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Scouts Celebrate 100th Anniversary


Scouts from all over the world have descended on Britain to celebrate the 100th anniversary (August 1st) of the scouting movement. At the 21st Jamboree in the British town of Chelmsford, 40 thousand scouts created their own town made entirely of tents for 12 days of adventure and friendship. Paul Burge reports for VOA News.

Scouting communities from 216 countries and territories have pitched their tents at the World Jamboree in southeast Britain to celebrate a century of scouting around the globe.

Forty thousand scouts from all corners of the world are bringing what has become a global movement back home to Britain, where Robert Baden-Powell first began scouting for boys in 1907.

The Jamboree in Chelmsford is designed to promote the values, benefits and achievements of the scouting community. It is also an opportunity for the scouts to learn from each other's different backgrounds and cultures.

Bill Cockroft is the Jamboree's director. "They have to live with scouts from all over the world, they have to work with scouts from all over the world,” he says. “They learn about global issues, we've got a lot of non-governmental organizations here and they learn about all the issues and challenges facing the world, from global warming to AIDS."

Based on his military experience, Robert Baden-Powell created the first scouting group as a social experiment. It all began at a camp on Brownsea Island in the south of Britain where he brought together 20 boys from different backgrounds and taught them basic survival and team-building skills.

The experience formed the basis of the modern-day Scouting movement, which now numbers more than 28 million scouts in all but six of the world's countries.

Mario Sica, who has written extensively about Robert Baden-Powell, says today's message has not changed. "Strengthening what he had dedicated his life to -- the second part of his life to -- and that is the education, the training of the citizens of the world towards mutual understanding and peace."

But scouting skills have come a long way since the early days of tent pitching, using a map and compass and wood-fire cooking. Today's 21st century scouts learn skills that reflect Robert Baden-Powell's original mission to encourage young people to volunteer to support others and to spread goodwill.

At the Centenary Jamboree that means learning about current global issues like the environment, health and poverty, as well as music, dance and more traditional scouting skills.

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