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EAB News 2007-08-12: Esperanto at the World Scout Jamboree

Esperanto at the World Scout Jamboree

40,000 scouts and organisers and 10,000 daily visitors particpated in the Jubilee Scout Jamboree at Hylands Park, near Chelmsford in Essex. British Esperantists were there to support the work of the international Scout Esperanto-League (SEL), promoting Esperanto among scouts from across the world.

Our team participated only at the last minute, because of an shortage of Esperantist scouts at the jamboree. Angela Tellier stepped into the breach, and organised her family Dominique, Hannah and Melissa, along with Joyce Bunting and Tim Owen. Viv in the EAB office quickly printed and dispatched leaflets, posters, lessons etc. directly to Hylands Park.

Tim Owen, who had bravely offered to camp there for the entire week, ran lessons each day, and the entire team of Esperantists explained the principles of Esperanto, played with pictures, gave out information, and chatted about the value of the International Language.

- Joyce Bunting

An Esperanto scout badge. The text "unu mondo, unu promeso" means "one world, one promise"

One hundred years ago the then Sir Robert Baden-Powell took a group of boys on a camping trip to Brownsea Island. This was the birth of modern scouting, small and localised though it apeared to be at the time.

A century later, the scout movement—founded on the common theme of respect, brotherhood, compassion, and duty—counts 28 million members from all parts of the globe. August saw the unlikely event at Brownsea Island re-enacted, as 32,000 scouts (plus 8,000 of their leaders), and more than 20,000 visitors descended on Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex. The scouts came from 158 different countries. The organisers constructed a temporary village, equipped with a hospital, three supermarkets, and a never-ending sea of tents. The site became the third-largest town in Essex.

The numbers tell their own story; 40,000 people from every corner of the globe descended to celebrate their movement and internationalism sharing only the label 'scout'. In short, a fraternity existed, geographical frontiers more a point of interest, variety, and curiosity than ignorance, hostility, and suspicion. What we had here was a scene reminiscent of Dr Zamenhof's intentions when he created his Internacia Lingvo.

Well, there was no place more appropriate for Esperanto to have a presence than at such an event, where barriers weren't a factor, where people from diverse settings mixed together celebrating their differences and where, in order to do so, more than half of them had to first learn a foreign language.

With this being the case, the Esperanto-Asocio de Britio and the Skolta Esperanto-Ligo agreed to work together in order that Esperanto be visible at the Jamboree. This being so, a display stand was reserved purely for Esperanto, and quickly furnished with posters from our Springboard course and information packs.

Help was received from Joyce Bunting, Angela, Dominique, Hannah, and Melissa Tellier, who all gave up their time in order to be present. Tim Owen was the full-time British volunteer, working closely with Finland's Carola Antskog and Poland's Justyna, as well as a number of Italian helpers.

photo - Tim Owen
Inside our tent. Seated is Giovanni, an Italian who made an admirable job of learning and selling Esperanto throughout the week, and whose Spanish-language skills were indispensable when playing Esperanto-based games with scouts from Latin America.

photo - Tim Owen
Outside our tent stand: Justyna (Poland), Tim (UK), Carola (Finland), Jaroslaw (Poland)

- Tim Owen

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