From 23 July – 26 July, Special Olympics had the opportunity to attend the 24th Annual World Scout Jamboree, hosted by the World Organization of the Scout Movement, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Mt. Hope, West Virginia. This event, hosted every four years, invited 45,000 Scouts between the ages of 14-17 from around the world to participate in a week of celebrating people, prosperity, peace, and partnerships.
This was the first year Special Olympics was represented at the Scout Jamboree. Scouts had the opportunity to participate in a variety of events on-site, including the Special Olympics session “Leading Unified with Special Olympics” at the Global Development Village (GDV). All Scouts who attended this presentation learned about the history of Special Olympics, participated in activities focused on Youth Leadership, and took the Pledge to Include after learning about the Unified Generation.
During the presentation, Scouts were able to visualize characteristics of Inclusive Youth Leadership through an activity called the Leadership Web. In this activity, Scouts shared their personal leadership traits and passed a ball of yarn between one another to show how all leaders are connected. Once everyone had shared, two individuals dropped their string and stepped away from the group. This action demonstrated exclusion and demonstrated the importance of all Youth Leaders being included in groups to be as strong as possible.
At the Jamboree, many World Organization of the Scout Movement staff members expressed excitement about Special Olympics participation in the event. Special Olympics had the opportunity to connect with the Interamerica Region of the World Organization of the Scouts Movement and discussed opportunities to connect the two organizations in the future.
Special Olympics and the World Scout Organization have already been connected through the Innovation Grants program. A Unified pair from El Salvador will connect local scouts with members of the Unified Generation.
Special Olympics Latin America and the Interamerica Region of the World Scout Bureau have a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalize a partnership that focuses on diversity and inclusion initiatives in the organizations respective Regions. In addition to this, in the Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Region, Special Olympics Hellas (Greece) has formed a partnership with their local Scouts chapter.