GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — With thousands of Scouts and others watching in person and online, World Scout Committee chairperson Craig Turpie declared the World Scout Jamboree officially underway Tuesday night at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.
Turpie was one of the multiple presenters at the jamboree’s opening ceremony, which served as a welcome to all attending and an overview of the jamboree’s opportunities.
“What an incredible global gathering,” he said. “Despite our many differences, there is something truly remarkable that unites us: We are all Scouts.”
More than 40,000 people from 170 national organizations are taking part in the quadrennial celebration of scouting around the world. This year’s event is the first World Scouting Jamboree to be held in the United States since the 1967 celebration in Idaho.
Scouting organizations of the United States, Mexico and Canada are the jamboree’s hosts.
“Today marks the start of an amazing adventure,” said television host Bear Grylls, who is also the first chief ambassador of World Scouting.
“It’s a day, a week and two weeks that we’re going to remember for a lifetime.”
The jamboree’s theme is “Unlock a New World,” with a focus on problem-solving and collaboration.
Turpie said every Scout can help find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
“The time is now for action on poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, peace and climate change,” he said to applause. “Millions of Scouts are tackling these challenges, making the world’s largest youth contribution to the sustainable development goals, and you will want to rise up and take action, too.”
Grylls told those watching the opening ceremony not to be afraid to “go for it.”
“Grab the many opportunities that Scouting gives you. Take those opportunities, take those skills and apply them in your life,” he added.
South African composer Lebo M and American band Recycled Percussion performed separately during Tuesday’s event.
The jamboree continues through Aug. 2. Visitors will be allowed in the Summit Bechtel Reserve starting Wednesday.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve is one of the Boy Scout of America’s high-adventure bases and the permanent site of the National Jamboree; the most recent National Jamboree took place in 2017.