A dream has come true for 72 Welsh Scouts who have been selected from over 200 applicants to attend the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan in 2015.
The teenagers from across Wales found out at the weekend that they would be representing Wales at the gathering of 30,000 Scouts from almost every country in the world. They now begin an 18 month journey with a series of training camps and fundraising events.
Explorer Scout Rhian Richards, 16 from Wrexham, said, ‘As soon as I heard I sprinted into the living room roaring I AM GOING TO JAPAN! I’m so grateful that I was picked. It’s made not just me but all my family authentically thrilled!’
The selection process began back in August and was open to any Scouts who will be aged between 14 and 18 at the time of the Jamboree. The Scouts received 225 applications, more than ever before, and all were invited to a selection day where they were put through their paces with various team building activities to see how they worked together and got on with others.
Martin Evans, Unit Leader for one of the two Units from Wales, said the choice was very difficult. ‘As soon as we went through the names of those who got through it suddenly hit home about those who weren’t successful.’
The two Wales Units are part of 67 Units from the United Kingdom. As well as taking part in the 12 day Jamboree, they will also spend three nights in Tokyo and in pairs stay with a Japanese family enjoying home hospitality.
One of the Units decided they’d let their successful applicants know they’d got through in a very special way. 36 glittery red envelopes were sent containing a specially branded Dragon bar, and inside each was a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style golden ticket to the Jamboree.
Unit Leader David Morris said, ‘I got to hand deliver three of the chocolate bars and it was a great moment seeing their faces. It’s been a bittersweet feeling however as I know so many who didn’t get through.’
Rhian continued, ‘I slid back the paper and there was my unbelievable, astonishing, spectacular golden ticket!’
The Scouts now are aiming to raise as much money as they can to cut down the Â£2,995 fee.
David Morris said, ‘These young people are going to have a life-changing experience. It’s a much over used phrase, but in this case it genuinely is true. The experiences they have, meeting the youth of the world, discussing global issues and working together for peace, will make them the leaders of the future.’
‘We’ve recruited people from every background for this, and some will really struggle to pay the fee. So that we can continue to make this sort of opportunity available to young people no matter what their financial situation is, we’ll be fundraising like crazy over the next 18 months. If you see us, please help us help them.’