Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture, Tsugumasa Muraoka San
Camp Chief, Takayasu Okushima San
Dear brothers and sisters in Scouting
Konbanwa… good evening!
It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? After so many years of preparation and hard work, we finally meet in Kirara-hama for the 23rd World Scout Jamboree! Welcome!
Like you, I feel privileged to be here and to live this rare opportunity. We are in a camp site in Japan but it’s like the entire world has come to live with us.
In the next 12 days, our neighbours will be people from many different countries, from diverse backgrounds, races, religions and cultures. We’ll be able to discover all these differences and be fascinated by them. But at the same time, we will recognise that, deep down, we’re all human beings, with challenges, successes, dreams and passions. And one of the passions we all share is Scouting.
Every four years, we, the Scouts of the world, come together to celebrate our diversity, our common values and our dreams. We make new friends, we have fun together, we explore new ideas and activities, and we realise that we are all neighbors in this common home which we call World.
When we meet in a Jamboree, we also discover that we need to work together to find solutions for the challenges that affect all of us. Challenges like poverty, climate change, conflicts, discrimination, lack of safety, lack of education, and many others. Yes, a World Scout Jamboree is also a place for us to be more aware of these challenges and it gives us an opportunity to explore how we can contribute to overcome them in our own communities, and in the world. This is how we Create a Better World. Together!
The theme of this World Scout Jamboree is “WA: a Spirit of Unity”. There couldn’t be a more appropriate theme chosen for this Jamboree, as Unity has become one of the key focus areas for our World Organisation in the current period: we want to make this spirit grow in every local Group, Scout Association or Region of the world. I urge you to live the spirit of Unity in the coming days; also on behalf of the other 40 million Scouts who cannot be here with us in person, but are part of our “family”.
As we begin a Jamboree which promises to be incredible, I would like to recognise the tremendous effort made by our hosts, the Scout Association of Japan, in preparing this small city we’ll be living in the next days. They have worked tirelessly and, on behalf of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, I would like to thank them for their effort.
I also want to extend my appreciation to the 8000 adult volunteers who will be serving in the subcamps or as members of the International Service Team. I thank you in advance, for your service, your dedication, and the good spirit you will certainly need to have when tackling the daily challenges of a big project such as the World Scout Jamboree.
My final words go to the most important people in this Jamboree: YOU, the 25000 boys and girls coming from 147 countries in the world. This is YOUR Jamboree! I am sure you want it to be a success, And that very much depends on you.
In each of the following 12 days, I urge you to try your best to be open to others; to try a new experience; to learn something new; to make a new friend; to share an idea; to discover a new country. If you do these things, I am sure that, in the end, you would have enjoyed every minute of your time here. And you will go back home with an experience that you will remember for your lifetime.
A few years back, when I attended a World Jamboree as a contingent leader, one of my Scouts told me: “Leader, this Jamboree… this is how the real world should be…”. I totally understood what he meant then. He had developed a clearer idea of how the world could be a better one, and how he and others could be part of the change.
Now, it is in our hands to make this Jamboree like the world we dream about: a place of Peace, Respect, Collaboration, Diversity and Friendship. I am sure I can count on each one of you to give your best and build an unforgettable experience.
Let’s enjoy our 23rd World Scout Jamboree!