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WORLD SCOUT JAMBOREE SOUTH KOREA 2023: LESSONS TO BE LEARNT?



Kristin Sayers from the U.S. state of Virginia said her 17-year-old son Corey's dream to take part in the jamboree, at a cost of $6,500, "He's very aware of how much money that is and the sacrifices we made as a family to send him. We could've done so much with that money."


The 25th World Scout Jamboree, a major event which enables the younger population to fulfill their dreams, make connections with people from different cultures was scheduled to be held from 1st August-12th August 2023 in SaeManGeum, Jeollabuk-do, South Korea. However, it was not possible to conduct the event through its full schedule and at the chosen location due to two major factors namely a punishing heat wave and a typhoon heading towards the region. Read about the news here.


Any Large scale or flagship event an organization wants to conduct especially if it is outdoors, it is important to undergo a site risk assessment. As an organizer you should be aware of the various risks that could affect your ability to conduct the event. In this blog we will be analyzing the reasons for the failure of the 25th World Scout Jamboree and how organizations can secure their events by conducting a site risk assessment.


WHAT IS THE WORLD SCOUT JAMBOREE?

“I have over and over again explained that the purpose of the Boy Scout and Girl Guide Movement is to build men and women as citizens endowed with the three H’s namely, Health, Happiness, and Helpfulness. The man or woman who succeeds in developing these three attributes has secured the main steps to success in this Life. “- Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Worldwide Scout Movement


The World Scout Jamboree is organized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement and is attended by several tens of thousands of scouts from across the world and they are between the ages of 14-17. Scouting is basically a form of informal education with emphasis on outdoor activities like camping, hiking and sports etc., and Jamboree means a large gathering of scouts.


FAILURE OF WORLD SCOUT JAMBOREE

“We feel let down by the organizers because we repeatedly raised some of these concerns before we went, and during, and we were promised things were going to be put in place and they weren’t.” Matt Hyde, Chief Executive, Scouts, UK


Now coming to the reasons for its failure, though there are multiple reasons which can be attributed to the failure of the Jamboree two major factors identified were the heat wave and the Typhoon on its way to South Korea.

1. Heatwave Risk Assessment

  • At the campsite, temperatures rose to 35 degrees where almost 40,000 scouts from across the world were present.

  • There were many cases of heat exhaustion reported at the campsite and many scouts were treated for heat related ailments.

  • Earlier the South Korean authorities raised the heatwave alert to the highest level in 4 years.

2. Typhoon Khanun

  • Typhoon Khanun moving towards South Korea had caused the event to be cancelled and evacuations have been conducted to move the scouts out of the storm’s path.

  • The Typhoon was expected to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds to the region.

The above two events were majorly responsible for the failure of the World Scout Jamboree.


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE TO AVOID THIS?

The motto of the Scout movement is ‘Be prepared’.

A simple risk assessment of the site could have been done before scheduling the event.

  • Risk is defined = V*T where V=Vulnerability and T=Threat and in this case the threat will be the typhoon whereas vulnerability will be the campsite near the sea.

  • A site risk assessment is a thorough look at the workplace to identify those things, situations, processes, etc., that may cause harm, particularly to people, infrastructure, assets, or business operations directly or indirectly.

  • After identification, they are analyzed and evaluated on what would be the likelihood of the occurrence of these risks and if they occur, what would be the severity.

The following steps if had been taken then the event would not have been cancelled.

1. Heatwave Risk Assessment

  • Ensuring protection of life is the priority of an organization. Anything that threatens the life of the participants could be detrimental to the organization. Generally, the month of August falls in the summer season in South Korea with average temperatures ranging from 25 degrees to 30 degrees.

  • A site risk if it is done, then this threat would have been easily identified and the organizers would have considered an alternate month or would have ensured adequate measures to prevent the heatwave from impacting the participants.

2. Typhoon Risk Assessment

  • Now coming to the Typhoon, its season in South Korea lasts from April to September and data indicates that major typhoons have hit the region in the period of July, August, and September. So, if July, August, and September are major typhoon months then why was the event conducted in August knowing that there is a real and credible threat of a typhoon based on historical data and established facts.

  • A Simple Site Risk Assessment would have raised the alarm. The event could have been held once the major typhoon season was over.

3. Location Risk Assessment

  • The location of the campsite is SaeManGeum which is basically located on the coast of the Yellow Sea. The location itself poses risk as it is near the sea and could be vulnerable to high tides.

  • As typhoon season is ongoing, hosting an event next to the sea with risk of high tides is not an ideal choice to make. On top of it as the typhoon is expected to hit South Korea, this location is extremely vulnerable.

  • Considering the location, a site risk would have recommended the campsite to be away from the sea to prevent the threat of the typhoon as the typhoon season was ongoing.

CONCLUSION

The early closing of the Scouts Jamboree not only impacted the organizing body’s reputation but also raised serious questions about their planning process. Imagine if due to the heatwave there would have been large scale loss of life, had it happened then it would have been detrimental to the event’s credibility. Whenever human life is involved for any event, it is important to do a thorough and comprehensive risk assessment of the location so that you as an organizer are not caught off guard due to the threats and have an action plan in place well in advance.

The Scout motto is to be prepared but, in this situation, looks like the motto was not followed in its true spirit.


Gorisco has a wide range of experts who are experienced in defining and designing various solutions to help organizations mitigate their risks and resolve their problems.

At Gorisco, our motto is 'Embedding Resilience’, and we are committed to making the organizations and their workforce resilient. Reach out to us if you have any queries, clarifications, or need any support on your initiatives.

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