Memories from the World Scout Jamboree in Korea

Date: 1st Jan 2024 Author: Katie Sturgess

The World Scout Jamboree is an international gathering of 40,000 Scouts and 8,000 volunteers from all around the world. It’s a life changing opportunity for young people and adult volunteers to make international friendships with people from different cultures, and take part in an exciting programme of activities. It happens every four years in a different country. In the Summer of 2023, over 4,500 Scouts & Guides from across the UK made their way to Korea for the 25th World Scout Jamboree and we were very proud to send 5 young people and 4 volunteers!

Whilst the Jamboree didn’t go as expected with tough conditions at the Jamboree site, we made the most of everything and we all had an incredible time. The experiences we had in our time in Scouting prepared us well for the situation, and we were looked after very well by the UK contingent.

Here are some of our memories from the World Scout Jamboree!

Imogen, Alex, Noah and Matt (Thames Tigers Unit 33) at Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Kayla and Jake (Unit 61) exploring in Seoul

Everyone had the opportunity to be part of a guided tour to visit the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) to learn about the past and present of Korea.

Watching the changing of the guard at Gyeongbokgung palace

Waking up at 4am to join the Buddist monks during an overnight temple stay experience in Seoul.

After several incredible days exploring in Seoul (which became a Scout city!) we travelled to the 10km wide Jamboree site in Saemangeum and pitched our tents. It was extremely hot but the atmosphere was amazing.

40,000 Scouts and 8,000 volunteers started gathering for the opening ceremony. Here are some Japanese Scouts arriving.

The ceremony was a spectacular event, with an incredible drone, laser and firework display.

Badges and Scout Scarves are the currency of the Jamboree and make great souvenirs. We had a great time swapping with new international friends.

Unit 33 created a great camp gate.

Camping next to the world!

Roe (Right) and Alex (Left) with news friends from Japan

The Jamboree Volunteers (AKA the International Service Team) had daily meals in the dining hall alongside 8,000 (3,000 at a time) fellow service team members. We ate lots of korean dishes, plus lots of rice and kimchi and chatted to volunteers from all over the world.

Due to difficult camp conditions, logistical problems and an approaching typhoon, the UK Contingent made the sensible decision to relocate UK Scouts back to Seoul. Here is one of the adult sites, prepped for rain.

Packed and ready to move. Just organising the bags and buses was a big operation.

When we arrived back in Seoul, everyone wanted to talk to us about the Jamboree.

Local people were extremely kind! We had a fantastic time exploring Seoul landmarks, palaces, museums and food markets, and were shown amazing hospitality. Local people wanted to give us gifts and buy us drinks and ice creams. Here we are trying homemade Sikhye (rice punch) and Korean BBQ!


Meeting up before the closing ceremony and K-Pop concert at the Seoul stadium.

Our travellers shared some great memories and funny stories when they got home. It was obvious that they’d had an amazing experience. Here is Alex showing his hard earned Jamboree swaps to the unit, including this international scarf.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls