Hugo is pictured, right, with his Liechtenstein friend. Both swapped their neckerchiefs
Hugo Christopher Smith was among 200 Luxembourg Scouts to attend the 24th edition of the World Scout Jamboree, in Charlotte (West Virginia).
Some 45,000 Guides and Scouts from 150 different nationalities gathered for the event, from 22 July to 2 August. It was a unique experience based on the theme ‘Unlock a New World’.
Hosted by the ‘Dream Team’ (representative scout organisations from Mexico, Canada, and the USA) at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, the Jamboree spanned thousands of acres of land to ensure the young Scouts had the best experience possible.
“It resembled a Schueberfouer and a music festival combined together,” Smith told Delano. “There were many activities for everyone to take part in with additional cultural awareness, religions and environment from around the world one would not have back home.”
This year, the 19-year-old went to the USA for the first time to join the Jamboree as a member of the International Service Team (IST) and was assigned to the extreme sports team, more specifically the BMX bikes section. Smith had already a lot of experience with Scout summer camps due to his 12 years with LGS Schetzel Niederanven, including 2 years as the leader of the AVEX age group (aged 11-14).
Yet, he claims that nothing could have prepared him for the scale of the Jamboree. “Before departing to America, I assumed that the Jamboree would be like the past international camps. However, I quickly realised that it rose way beyond my expectations, not just the scale, but also in the way that cultures worked together throughout the 12 days.”
In fact, Smith had the chance to “unlock a new world” for himself where he not only learned to ride a BMX bike but also become an instructor, enjoy various other activities and, more importantly, leave his shyness behind to bond with Scouts from all over the world. “I am naturally shy, but at the Jamboree I felt comfortable meeting and talking to new people who shared a passion in Scouting. In meeting new people, I discovered more about their cultures and traditions.” As souvenirs from his experience, Smith brought back a T-shirt signed by the members of the BMX crew and neckerchiefs he had swapped with scouts from Lichtenstein and Argentina.
Smith returned to Luxembourg last weekend with a first group of Luxembourgish Scouts, while the others extended their trip to visit other American cities. During the Jamboree, participants received a Novus device to facilitate the exchange of social media contact. This allowed Smith to easily stay in touch with the people he grew close to. “Over the 10 days, we had soon grown into a large family.”
Since he came back, Smith has already been convincing friends that did not make the Jamboree this year to go together for the 25th edition in Korea in 2023.
The Jamboree is an official event of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), which is held every four years. It refers to itself as an “educational event that brings together the world’s young people to promote peace and mutual understanding and to develop leadership and life skills.” The first ever World Scout Jamboree was organised in London in 1920 and gathered scouts from 34 countries.