This summer we sent 3 of our Explorer Scouts and 2 of our leaders to the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea. The World Scout Jamboree is a massive scouting event that takes place every 4 years (like the Olympics), which consists of approximately 50,000 people from all around the world, coming together to camp in tents for approximately 2 weeks.

Our 3 young people were spread out between 3 different units of 40 young people from Kent Scouts (120 total), with one of our leaders (Rob) being a leader for Unit 64 (Zoo lane), and our other leader (Erik) being a member of International Service Team (The volunteers that run all the camp activities). The Scouts UK sent 90 Units of 36 Young People and 4 leaders (3600 people), and another approximately 1000 International Service Team Volunteers.

Our trip started off with a visit to South Korea’s capital city of Seoul for approximately 3-4 days, where we got to visit a number of different cultural areas such as palaces and temples, as well as check out some interesting attractions such as N Seoul Tower, Gangnam, and more!

After our city experience, we got to head over to the Jamboree site and take part in the opening ceremony (a bit like Glastonbury). Unfortunately, as you may have seen on the news, the UK Scouts made the decision to withdraw us from the site after 3 days due to the poor conditions caused by a culmination of bad organising by the Korean Hosts, bad sanitation, searing hot weather with a lack of water/shade, and more.

We didn’t go home though! We continued on and made our Jamboree experience into a one-of-a-kind traveling jamboree where we headed back to Seoul to continue our experience with a large amount of amazing support from local members of the Korean Public that had seen our plight on the News. Many Koreans apologised to us on the street, with some handing out free water and snacks, seeing the Jamboree as a national shame for the bad organisation by the Korean organising committee. We even got a free trip to Lego Land in Seoul and a visit to Taekwondo the musical!

To finish off we had a massive closing ceremony that was moved from the Jamboree site to a stadium in Seoul, where the missed cultural day ceremony was merged into the closing event to create a massive K-Pop concert with many well-known names in K-Pop.

While it was not the jamboree we expected, we all came away having had an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience, and would sign up to do it all over again! While many things went wrong, we encourage the next generation of Explorers to sign up for Poland 2027 as they only ever get one chance to go as a participant, and it is very unlikely that the issues that occurred in Korea will ever be allowed to happen again.