Scouts to see world heritage sites at Asia-Pacific Jamboree
30th March 2012, Sri Lanka -- Young people in colorful shirts, scarves and flags will soon occupy the Jamboree site in Dambulla, Matale district, for the first major regional event this year in the Asia-Pacific – the 29th APR Scout Jamboree from 1st to 6th April 2012.
Known for having the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, the city of Dambulla, in Matale District, central province of Sri Lanka boasts of its major attractions including the largest and best preserved cave temple and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium which is famous for being built in just 167 days. Dambulla is one of the eight declared UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country. Three other ruined cities close to Dambulla are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sirigaya, which participants will also get to see.
Approximately 8,000 Scouts including overseas participants from 23 countries are arriving today. Participating National Scout Organizations (NSOs) are Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Scouts of China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and United Kingdom, with Girl Guides from Maldives.
Chief Scout and President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse is the Guest of Honour opening ceremony.
This is the first time that Sri Lanka Scouts Association is hosting an international event of this magnitude, which necessitated much preparation. The venue is a 16-acre site bordering the beautiful Kandalama tank where 5 sub-camps (4 sub-camps for male, 1 sub-camp for female) will be set up, equipped with sanitary facilities and washing areas for each sub-camp.
All other facilities like supermarket, cafeteria, cyber café, telephone facilities, souvenir shops and other service-related outlets have been set up for the campers’ convenience.
More than 80 overseas Scouts from 11 countries serving as ISTs will join forces with the locals to support the Jamboree. They are in the special IST hub, one kilometer away from the main site, and will be shuttled by bus.
An interesting range of activities has been laid out for Scouts to develop different skills. It can be in the form of small groups or in patrols where they can learn to cooperate and practice their leadership skills. Camping, hiking, archery, horse riding, obstacle course, environmental activities are parts of the programme. Upon completion of the required modules, a Scout will qualify to receive Jamboree Award.
Apart from the modular activities, different international meetings and gatherings will take place coinciding with the jamboree such as APES and ATAS Gathering, APR Programme and Management Sub-Committee meetings and the NSOs Briefing to be attended by about 40 key leaders from 15 NSOs, mostly Chief Commissioners and International Commissioners.
One good place to visit is the APR Village where one can see cultures and traditions of participating NSOs. Main attraction of the village is the APR Centre where participants will be able to appreciate the global dimensions of Scouting.
The history of Scouting will be depicted at the arena, also featuring the best of Sri Lanka as a country, where young people and leaders from around the world can learn something about their culture. During the International Night on 3rd April, NSOs will share something about their cultures too.
A special Messengers of Peace project will be implemented during the Jamboree where 100 Scouts from the two ethnic groups: Singhalese and Tamil will gather together.
To celebrate this year’s Earth Hour, on Saturday, 31st March, the Jamboree will switch off lights and gather Scouts and leaders at the main arena to challenge and inspire friends, family, colleagues and even communities to practice greener lives everyday.
As Scouts arrive, the excitement is getting higher and higher, proving that the Jamboree camp is indeed a big playground where Scouts around the world can enjoy an adventure of a lifetime.