All of you are aware that one of the global Scouting events organized internationally is World Jamborees. These take place every four years in different locations. While a World Jamboree is a once in a lifetime experience, it is very expensive to participate and therefore out of reach for most people. World Jamborees are also only available to a limited number of members because of youth participant age restrictions.
Did you know that about 700,000 young people and their leaders from around the world meet each other over the airwaves every year? They participate in Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). JOTA is the only other global Scouting events organized internationally every year. It is an exciting way to make new friends, share Scouting experiences and broaden horizons. JOTA has none of the disadvantages of the World Jamborees. It costs little, has no limit to the numbers participating and almost any member of the organization can join without leaving his or her hometown. It enables members of all ages from around the world to talk to each other on an equal footing irrespective of nationality, religion, politics, position in the organization or length of service.
In India the Scout and Guides one can speak on an amateur radio under the supervision of a licensed operator during the period of JOTA. In some countries only licensed Radio Amateurs are permitted to speak on the air. However, as the operators in these countries have a genuine interest in Scouting as well as radio communications, they will likely ask the same sorts of questions that you would ask. You and your youth will find it very interesting to listen to these exchanges.
Usually thousands of stations in many countries take part in JOTA and it is possible to contact a fairly wide selection of participating groups during the weekend. Often contact is made with members in every part of the world as well as those in your neighbouring town.
Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) always takes place on the third full weekend in October. The World Scout Bureau announces the dates on their web site. Dates are also available from BSG’s national/state/District Office and web site.
JOTA commences at 00.00 hours local time on Saturday and closes down at 24.00 hours on Sunday. The amount of time you and your group give to the exercise is governed by your circumstances and rests largely with the Radio Amateur in charge of the equipment.
If you know names and addresses of radio amateurs in your area, approach them to see if they are interested in helping you organize a local event. If you don’t have this information, feel free to contact us. We can do the best possible.
It is up to you to make the initial approach. Radio amateurs are very enthusiastic about their hobby and many are willing to help. Any radio amateur with an interest in Scouting can help by having youth members and their leaders visit his/her station for a period during the weekend or by setting up a station at a local Scout location. Should you be approached first, remember that this is a great opportunity and if you do decide to take part, support it with enthusiasm.