22nd World Scout Jamboree
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Almost 40,000 Scouts from across the globe have gathered here for the 22nd World Scout Jamboree. For many, it will be the first time they learn of the Church and its beliefs. For the hundreds of LDS Scouts and their leaders participating in this international event, the Jamboree offers a singular opportunity to enjoy fellowship with other members from scattered parts of the world while sharing their beliefs with Scouts from all corners of the earth.
The World Scout Jamboree is marked by adventure, fun, music, friendship and the alluring aroma of meals originating from many of the 141 nations represented at the gathering. The Jamboree theme is a message of peace, and Scouts in attendance are challenged to provide acts of service on behalf of their respective communities.
Stretched across some four miles, the Jamboree doubles as a giant, outdoor classroom as Scouts learn more about the people of the world and their respective religious beliefs and traditions. It's perhaps apropos that the Jamboree Faith and Beliefs zone is located near the center of the encampment. Twelve of the world's major religions are represented, including the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism (Swedish Lutherans) and Sikh. Brother Charles Dahlquist, a former Young Men general president, serves as co-director of the Faith and Beliefs zone along with a pastor from the Swedish Lutheran Church.
The popular LDS tent is staffed by about 20 members, mostly from North America. Upon entering the tent, guests are asked to place a pin-paper with their name on a huge world map. A heroic-sized photo of Scouting's founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell is included in the Church display, along with a number of smaller visuals highlighting LDS beliefs. A large image of the Christus statue stands as a prominent reminder of the Church's Christ-anchored beliefs.
The LDS tent is interactive and fun. More than a dozen computers are connected to FamilySearch and invite guests to discover their own ancestry. Several family history experts are on hand to help Scouts operate the program. Many walk away with a printed copy of their own family pedigrees. Scouts can also send a picture postcard of themselves to family members.
Each guest to the LDS tent is also presented with a special patch and neckerchief. Scouts from all faiths also choose to work on the requirements to receive the attractive George Albert Smith medal.
Brother Larry Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, presides at the LDS tent, while veteran Scouters Wayne and Roma Bishop coordinate the displays. Smaller overhead shelters can also be found at the LDS tent. Gary and Laura Dollar occupy one shelter, whittling wooden figure head bolo ties as they discuss gospel principles with their visitors. In another, Brother Gale Roper carves personalized walking sticks, including one which will be presented to the King of Sweden.
The World Scout Jamboree also offers LDS Scouts an opportunity to worship together. Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president, was the featured speaker at a devotional assembly presided over by Europe Area President Erich W. Kopischke of the Seventy. Also in attendance was Elder Ingar Olsson of the Seventy. In his message, Brother Beck spoke of the importance of prayer, seminary attendance, scripture study and preparing for a mission. More than 200 young men and their Scout leaders attended, including Scouts from the United States, Tahiti, Sweden, Italy, Canada, Uganda and several other countries.
Elder Kopischke also presided over the July 31 sacrament meeting at the encampment. He was joined again by Elder Olsson and Brother Beck. All three men spoke at the Sabbath service. The spirit of the meeting was enriched by a Venture choir who performed the musical number "Rise Up, O Men of God."
While many of the LDS Scouts arrived at Rinkaby following long flights from their respective nations, LDS Scout Moses Lyagoba bicycled most of the way to the Jamboree with nine Scouts from his native Uganda. Young Moses biked from Uganda to Kenya, then flew to Italy before biking the balance of the route to the Jamboree site. In all, the group biked 4,500 kilometers (about 2,800 miles) in 40 days.
The World Scout Jamboree will continue through Aug. 8. The first few days were marked by rainy weather before giving way to sunshine.