It may sound cliché, but I cannot help saying that we always return different from a World Jamboree.
If nothing else, the simple fact of spending fifteen days camped in Rinkaby-Sweden with 39,000 other Scouts from around the world, thinking and living the Scout Movement 24 hours a day, would be a remarkable experience. Such experience can make us able to become more tolerant, concerned about the world we live in and dedicated to the education of children and youth who make up the Scout Movement.
However, I was awarded an unexpected and very rewarding job: Operation One World. This operation, which is triggered in all World Jamborees aims to take young people and adults who would have no financial condition to participate of this, which is the most important event of the Scout Movement. In some cases (several of them, so we heard) with all expenses paid.
For the 22th World Jamboree 250 young people were chosen from several countries of all continents, all cultures, races and creeds, demonstrating that the Movement has no boundaries or barriers. Some of them were the first in their cities or states to travel abroad, leaving them with an even greater responsibility to their communities.
These young people were able to experience each of the special activities and unforgettable moments of the World Jamboree thanks to the sponsorship of individuals, companies and entities. This, therefore, from the quota of the World Jamboree, only 2% is allocated to the Operation One World.
This unique opportunity provided by those who believe they can make the world a little better, collaborating with those who have little or nothing, depended a bit on our help.
We were responsible for assembling and distributing the complete camping kit delivered by one of the sponsors. Once this preliminary task was done, we began to visiting them regularly, usually twice a day to see how they were, if the respect and the organization were present in the field, if there were no relationship problems (In a Operation One World Troop there were 40 people from nine countries and two different languages) and to help them solving small problems of structure, organization and daily routines.
But my feeling was that rather than serving as a beacon to them, we were gaining a lot in this World Jamboree. We have learned from their life experiences and their expectations of the Scout Movement. We grew a little more each day as our friendship grew stronger. We had breakfast together, share some of the daily activities of the subfield, we live the previous expectation and success of Camp in Camp.
When it came the departure time, while they were dismantling the tents to return to their homes and to their communities, we were there to help them get organized, to carry heavy backpacks and equipment, and at the very last moment, for a fraternal hug, a true smile and a hurt goodbye, from those who will certainly be apart.
No one likes goodbyes. Especially when day by day living is based on the Scouts principles. But at that moment, between the sadness of departing and the joy of the moments lived together, we were sure to have participated of the lives of those young ones at a so special time that we would be remembered for the rest of their lives. For the rest of our lives!
We always return different from a Jamboree, but taking part of the Operation One World was such an experience that made us sure that every effort to get there was worth it.