Geneva, Switzerland - As the sun rises on 1 August 2007, in every time zone, 28 million Scouts worldwide, girls and boys, women and men, will celebrate the dawn of a new century of Scouting and reflect on the spirit of friendship and peace. Scouting’s Sunrise takes place exactly one hundred years after Lord Baden-Powell ran a Scout camp on Brownsea Island, on the South-coast of England, for 20 young boys from different social backgrounds.
1st August is the key date for the Centenary celebrations that are occurring across the globe throughout 2007 and will signify a new dawn for Scouting, which has grown into the largest co-educational youth movement in the world. During the last 100 years, Scouting has continuously evolved and today is a modern Movement that aims to create a better world by educating young people to play a constructive role in society and by offering challenge and adventure to both young people and adult volunteers.
Starting in Kiribati, Fiji and New Zealand, this Centenary celebration will journey westwards across the globe through to Hawaii, Alaska and Western Samoa and back to the date line again.
Brownsea Island, which is owned and managed by the National Trust, will be a global focal point for Scouting's Sunrise when at 08.00 BST two young people from over 160 countries, including Scouts from Lebanon, Nepal, Rwanda, Serbia, Libya and Argentina, will unite at dawn to lead the 28 million Scouts across the world in re-affirming their promise to build a tolerant and peaceful society.
As part of the celebrations, 40,000 young people from around the world have gathered at Hylands Park in Essex, site of the V Festival, to take part in the largest ever World Scout Jamboree. During the course of the 12-day Jamboree, attendees will have the opportunity to meet up with Scouts of different nationalities and to learn about each other’s cultures whilst experiencing a variety of new adventures that symbolise everyday modern Scouting. For many it will prove to be a life changing experience.
Scouting’s Sunrise is also day for all Scouts to share their Gifts for Peace. These Gifts for Peace are gifts of education, understanding, tolerance and respect for others, given by Scouts in the form of community projects to other young people and their communities in order to help to build a better world. Scouts worldwide are managing conflict without violence, challenging prejudice and encouraging greater solidarity. To date 110 national Gifts for Peace projects have been developed and are making a difference to the lives of millions in local communities.
Scouts around the world will be participating in thousands of events on the 1st August, with many from Ecuador to the Kingdom of Bhutan hosting their own sunrise events, whilst others celebrate in their own unique style. Scouts in Malawi will celebrate Scouting's Sunrise on the peak of Mulanje Mountain, Scouts in the Netherlands Antilles will celebrate Scouting's Sunrise on a beach on the North Coast of Curacao, Scouts in Italy are gathering in Rome at the Fori Imperiali monument and Scouts in Sydney have organised a massive gathering at the Sydney Opera House where they will blow the horn of an African Kudu antelope from the top of one of the 'sails' at 8:00 am local time.
Anabele Pardi, aged 17, from the National Association of the Romanian Scouts who is attending the Sunrise Ceremony at Brownsea Island said, “Today is a truly magical milestone for Scouting. Two days ago I arrived here on a boat with 300 strangers – now they are all my friends. If young people around the world can repeat what has happened here today then we really can help build a more friendly world.”
Shannon McIntosh, aged 16, from New Zealand said, “If Baden Powell knew just how successful the Movement he founded all those years ago had become, he would be delighted. Only Scouting can bring together so many young people from such different backgrounds together and I’m already looking forward to the future and our next 100 years.”
Scouting is also using the centenary celebrations to provide an opportunity to reflect on not only what has been achieved, but also the future, with a particular call for more adult volunteers to become involved as Scouting's programmes and activities are only made possible by the efforts of the voluntary adult leaders.
It is estimated that by 2007, over 500,000,000 individuals will have made the Scout Promise to work together to create a better world!