History of the World Scout Jamboree
Scouting’s Founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell planned to hold a special event to bring together Scouts of all nationalities, and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the camp on Brownsea Island.
Due to the First World War, where many Scouts were killed, the first international gathering of Scouts was held in 1920. This, the first Jamboree, was held at London’s Olympia for 8,000 Scouts from 34 Countries.
Jamboree is now an international term used to describe a large gathering of Scouts. Since 1920, World Scout Jamborees have been held almost every four years, except during the Second World War, and hosted all over the world.
1st World Scout Jamboree – 1920
Olympia, London, England, 1920. 8,000 Scouts from 34 countries represented at the roll call. The location was a huge glass-roofed building covering six acres. The concrete floor had to be covered with earth for competitions. Some non-Scout participants: an alligator from Florida, a baby crocodile from Jamaica, a lioness cub from Rhodesia, monkeys from South Africa, a baby elephant, a camel. Baden-Powell acclaimed the Chief Scout of the World. He said, "If it be your will, let us go forth from here fully determined that we will develop, among ourselves and our boys, a commradeship through the worldwide spirit of the Scout brotherhood, so that we may help to develop peace and happiness in the world and goodwill among men."
2nd World Scout Jamboree – 1924
Ermelunden, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1924. Innovations: a week's home hospitality for Scouts after the event; the World Scout Championship. Problems: too many visitors and a deluge! B-P named "Bademester" (Danish for "bathing master"). 4,549 wet Scouts accommodated by the public for a night. Awards for different contests distributed by B-P at Copenhagen Stadium. This Jamboree showed that Scouting was not just a game, but that it made a significant contribution towards education in world citizenship.
3rd World Scout Jamboree – 1929
Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, England, 1929. The coming of age Jamboree celebrating Scouting's 21st anniversary. 69 countries represented by 50,000 Scouts (320,000 visitors!). B-P blew the kudu horn at the opening. The first Scout Promise. B-P became Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell. Also the "Jamboree of Mud". A golden arrow and a hatchet were buried. Gilded wooden arrows were presented to national contingents. B-P said, "Now I send you forth to your homeland bearing the sign of peace, goodwill and fellowship to all your fellow men. From now on the symbol of peace and goodwill is a golden arrow. Carry that arrow on and on, so that all may know of the brotherhood of men."
4th World Scout Jamboree – 1933
Gödöllö, Hungary, 1933. 25,792 Scouts in camp. The Jamboree daily paper was printed in Hungarian, English, French and German, with contributions in other languages. The unofficial language was "Jamboreese", which consisted mostly of signs emphasized by a happy smile. Each foreign contingent was provided with a "cousin", a local Scout who could help them with the Hungarian language. Air Scouts participated for the first time. First issue of commemorative Scout stamps. The Jamboree badge: the white stag of Hungary. "You may look on that white stag as the pure spirit of Scouting, springing forward and upward, ever leading you onward and upward, to leap over difficulties, to face new adventures."(B-P)
5th World Scout Jamboree – 1937
Vogelensang-Bloemendaal, Netherlands, 1937. A total of 28,750 Scouts from 54 countries. Daily displays in the arena. Girl Guides used the arena to welcome Lady Baden-Powell, World Chief Guide. The cleanest Jamboree yet: 120 showers and 650 water taps. 71 bridges over the canals that intersected the site. B-P was eighty years old. On presenting the Jamboree emblem, a Jacob staff, B-P said, "Now the time has come for me to say good-bye. I want you to lead happy lives. You know that many of us will never meet again in this world."
6th World Scout Jamboree – 1947
Jamboree of Peace", Moisson, France, 1947. 24,152 Scouts were present. Ten years since the last Jamboree, and B-P had died in 1941. Loudspeakers were an unpleasant innovation of the time. Indian Scouts celebrated their country's independence. "Challenges" were part of the programme. The final march, in the formation of a Carrick Bend (the symbol of the Jamboree). At the opening ceremony Scouts marched in by countries; at the closing ceremony each sub-camp formed the unit, and bore at its head the many flags and banners of the Scouts of all the countries represented in the sub-camp.
7th World Scout Jamboree – 1951
Salzkammergut, Bad Ischl, Austria, 1951. 12,884 Scouts were present. Simplicity was the keynote of the Jamboree. Seven towers were erected, each recalling a previous Jamboree. As the name of each was announced, a flag was hoisted on one of the towers and the song of that Jamboree sung. It was the first time that German Scouts were able to take part in a World Scout Jamboree as full members of the World Organization. One Scout attended from Japan. He knew no language other than his own and the word "Jamboree", yet he made the journey with no problem. The sight of Scouts waving the welcome flags at the airport told him that he had arrived at the right place.
