The Uganda Scouts Association is bracing itself for the annual scouts’ camp scheduled to begin on Friday, August, 23 to 29 at Kazi in Wakiso district.
Addressing journalists at his office in Kampala, the State Minister for Works, Gen.Katumba Wamala, who also doubles as the chief commissioner of the Uganda Scouts Association said they expect between 3500 and 4000 participants for the week-long activities.
“Participants will be drawn from all parts of the country between the ages of 10 up to 26. They will attend in their schools,” Gen.Katumba said.
He underscored the need for schools to send children to the scouts’ annual camp noting that apart from keeping them busy during the holidays, it is another way of bringing together children from various parts of the country.
“Every culture and tribe is represented at the camp and it is an opportunity to interact with their peers. It is a good opportunity for a child from Northern Uganda to interact and get a friend from Western Uganda,” Gen.Katumba said.
“Besides that, children are taught integrity, love for their country and being different from others. They are also given leadership skills from the scouts’ camp.”
According to the chief commissioner of the Uganda Scouts Association, apart from shaping children, this year’s annual camp will teach children menstrual hygiene, reproductive health, about the millennium development goals and how to prevent against HIV/AIDS.
A number of people have always argued that such camps are opportunities for government to politically orient children but according to Gen.Katumba Wamala, the aim of the camp is to shape children to be self -reliant.
“We teach the children to love themselves, learn to help their communities and eventually the love for the country develops. Ours is a world movement and has nothing related to politics,” he noted.
The State Minister for Works noted that the scouts’ movement had gone down in the past but noted they are working to revive the spirit, especially in schools.
This year’s scouts’ annual camp will be sponsored by Kaliro Sugar and Mukwano Industries Limited.
The Scout Movement was founded in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941), a soldier and artist who started with 20 boys in a camp.
In 2007, the Movement celebrated its centenary and the 21st World Scout Jamboree was held in the UK. Scouting is a movement that aims to support young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society, with a strong focus on the outdoors and survival skills