World Scout Jamboree highlights youth commitment to fixing our planet

More than 45,000 12-to-17-year old scouts gathered at the World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia this week. Three scout organizations — the Boy Scouts of America, Scouts Canada and Asociación de Scouts de México — coordinated the event under the theme “Unlock a New World.”

“Unlock a New World” focuses on building new adventures, cultures and friendships. The theme incorporates conservation, outdoorsmanship, leadership development and global citizenship into its programming.

Earth Day Network representatives attended the jamboree to spread awareness about the environmental movement and provide resources to troop leaders and educators. The jamboree’s theme closely related the themes of Earth Day Network: The first Earth Day in 1970 was organized by a 25-year-old Denis Hayes and relied heavily on the enthusiasm of young people.

Young people will drive change, especially when facing the threat of climate change, said EDN Program and Communications Associate Cam Wejnert-Depue. Joining Earth Day Network was 2Cimple, a tech company that created a smartphone app called Nano that allowed scouts to map their environmental impact through recycling. While many scouts are not yet voting age, their open minds and willingness to work together will lead to a more optimistic future, one that demands global leadership and cooperation to solve humanity’s biggest threat.

One scout troop from Ireland exemplified its commitment to the environment through their individual theme of “Go Green” for the jamboree. At the campgrounds, the Irish contingent set up an interactive booth to educate scouts on pollinators. The tent featured stations to make bee hotels (reused plastic bottles filled with sticks) and flower bombs (mixtures of clay, soil, and flower seeds planted in grass).

“We just hope [everyone who comes to the booth] will go away with a tiny bit of knowledge, and if everyone goes away with a tiny bit of knowledge, then it turns into a whole bank of knowledge,” said one adult leader from the Irish troop.

The jamboree also featured a five-story structure, “Sustainability Treehouse,” to educate scouts on natural resources and their relationship with the environment. The structure is completely energy and water sustainable, featuring wind turbines, solar panels, a geothermal energy supply and a water purification system.

Said one adult leader, speaking to a younger generation of scouts: “It’s your planet. We are passing the custody and stewardship of that onto you… Educate others on how they can look after it so that we can carry on using it in future generations.”