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International Jamboree Attracts 11,000 Scouts

About 1,000 scouts from abroad are among the 11,000 youngsters attending the Kilke camp in the Evo wilderness area of Hämeenlinna, southern Finland.

Leiriläisiä Evolla
Image: Sari Törmikoski / Yle

Known as a jamboree, Kilke includes half a dozen sub-camps. They are spread across the Evo Camping Centre for Youth, which encompasses some 100 hectares including two lakes.

Most of the foreign campers are from Europe, but there are some from as far afield as Thailand, Brazil and Australia.

According to the camp's director of international affairs, Virpi Väyrynen, those from abroad are particularly attracted by Finland's nature.

She says the youngsters arriving from abroad were all met at the airport and receive special attention throughout the nine-day camp, which ends on Thursday, August 5. The camp has three official languages: Finnish, Swedish and English.

Most of the participants are aged 12 to 22. Those under 12 are taking part in a family camp.

Väyrynen stresses that internationalism is a central part of the scouting movement. She says that organisers are ensuring that the foreign attendees take part in as many activities as possible shoulder-to-shoulder with the Finns -- at least as much as is linguistically feasible.

The foreigners seem to be making efforts to mingle. For instance, a British contingent has been serving tea and cucumber sandwiches every afternoon at 4.

Three Treated for Burns

Activities range from orienteering and swimming to updating camp blogs and newspapers.

The only significant mishap came on Friday when a portable cooker ignited, causing burns to three Finnish campers. Two were only slightly injured, but the third required hospitalisation.

The Kilke Finnjamboree is held once every six years. This year's event marks the 100th anniversary of the scouting movement in Finland.

There are about 850 local troops in Finland, including some 70,000 scouts. Altogether there are an estimated 38 million scouts worldwide. The movement was founded in 1907 in Britain by Robert Baden-Powell.

Sources: YLE

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