8th World Scout Jamboree – 1955
The Jamboree of New Horizons, Niagara on the Lake, Canada, 1955. The first World Scout Jamboree and first international Scout gathering to be held outside of Europe. Total of 11,139 participants from 71 countries present. Many firsts: all cooking done over charcoal; television came to a World Scout Jamboree; so did Hurricane Connie! Unusual arrivals were two whaling boats which were sailed up the river from Montreal through the Rideau Canal and across Lake Ontario; three Brazilian Scouts arrived by jeep; New Zealand Scouts who left home four months before the Jamboree started and travelled over 45,000 Km (30,000 miles). The greatest impact: Canadian hospitality.
9th World Scout Jamboree – 1957
Sutton Park, England, 1957. The Jubilee Jamboree celebrating Scouting's 50th anniversary. Over 30,000 Scouts from 80 countries were present. First to incorporate a Rover Moot and an Indaba. The year of B-P's centenary. An amateur radio station operated from camp. A Scout from Pakistan hiked all the way. There was a 24-page camp newspaper, "Jubilee Journal". And then, traditonally one might say, there was the night of the great storm - "Jamborain". An obelisk was erected at Sutton Park to commemorate this anniversary of Scouting.
10th World Scout Jamboree – 1959
Mt. Makiling, Philippines, 1959. The first World Scout Jamboree in the Far East. 12,203 Scouts from 44 countries present. Theme: "Building Tomorrow Today". Half a million visitors in one day. "The Bamboo Jamboree", a nipa palm and Bamboo City. The meeting of Occident and Orient; a revelation to both. The Filipino smile was unforgettable. In view of weather conditions at previous Jamborees, French Scouts, well prepared for all contingencies, marched past giving a splash of colour in yellow raincoats. A World Scout Jamboree is not really the arena shows or campfires. The real Jamboree takes place in the hearts of Scouts from many lands.
11th World Scout Jamboree – 1963
Marathon, Greece, 1963. 14,000 participants. Theme: "Higher and Wider". The Greek Crown Prince and Chief Scout opened the Jamboree. Classical history came to life: the Marathon runner, the labours of Hercules, the triathlon. Tragedy struck the Philippines' contingent which perished in an air crash. Jamboree flags were lowered in commemoration. At the closing, the Marathon torch was handed to an American Scout to be rekindled at the opening of the Twelfth World Scout Jamboree.
12th World Scout Jamboree – 1967
Farragut State Park, Idaho, U.S.A., 1967. The second World Scout Jamboree in North America. 12,011 participants from 105 countries. Theme: "For Friendship". Arena shows, Skill-o-Rama, adventure trail, water activities on Lake Pend Oreille, the thrills and spills of a real Western Rodeo, all amid the splendour of the Rocky Mountains.
13th World Scout Jamboree – 1971
Asagiri Heights, Japan, 1971. 23,758 participants from 87 countries. Theme: "For Understanding". Many varied activities in camp made colourful by oriental decor set against the background of Mount Fuji. Perfect weather at the start and finish, but Jamboree No. 13 is remembered for the typhoon in the middle. Owing to the severe flooding of some sub-camps, 16,000 Scouts had to be evacuated for 48 hours. Excellent emergency plans by the Japanese Scouts and unforgettable hospitality by temporary hosts.
14th World Scout Jamboree – 1975
Lake Mjosa, Lillehammer, Norway, 1975. Popularly named "Nordjamb '75". 17,259 participants from 91 countries were present. Theme: "Five Fingers, One Hand", symbolizing the five joint Nordic hosts and the five world Scout regions in one brotherhood. Hiking in the mountains in international patrols, activity areas, Nordic trail, superb choir, visit to Maihaugen Cultural Museum, and all the fun at the Jamboree Country Fair. H.M. the King of Norway opened the Jamboree, which was also visited by H.M. the King of Sweden and H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Morocco.
World Scout Jamboree YEAR – 1979
The world is the place and the time is the whole year of 1979. Instead of one Jamboree, the World Organization announced the "World Scout Jamboree Year" in order to multiply by thousands the spirit of a Jamboree by holding several World Scout Jamboree Year camps and countless Join-in-Jamboree activities all over the world. The Join-in-Jamboree symbol represented the waves of friendship that rise from international gatherings of Scouts and flow around the world spreading the spirit of the Scout brotherhood. The Fifteenth World Scout Jamboree, scheduled for 1979 in Iran, was postponed.
