboree programme. The Jamboree ended with the Grand Camp Fire on 22 January night where Education Minister Dr. Nurul Islam Nahid was the Chief Guest.
Explaining the morals of the different challenges, Nurul Islam from Markaz Al Nurah Madrasa, Chittagong said that scouting is fully sophisticated with the teachings of Islam as a scout obeys God, serves country and himself according to the Scout Promise. Kamal Hossain from the Government Blind School Scout Group, Barishal, said he would fight against the corruption by implementing Scout Laws in his locality along with his scout friends. He was carrying the picture of Bir Sreshtho Lance Naik Nur Mohammad Sheikh while expressing his commitment. Brishti from Rangpur opined that the most fruitful challenge was My Dreams where scouts expressed their commitment and put suggestions to make this country a developed nation through different seminars, talk shows in front of Dr. Abdur Razzak, Food and Disaster Management Minister; Advocate Abdul Mannan Khan, Housing and Public Works Minister; Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University; Motiur Rahman, Editor, Daily Prothom Alo. Moreover, Food Minister, Commerce Minister, Agriculture Minister and Information Minister enjoyed the campfire along with the scouts and shared their views.
The visitors to the Jamboree were also amazed to see the spirit, devotion, unity, and solidarity of the scouts. Kaniz Fatema, Scout Leader from Viqarunnisa Noon School brought her students to show scout activities. At the end of the day, her girls were inspired to see girls' successful participation in different Jamboree activities. In the reunion, the old scouts became nostalgic. They were amazed to see that boys and girls cooperating with each other which was almost impossible at their time.
Thus Jamboree Chief and Chief National Commissioner of Bangladesh Scouts Md. Abul Kalam Azad gave all the credit to the young scouts who made this event successful. He said that camping is the best place to learn and implement all the scout skills through Scout method- Learning by doing. Scouting is a rolling stone which breaks all the obstacles, changes the day and brings new hope. And Bangladesh Scouts hope to bring more dimensions in scouting activities including some projects such as Mobile Computer Training Centre, more social development projects for the grassroots people. Being a former scout and Bangladesh's first President's Rover Scout, he firmly believed that 'Jae Din Valo, Ashey Din Aro Valo' (Future days will be better than present good days).
Thus, the Jamboree drew to a close, but everyone has happy memories to look back on, new friends to keep in touch with and the teachings of scout brotherhood in their hearts. The last week had been filled with sunshine, friendship and emergence of new leaders. All those participants can walk away saying not only they have been a part at the 8th National Jamboree, but they also saw the power of scouting to change the society.
(The writer is a Sea Rover and Student of Law, University of Chittagong.)