The decision, whether the World Scout Jamboree will be held in Gdańsk or in Saemangeum in South Korea, will be made on 16 August during the WOSM World Scout Conference in Baku, Azerbejian. Regardless of the result of the decision, the city of Gdańsk and the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association are already preparing themselves to host the Polish National Jamboree „Gdańsk 2018” that is going to take place on the Sobieszewo Island during the summer in 2018.
The city of Gdańsk and the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association stand as a candidate for hosting the World Scout Jamboree on the Sobieszewo Island. The cooperation between the city of Gdańsk and the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association is established in an agreement signed on June 23, 2015. According to the agreement, both parties should cooperate while promoting Gdańsk as a potential localisation for the World Scout Jamboree, running the Social Programme for the island, discussing new ideas for Sobieszewo and working on infrastructure that will be necessary to prepare the jamboree’s site.
Their mutual success is the already approved plans for a bridge that will be connecting the island with the mainland – the bridge should be finished in the first quarter of 2018. The Jamboree organisers expect that it will be named after Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the scout movement.
Biking around the world
Since 2015 Gdańsk, the city known for its exceptional tourist, historical and cultural attractions, has been presented to the board members of scouting associations from 72 countries, e. g. the USA, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Tanzania, Egypt, Mozambique, Tajikistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.
A very untypical form of promoting Jamboree is a biking tour around the world organised by Polish scouts – they want to start the tour in the Sobieszewo Island, go to the World Scout Conference in Baku and then travel to the USA where in 2019 the World Scout Jamboree is going to take place. From that place they are going to continue the journey around the world and come back to Gdańsk. The whole tour is divided into 34 stages.
What is the World Scout Jamboree?
The World Scout Jamboree is the most important event organised by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. It is aimed at young people aged 14-17 who are members of their national scout organisations. WOSM has the largest number of members among all non-governmental organisations around the world. The WSJ is a wonderful educational event that lasts two weeks and is organised for young people of all colours of skin and of all religions, from over 160 countries. It takes place every four years in a different place in the world. 85 % of the budget is covered by participants’ fees. 20 % will be financed by the Polish government, the city of Gdańsk (about 15 %) and sponsors (about 5 %).
“World Scout Jamborees, meetings of young people from all over the world, have been organised every four years since 1920. According to Robert Baden-Powell, the initiator if this event, the idea of the WSJ is to gather young people in one place so that they can talk and get to know each other. And when they will be leaders of their local communities in few years, it will help them to live in peace and friendship” said Karol Gzyl, a scout leader, the head of the Jamboree Project Team and the International Commissioner of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association.
“The World Scout Jamboree is a meeting beyond divisions and it is aimed at contributing to positive changes in the future world. A common future may be achieved only by good education that young people receive in scouting” said Małgorzata Sinica, the Chief Scout of Polish scouts.
Where the venue for the WSJ is planned to be located?
The Sobieszewo Island is the ideal site where a big scout event can take place because it is located about 18 km away from the city centre. One can reach the island using the tunnel built under the river or the bridge that will connect the island with the mainland and that will be ready in 2018. The island with its beautiful beaches, coastal forests and meadows where scouts are going to camp, is the only location in Gdańsk that meets the technical requirements of the World Organisation of Scout Movement (the size of the place and close distance to the city centre).
“It is worth noticing that the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association has chosen the location out of eight offers of different cities in Poland. The final decision was Gdańsk, precisely – the Sobieszewo Island” said Marta Bednarsa, a girl guide and the head of the communications and promotions group in the Jamboree Project Team.
What are the benefits for Gdańsk?
Scouts that will participate in the Jamboree in Gdańsk and the Pomerania region will not spend there just two weeks. Every scout group (10 young people and an adult) will come to Poland before the Jamboree or will stay after the Jamboree to experience Home Hospitality – a two-week-long stay at a house of a Polish family. Te programme includes trips to Kashubian region and both cultural and educational events in Gdańsk. During the Jamboree scouts are going to do 100 000 hours of community work on the Sobieszewo Island (working with nature or creating elements of small architecture). Tourist industry, hotels and cultural institutions are also going to benefit from the event. Scout delegations from all over the world are accompanied by the boards of their national scout organisations and very prominent guests – kings and queens, politicians or business representatives from many countries. Food products for participants and materials for building the infrastructure are going to be bought from local suppliers.
“What the World Scout Jamboree in 2023 is going to look like? Those who have an idea of a music festival like Woodstock, the World Youth Day or Olympics – they all are right. We are going to include elements of all these events in the World Scout Jamboree” summed up Karol Gzyl, a scout leader.
Social revitalisation on the Sobieszewo Island
The Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, which is a responsible organiser of such a big international event, does not forget about residents of the Sobieszewo Island. Since 2016 the social revitalisation programme has been run in order to boost the island’s potential as a place attractive for tourists, improve the landscape, engage and support the island’s residents in the process of positive changes and prepare them to welcome big numbers of tourists. The programme includes regular meetings open for all residents take place, a promotion campaign for Sobieszewo and a website about the island that will be written in three foreign languages and will inform about attractions, accommodation opportunities, history and nature.
Who is going to organise the WSJ in 2023? Baku, 16 August 2017
If during the World Scout Conference in Azerbaijan the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association and Gdańsk are granted the right to organise the WSJ in 2023, they will organise one more jamboree, the EurJam in 2021. It is already stated that in 2018 the Polish national jamboree is going to take place in Sobieszewo and the island will welcome over 10 000 scouts.
“The decision about granting the right to organise the WSJ in 2023 is extremely important for us. We want to show Gdańsk as a city open for guest from all over the world. After the 2012 UEFA European Championship we are perfectly aware how important atmosphere and positive guests’ experience are – hopefully the participants of the jamboree will come back to Gdańsk many times” said Piotr Grzelak, the vice president of Gdańsk.
“It is also important how scouting in Gdańsk has evolved for the past few years. All those young people work very hard and I am convinced that an event like the WSJ will give new wings to them” said Grzelak.