The Korea Scout Association (KSA) will host the 25th World Scout Jamboree in 2023. Image used under Creative Commons licensing from World Scouting.

The Bigger Picture

Kent Clayburn is the Director of Operations on the Host team of our upcoming Jamboree. He has been working the last seven years to turn this Jamboree into a reality. He has also recently resumed the position of BSA International Commissioner. We talked with him to take a look at how this summer’s Jamboree fits into a larger framework of BSA International Scouting programing.

This summer will be Kent Clayburn’s seventh World Jamboree and seventeenth Jamboree in total. While for many of us, it seems that the Jamboree is taking forever to finally arrive, for Kent this is but the last stretch of seven years of Jamboree planning. What’s motivated him to continue with this one project for so long? Kent, like everyone else who has been to a World Jamboree, realizes the power of an international scouting experience. “My Jamboree moment,” he says, was when he first went to the 1973 National Jamboree. “I didn’t have two nickels to rub together but there I realized that scouting might be bigger than Troop 12 in California.” It is perhaps too often repeated that this effect is even greater at a World Jamboree. “When you go to the first arena show in a World Jamboree,” Kent explains, “the colors [of uniforms] seem to be segmented. The Yellows and the Greens and the Blues. But by the end you’re not sitting with people from your group. It’s more of an impressionist painting. Different swaths of colors blend together.” That is a powerful way to expand one’s world.

And yet the Jamboree is just a brief few weeks. After that impressionistic closing show, the Jamboree will come to an end, leaving many of us wondering how we can continue to engage with international scouting. Not to mention, many of our scout friends back home may have missed the Jamboree altogether. They won’t have been exposed yet to this important side of scouting. “If a scout has an international experience, they don’t leave [the program]” says Kent, “The challenge we have is to expose more youth to it.”

How do we do this?

“There are things that a local unit and a local International Representative can drive to create an international experience which can impact more kids without the thousands of dollars.”

The first and easiest answer is to look to future international scouting events. Eurojam and JamCam, European and Interamerican Jamborees respectively, are coming up in 2020 and the World Moot in Ireland and the Interamerican Moot in Argentina are coming in 2021 to give but a few examples. The International department is already busy preparing to form contingents for these events (more information can be found at scouting.org/international). Many of these events are also built to accommodate patrol-registration to make it easier for you to attend with your whole patrol from home.

Unfortunately, this can be expensive and is out of the question for many of us. Yet international scouting doesn’t have to depend upon the sort of funds and fundraising required for a World Jamboree. People often forget that “there are things that a local unit and a local International Representative can drive to create an international experience which can impact more kids without thousands of dollars,” as Kent reminds. For example, many local BSA events regularly attract international scouts. Michigan and Central Florida regularly host International Camporee and Jamborettes. There is a Vietnamese Mini-Jamboree hosted in California. Sam Houston Area Council has hosted an exchange with scouts from the country of Georgia for 25 years and counting.

Not to mention, every October sees the largest World Scouting event, Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet (JOTA/JOTI) connect unimaginable numbers of scouts from all corners of the world. JOTA/JOTI only takes internet connection and/or a HAM radio operator to participate.

It is also easy to find an international scout at your local summer camp. The BSA International Camp Staff program regularly brings scouts from around the world to join local council summer camp staffs. In fact, Kent is hoping that bringing international scouts to this Jamboree will inspire even more international scouts to come to the US both for camp staff and to explore our other High Adventure bases as participants. As is, the Summit has already been chosen to host its second international event, the 2023 JamCam.

Looking the other direction, you can also apply to staff a European scout camp. The BSA regularly sends scouts across Europe for the summer to serve as staff just like one would at home. You can also take your patrol or unit to camp in another country. Scout groups have been known to hike Kilimanjaro or to camp in Germany, Georgia, or Gilwell Park, among many other places. Kandersteg, founded by Baden-Powell himself, is a popular scouting destination in the highlands of Switzerland.

Moreover, the opportunities to incorporate international themes, like global development or the Sustainable Development Goals, into your unit or council planning are limited only by one’s imagination. In the end, a big part of the Jamboree is to inspire scouts to bring back their international experience and share it with others at home.

As we spoke about this with Kent, he told us that one of his biggest focuses now, as International Commissioner, is to build out the international support for local councils, to “bring more assets to local councils and provide more opportunities to individual scouts…. [and] to make international scouting a part of the local program opportunities.” He and the International Department are currently designing new ways to connect local councils with the BSA International Department; the International Committee; and himself, the International Commissioner. “It isn’t evolutionary, it’s revolutionary,” he says. “We need to change our organizational structure to reach more youth and adult leaders. We have to make it easier to get involved, to plan, and to actually execute international experiences on the local level.”

As Kent and the International Department work to build better ways to support international programs at home, he challenges scouts to “bring international flavor to whatever planning organization they’re a part of.”

“A focus is to build out the international support for local councils, to bring more assets to local councils and provide more opportunities to individual scouts…. [and] to make international scouting a part of the local program opportunities.”

Now is the time to engage your patrol, troop, crew, ship, OA chapter or lodge, local VOA, camp staff, or whatever other scout circles you are a part of to branch out and explore what international scouting has to offer.

Not only is this a great way to prepare for the World Jamboree, but it is also helpful to remember that the World Jamboree is only the gateway into a world of international scouting opportunities. Let us know on Facebook what you’re doing, how you’re engaging your unit, etc. and what programs you’ve designed. We’d love to hear from you!

The post was originally posted on March 8, 2019 by

Ben Beese

US Contingent Webmaster

The post was originally posted on March 8, 2019 by

Ben Beese

US Contingent Webmaster

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