JOTA-JOTI inspires friendship, learning and fun for millions of young people
Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, over a million young people from all over the world connected online and over the airwaves during the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air and Jamboree-on-the-Internet (JOTA-JOTI) this past weekend. Over the course of three days from 16 - 18 October, young people engaged in a series of fun and educational activities geared towards promoting global friendship, solidarity and active citizenship.
After months of limited in-person Scouting activities as a result of the global health crisis, JOTA-JOTI offered young people an opportunity to connect with each other through amateur radio, online chats, virtual dialogues, talent shows, international campfires, and global celebrations. The programme promoted an inclusive experience that stressed the importance of being safe online and respecting others.
The global event was supported by hundreds of highly committed volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly over many months to prepare and deliver an amazing experience for participants. A host of World and Regional Scouting partners also contributed to the event’s success by hosting sessions and joining JOTA-JOTI Live shows as special guests, including Alwaleed Philanthropies, WWF, UN Environment, UNICEF, UNESCO, Wikimedia Foundation and the World’s Largest Lesson.
Online learning during unprecedented times
A specially curated virtual dialogue series enabled Scouts to learn about a diversity of global issues including sustainable development, gender equality, environmental preservation, humanitarian action, peace-building, leadership skills, online safety and more. Importantly, JOTA-JOTI inspired young people to understand the powerful role they can play in shaping their future.
JOTA-JOTI was also an opportunity to celebrate a number of major Scouting milestones such as the impact of the Messengers of Peace initiative over the past 10 years, the 100th anniversary of the World Scout Jamboree, and the ongoing contribution that young people are making through Scouts for SDGs to improve the sustainability of their communities.
An international dance party, trivia challenges, quizzes, arts and crafts and online games were just some of the many fun activities that were woven throughout the three-day programme. Twice daily JOTA-JOTI live shows streamed via Facebook and YouTube, highlighting the creativity of Scouts from around the world on the Youth Got Talent Stage. From cooking classes to musical performances to dance routines, young people showcased their skills with a chance to win the people’s choice award for the best talent. Scouts from around the world were also able to call in and be interviewed live on the show, sharing their experience in Scouting and JOTA-JOTI.
A number of special guests such as Chief Ambassador of World Scouting Bear Grylls, award-winning conservationist Sacha Dench and EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, also graced the live shows offering their insights and inspiration to participants.
This year’s edition of JOTA-JOTI also incorporated gamification elements for the first time. By participating in various programme webinars and activities, each designated with a unique code, Scouts worked towards completing different JOTA-JOTI Challenges to earn digital badges aligning with the themes of nature, friendship, community, health and youth advocacy.
Amateur radio, which has been a key feature of the event since its inception, allowed young people to discover the power of wireless radio and use short-wave radio signals to connect with and send messages to Scouts from other corners of the world. Our official online radio station partner, JOTI Radio, celebrated 10 years of broadcasting and treated participants to great music and discussions about global issues, along with the opportunity to contact the show’s hosts to request a song or ask for a shout out on air.
Global collaboration for young people
In all Scouting regions, many other activities took place both online and in-person ensuring as many young people as possible could access opportunities for learning, friendship and fun. Virtual campfires were featured live during the weekend from different Scouting regions, allowing participants to experience and share the campfire spirit together. This included live campfires from Kandersteg International Scout Centre and from the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
The Africa region also hosted a special Plastic Tide Turners Virtual Africa Youth Summit alongside JOTA-JOTI and together with UN Environment to celebrate African youth turning the tide on plastic pollution.
As with all Scouting events, the safety of all participants was the top priority during this JOTA-JOTI with Safe from Harm resources and e-learning courses offered in multiple languages to both adult leaders and young people taking part in the event. A dedicated support team was also set up around the clock to monitor and respond to any safety inquiries, ensuring all participants had a safe, inclusive and positive experience.
The next JOTA-JOTI set for October 2021 aims to reach even more young people beyond the Scout Movement and will put a continued focus on how Scouts are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.