I wanted to finish this little series of posts by talking about what I learned while away at the 2015 World Scout Jamboree in Japan. This could be the toughest one to properly talk about because they say, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Granted I am neither particularly old nor a dog, but there were days, let me tell you.
To better understand some of the learnings, let me break down the actual trip into its major component parts:
- Days 1 – 4 Travel and a pre-camp in Hong Kong
- Day 5 Travel from Hong Kong to Fukuoka Japan (and jamboree site)
- Days 6 – 16 World Scout Jamboree
- Days 17 – 19 Home stay with local Tokyo family and travel home
So, here are some of my learnings:
People are all basically the same
This may be a “well duh” comment but, until I had the chance to see different cultures in their native environments it wasn’t something I could speak to with any certainty.
Essentially, everyone wants the same things: a safe place to live, food to eat, a job to work and people to care about (and be cared about). At the end of the day it really is that simple. Where they live and what they eat are inconsequential. The job worked is a reason for being (regardless of what it is). Loving and being loved underscore our existence.
This underscores why I feel Scouting is so important. Not everyone has access to these things. Scouting is a movement that brings many different cultures together to help others achieve these end-goals.
Culture, Race, Creed Should Be Irrelevant to Achieving the Above
I didn’t see or experience any culture at the jamboree that would lead me to believe that the previously mentioned goals are not all important. I did witness an incredible outpouring of energy and commitment from every single participant to pursue Scouting ideals all of which promote those very goals.
There were 143 countries represented at the jamboree. 34,000 youth and 8,400 service personnel from all over the planet. Each and every one of those people bought into the mission that is Scouting and making this world a better place. It simply didn’t matter where those people were from, their cultures, religions or race. We all were united to a single cause under a single banner.
One Person can Change the World
Lord Baden-Powell is credited as the father of Scouting. Granted, he built on what came before and had people work with him to make the dream a reality, but he is the focal point for the movement. There are current over 3,000,000 Scouts world-wide. Lord Baden-Powell started it only 107 years ago in Gilwell Park, England. He has left an amazing legacy that, I hope, will continue to grow.
The World Really isn’t that big a Place
I’ve heard it said many times that our Earth is just a tiny blue planet in the infinite void of space. That may be true, but the claims that our planet is small and getting smaller didn’t really resonate.
At least, not until the jamboree.
That’s when I realized that it isn’t really about size at all. It’s more about communications and the ability to reach our fellow humans. I can email friends in Japan in the blink of an eye. We can hold a conversation a world apart without any discernible lag in time.
That is what makes our planet small. That is what makes our planet vulnerable and ultimately, that is what will make our planet great. We, as a fellowship of humanity, need to understand that what we do has consequences for everyone. When we truly understand that we can be great. Let’s all try to reach that understanding.
So you see, I had a few things learned. Nothing that was new but everything that was solidified. It was the difference between knowing and understanding. The understanding (and I am still working on it) enriches my life every day. It helps me to know myself and my own community better. It teaches me that I have a bigger role to fill in the world.