Leila Gardner from Bishopsteignton, like millions of other hopefuls from around the world dreamed of joining the 40,000 scouts attending this year’s Jamboree.


However, despite the motto ‘be prepared’ it’s safe to say the Jamboree was anything but. With temperatures soaring to forty-degrees each day and inadequate shade, very early on cracks began to show. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the problems.


Leila said: “In our subcamp there was no soap or toilet roll the entire time we were there, the showers were constantly flooded


“It was a big mix of stuff, a lot of my unit were getting sick, after all the training and money we had to raise – we were expecting a more organised put together event.


“We were all really gutted when we first heard, we still are but it was for the best. We needed somewhere better.”


Leila’s Mum Vicki said: “The UK contingent had 4 red markers that’d been crossed at the jamboree and that was it. They did what they had to do to keep our kids safe, we were being updated all the time, we knew what was going on.”


Although Leila’s time at the jamboree was short lived, she expressed the many lessons the chaotic event taught her and the invaluable help from the other scout units.


“Experiencing the heat and my unit getting sick taught me how to look after myself, keeping an eye on other people and making the most out of bad situations. Learning to roll with things and not letting things get to you.”


This year 158 Countries attended the World scout Jamboree, and 4,500 from the UK alone.


“I’m more appreciative of other people and other cultures. It’s a crazy experience, you leave the tent and you’re basically walking around the world.”


The event was originally planned to be held from the 1st to the 12th however by the 6th all UK scouts had been transferred to Seoul, this was following the announcement of plans to transfer the scouts on the 4th of August.


Leila’s group as with many other scout groups from a plethora of countries, decided to carry on their South Korean adventure regardless of disappointments and adjusted well to the change, utilizing the opportunity they had to experience another culture.



“The south Korean people were so lovely to us, helpful and accommodating. They put on loads of free tours for us. When we met Korean people on the street, they’d be so nice and apologise and give us free stuff.


“Being in Seoul Definity made up for leaving the Jamboree because we had a really good time there and saw lots of cool stuff, we went to the blue house, hired traditional dresses and the other Devon units made Kimchi.”


On the 15th of August Leila and the rest of the scouts arrived home to Devon safely, expressing their gratitude to the UK contingency and their scout leaders. The next Jamboree will be held in 2027, the organisation will be taking no risks, in attempt to avoid recreating this year’s catastrophe.


Vicki said: “Despite the challenges Leila had a great time and learnt more life lessons through this experience than she would have if it had all gone smoothly.”