You mean they don't get paid for this?
There are over 800 adults from the UK that are part of the International Service Team, Swedish Jamboree management teams and our own contingent teams.
These volunteers ensure that the Jamboree happens by doing hundreds of different jobs from loo cleaning to programme activities; staffing the gates during all hours or escorting the King and Queen of Sweden around the site.
With around 30,000 teenagers on site some of the counselling and support roles can be very emotionally challenging too. All are giving up two or three weeks of holiday and paying money to be there – no wonder non-Scouts really struggle to understand us.
Saying thank you
At the end of my own brief visit I wanted to take time to thank them and learn what they had been getting up to. There is no better place to find them than The Castle, the very impressive UK Food Court (itself run by a team of volunteers from Yorkshire) where many of the UK IST and others have taken to socialise in the evening as it is closed to youth participants after 10pm.
Although it can be hard work, with long hours and sometimes far from ideal living conditions, everybody was in high spirits and drew more than enough satisfaction from seeing the reactions of participants as they developed friendships and confidences over the course of the Jamboree – priceless many said.
The value of a global movement
I don’t hide my frustration with the organisation of the World Organization, the politics of it all and the lack of action but you only have to experience the Jamboree to know what it’s worth it and the immense benefits we offer to our own young people and others across the world.
‘The whole world should be like a Jamboree’ were the words written on a banner outside one of the UK unit’s sites – what better way to sum it all up.