15th World Scout Jamboree – 1983
Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada, 1983. On the slopes of the great Rocky Mountains near Calgary, 14,752 Scouts gathered in Kananaskis Country. Theme: "The Spirit Lives On". The Jamboree marked the closing of celebrations for the 75th Anniversary of the Scout Movement, and the 125th birthday of its Founder, Lord Baden-Powell. Jamboree activities took full advantage of the rugged mountains and the excitement of the Wild West.
16th World Scout Jamboree – 1987-1988
Cataract Scout Park, New South Wales, Australia, January, 1988. 14,434 participants from 84 countries present. Theme: "Bringing the World Together". First World Scout Jamboree held in the Southern Hemisphere. First official event of the Australian Bicentennial celebrations. Highlights: Challenge Valley obstacle course, the most gruelling and the most popular activity at the Jamboree; the Great Aussie Surf Carnival, for which all Scouts were shuttled in over 50 buses to Thirroul Beach.
17th World Scout Jamboree – 1991
Mt. Sorak National Park, Korea, 1991. Almost 20,000 participants, representing 135 countries and territories, made it the largest representation in World Scout Jamboree history. Theme: "Many Lands, One World". Scouts from Czechoslovakia and Hungary participated as members of the World Scout Movement for the first time since 1947. Contingents from places where Scouting is restarting or starting were also there: Bulgaria, Byelorussia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. First Global Development Village in programme. The Jamboree was visited by Korean President Roh Taw-woo, H.M. the King of Sweden and H.R.H. Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco.
18th World Scout Jamboree – 1995
Flevoland (Holland), the Netherlands, 1995, 28,960 participants and staff from 166 countries and territories, including 34 countries where Scouting is starting or restarting. This representation of countries is the largest ever. Theme: "Future is Now". Highlights: Jamboree Friendship Award, Inter-religious ceremony on violence and peace, 2nd Global Development Village (GDV) with the support of Scout associations, NGOs and UN specialized agencies, in particular UNHCR and UNICEF. Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations by a Scout Forum and communication by satellite with UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The event was officially opened by H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her husband Prince Claus. The Jamboree was visited by H.M. the King of Sweden, Princess Basma of Jordan and Mrs. Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who inaugurated the Global Development Village.
19th World Scout Jamboree – 1998-1999
Picarquin, Chile, 1998-99. The Andean foothills served as a backdrop for the first World Scout Jamboree ever held in Latin America, and the last Jamboree of the century. It was officially opened by Chilean President Eduardo Frei. 31,000 Scouts, leaders and staff from 157 countries and territories attended. The theme "Building Peace Together" was reinforced by the 3rd Global Development Village which was bigger and better than ever with the involvement of 11 United Nations agencies, and by the signing of an anti-personnel land mine agreement between Handicap International and World Scouting. This was a Jamboree that emphasized the education of Scouts about the world and its problems and it demonstrated how Scouts can and do make a difference.
Operation Los Andes, with contributions from many contingents, made possible the Jamboree participation of 56 countries and territories. For the first time, Amerindian Scouts from Latin America participated in a Jamboree, through help from UNESCO.
20th World Scout Jamboree – 2002-2003
The 20th World Scout Jamboree in Thailand was the focus of our Movement from 28 December to 7 January, 2003. More than 24,000 Scouts - girls and boys, leaders and staff from 147 countries and territories attended the sea-side event, living together under the theme Share our World, Share our Cultures. A very busy programme of activities offered lots of fun, opportunities to develop new skills, make new friends, and to help people in nearby communities.
A large Global Development Village (GDV) run by 50 organizations provided the forum to learn about issues around the world. UNESCO Director General, Koichiro Matsuura, inaugurated the GDV. Other highlights included the Crossroads of Cultures, Face the Waves, Our Heritage, Exploring Nature, City of Science, Community Action Day, and Tournaments. A record number of 12 religions conducted services during this holiday period, and nearly 80 percent of the participants attended the Inter-religious service on the 1st of January.
Operation Sattahip helped fund the participation of 247 Scouts from 93 developing countries, thanks to money contributed by the Jamboree fees, and several Scout associations.
21st World Scout Jamboree – 2007
The 21st World Scout Jamboree marked the Centenary of Scouting, with 37,868 Scouts attending from 162 countries and territories. For further information, please click here.