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August 10, 2023

TT Scouts brave heatwave at Jamboree in South Korea

‘Be Prepared’ is the motto for the Scout Movement. This was tested as the T&T Scout contingent braved the heatwave conditions at the campsite in SaeManGeum in the Republic of Korea at the 35th World Scout Jamboree, then they had to be relocated on Monday, August 7 because of the impending Typhoon Khanun. The Jamboree was scheduled for August 1-12 and had as its theme Draw Your Dream. The event attracted an estimated 40,000 youths from 158 countries.

National Scout Commissioner Mark Ainsely John on the Scout Association of Trinidad and Tobago Facebook page stated Monday: “Mother Nature has prescribed for us a change of venue to continue our Jamboree in a different location. We are safe and secure with the management and assistance of the Government of South Korea and the World Organization of the Scout Movement – WOSM and 25th World Scout Jamboree 2023 management team.”   The local contingent comprises 23 young people including two females and seven leaders.  When The Catholic News contacted John after 8 a.m. local time Tuesday, the group was en route to the new site. He stated in a WhatsApp text, “It’s been quite an adventure for us”.

The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) got confirmation from the Korean Government of the expected impact of Typhoon Khanun and the planned early departure for all participants from the campsite. The government evacuated more than 30,000 via bus from the campsite to the capital Seoul. They were to be relocated to administrative and private educational facilities.  The local group got to the university they were to be housed close to midnight South Korea time.

A heatwave prompted the early departure from the campsite of Scout contingents from Canada, United States, England and Singapore. Hundreds of youths between the ages of 14 and 18 fell ill requiring medical treatment.  A K-Pop (Korean Pop) concert scheduled for Saturday, August 5 was postponed. Apart from the heat, there were reports of complaints about sanitation and the food.

Organisers responded supplying cooling buses, refrigerator trucks, additional bottled water and distributing cooling masks, hats, sunscreen, ice packs and salt pills. Some events were suspended.

Despite the issues which arose, the local group earned a Jamboree Challenge badge on Friday, August 4 after participating in an obstacle course which tests the mental and physical development of the scouts.

John told The Catholic News via email: “The controversy surrounding the jamboree was significantly reduced with the celebration of Culture Day today Sunday, August 6 at the SaeManGeum campsite…. Despite the departure of the United Kingdom and the United States of America contingents off the jamboree site, the mood of the participants still remained very positive”.

Countries at the campsite presented aspects of their culture.  John said, “These ranged from traditional clothing, traditional dances, phrases and words from their language and snacks and food. The Trinidad and Tobago contingent played Soca and Calypso music for the crowds …” The Scouts shared snacks—red mango and other preserved fruit with visitors and samples of East Indian delicacies such as khurma, barfi, and amchar and chutney products.  John said, “To quench their thirst, we also provided sorrel and mauby.” He commented that as word spread about the T&T fare, “queues of visitors came to question the young men about the food and culture of Trinidad and Tobago. They handled the questioning admirably and proved themselves worthy ambassadors of the nation”.

According to the World Organization of the Scout Movement website, the World Jamboree brings together tens of thousands of Scouts from around the world to camp outdoors and join in fun activities. “They make new friends, learn about other cultures, and develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime”.

The Jamboree is held every four years.