Hundreds of Czech scouts are currently in the United States taking part in the movement’s World Jamboree, which is being attended by 40,000 people from all around the globe. I spoke to Czech Radio’s reporter Jakub Lucký, who is on the ground in West Virginia, and asked him to tell me more about the Czech presence at this year’s international gathering:
“Czech scouts sent a record group this year, almost 500 people. Roughly around 330 of them are kids or youth participants between the ages of 14 and 18. The rest are adults, and more than a hundred of them are part of an international team, which takes care of the events that are taking place here.”
Is it the biggest Czech participation ever?
“Well, yes and no, depending if we count Czechoslovakia. If we do count Czechoslovakia, it is not the biggest one, because there had been bigger one in the early 1990s. If we only count the Czechs only, then this is definitely the biggest participation ever.”
The motto of the Czech contingent this year is Unbreakable? What does it refer to?
“It refers to the history of Czech scouting, which had been banned three times in history: once by the Nazis during WWII, and twice by the Communists, in the 1960s and in 1970. The Scouts have always bounced back. What we are seeing today is the longest period of uninterrupted existence of scouting in the Czech Republic.”
How do the Czech scouts represent themselves in the United States?
“The programme is mainly built around the motto Unbreakable. The nine troupes have their patrons - interesting scouting personalities like Václav Havel, Miloš Forman and some other people, who were prosecuted during Communism or the Second World War.
“They are also presenting the typical Czech tent called podsada, which is a classical tent with a wooden base.”
Is this in a Czech invention?
“In a way, it is. It was inspired by the Austro-Hungarian army and the Czech and Slovak scouts are the only ones in the world who are using these tents for their Scout Camps.”
Is there a possibility that the Czech Republic will host a World Jamboree in the future?
“Czech Scouts don’t have plans for that as yet. But there is a possibility of having one of the future jamborees in Poland. In fact, Poland competed for the next jamboree, which will be in 2023 in South Korea. So perhaps the 2027 edition might take place in Poland and in that case, a lot of Czech Scouts will be going there.”
“The atmosphere is very friendly, because there are Scouts from all around the world and they spend a lot of time talking to each other. They also spend time on various activities that are prepared by the US organizers.
“There is a big shooting range, for instance, but there are also activities focused on global problems. There is a global development village focusing on sustainable development and on the understanding between different faiths and cultures. So the Scouts are spending a lot of time debating with people from all around the world.”
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