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Jamboree brings world of opportunity

Richmond’s Chris Cheng is used to analyzing the environment in his consulting job.
Scouts jamboree
Richmond’s Chris Cheng (far right) with other leaders at the opening of the World Jamboree in Japan. Photo submitted

Richmond’s Chris Cheng is used to analyzing the environment in his consulting job.

So, it was natural for the atmospheric sciences grad from UBC to be part of a fact-finding group of scouts that travelled to Yamaguchi, Japan this summer to see what goes on at a World Jamboree.

Cheng, 24, is a lifelong scout with the 32nd Richmond Scout Group. His mom signed him up at age seven as a way for him to experience the great outdoors. Indeed, it opened up a whole new world for him.

Now, as a senior leader, a Rover Scout, he wants to pass that opportunity on to youngsters in his local group at the next world jamboree.

“They are held, like the Olympics, every four years,” Cheng said. “And the next one is 2019 in West Virginia.”

But to help organize that trip, Cheng needed to experience what it’s like when around 34,000 scouts gather in one place for two weeks to share knowledge and kinship.

“We wanted to have the experience ourselves and know exactly what we’d be up against in terms of planning before taking the initiative to bring our kids.

“That’s something we are definitely looking forward to doing.”

One of the biggest take- aways from the event was an appreciation for the opportunity to meet scouts from around the world.

Activities at the jamboree involved learning about the culture of the host nation, as well as those other participating countries.

Hopes are to take as many as 14 youngsters to the next jamboree. And Cheng, along with other leaders, is working on devising a means to select those deserving a chance to go.

“It’s a big commitment. First, the youth will have to show initiative,” Cheng said. “They really have to want to go on this trip because it’s relatively expensive. And that means quite a bit of fundraising and commitment.”

But the payoff is considerable, Cheng added.

“Being a scout has been a wonderful experience,” he said. “Essentially, it’s been a second family to me. Also, I enjoy helping youth develop their own leadership qualities, become more responsible and eventually become successful adults. It just  brings me great joy.”