two local men and a teenager are off to Sweden at the end of the month to take part in the 22nd World Scout Jamboree 2011.
Gerry Finnegan from Omeath, Finbar Gethins from Kilkerley and 17-year-old Joseph O’Meara from Carlingford are among a 1,500 strong group from Ireland going to the event.
“The World Scout Jamboree is held every four years. The last one was held in the UK in 2007. I didn’t go then so this will be my first time attending,” said Gerry.
The 2011 event is running from July 26 until August 10 in a makeshift camping area which will accommodate 40,000 scouts from all over the world.
When it is completed, the Jamboree will be one of the largest cities in southern Sweden. The theme for this year’s Jamboree is ‘Simply Scouting’.
The Jamboree aims to encourage meetings between those from different cultures, religions, countries and contingents.
It also aims to use the natural environment as a learning tool, demonstrating both its vulnerability and what individuals can do to better protect the world we live in.
The third goal is to encourage solidarity between scouts of all ages, and promote the unity between scout organisations from around the world.
“There will be a strong emphasis on camping and cooking on fires. The King of Sweden will also be there as he is the Chief Scout of Sweden,” said Gerry.
“There will be a variety of camp events on the site. The Irish team are building a camp called ‘Quest’ which will involve a lot of challenges for the scouts.
“Another camp is called GDV or Global Development Village which is all about recognising the importance of different cultures and the environment.
“We might be camping next to Japanese scouts or Arab or Jewish scouts. It’s like having the world on your doorstep.”
He added: “We will invite different scout groups over to our site and cook them something Irish, maybe a stew or some scones.
“The Irish tent will also be putting on different demonstrations and giving them a taste of Irish hospitality. We will be putting on ceilis and there will be storytelling, tin whistle, guitar and bodhran.”
Gerry will be in charge of 36 Irish scouts ranging in age from 14 to 17 on the trip.