Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae has come a long way since his days as a Cub Scout and it was in his role as Chief Scout that he visited New Zealand's 20th Scout Jamboree at Manfeild Park in Feilding yesterday.
Sir Jerry was the guest of honour at a function where he met 70 Scouts who had achieved the organisation's highest honour, the Chief Scout's Award. The media was told he was not available for interviews because he was there for the youth attending the jamboree.
Scouting New Zealand national commissioner Kelly Bleakley said Sir Jerry had been a Cub Scout when he was younger and he took time to speak to each award recipient during his visit. She said he was pleased to be on site and was looking forward to going walkabout to see the different activities and the gateways to each troop's camp.
"He spoke a lot about Scouts in the wider sense, how it will affect their lives, not just here at the jamboree but in their adult lives," said Bleakley.
"He mentioned that all the people who have been to the moon but one have been Eagle Scouts, and he said John Key, David Beckham and Barack Obama had all been Scouts."
A total of 3200 Scouts are on site, plus an additional 1100 adults. The budget to run the jamboree this year is $2.5 million, which covers the food, site hire and activities.
"Every day is a new day here, there is so much going on and they treat each day as it comes - weather-wise, activity-wise, and people-wise. They are all so happy and excited and looking forward to the next activity or doing something for the first time," said Bleakley.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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