Unity in Diversity – Let’s Embrace Our Differences’ was the theme of the sixth boy scouts and girl guides camporee organised by the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board, Pakistan. The camp was held at Pakistan Boys Scouts Association headquarters, Sumbal Park, Islamabad. An astounding 255 boy scouts and 286 girl guides from all over the country attended the camp. 

The camp was arranged in partnership with the Emergency Department of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), the Ismaili Tariqah and Religious Education Board (ITREB), the Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB), the Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB), the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association, and Accelerate Prosperity - a new Aga Khan Development Network initiative to promote entrepreneurship in rural and semi-rural areas.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. The camporee was the most memorable and unique experience of my life,” said Silmi Sultaan, a senior guide from the Southern Region.   

The four-day camp, comprising different activities and events, provided a holistic experience to its participants. Some examples of these activities included first aid training, gadget making workshops, a talent show, adventure trails, clay work by National College of Arts alums, photography workshop, and a simulation activity on the Sustainable Development Goals. A campfire night was also held with theater and cultural performances.

The participants also went on a cultural excursion trip in Islamabad. They hiked at the Rawal Lake, visited the Shah Faisal Mosque, the Pakistan Monument, and played a scavenger hunt at the Lok Virsa. 

The camporee also marked 71 years of the investiture ceremony of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah as the first chief scout of Pakistan, as well as the centenary celebration of Rovers. The event was celebrated with a cake-cutting ceremony, speeches, and a cleanliness drive by the Boy Scouts Association of Pakistan.

Several Jamati institutions held an information session for the young participants. The Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan conducted a career session and the Aga Khan Health Board Pakistan provided tips on stress management. The Emergency Department of AKAH organised a session on disaster preparedness. Rizwan Kareem from ITREBP gave a session on ethics and faith. Accelerate Prosperity presented a session on the topic, ‘What is the Business Model of Your Life?’

The participants garnered a lot of inspiration from the camporee events. Moiz Majeed, a boy scout from Multan, enthused, “Attending the camporee was like a dream come true for me. It was a lot of fun spending time with a completely diverse group and learning about the different forms of survival tips. I also enjoyed learning about clay art, first aid, and gadgets made up of solar energy. I have learned a lot from this camp which will stay fresh in my mind.

A first-time camporee participant, Ahsun Ranais from the Ishkomen Puniyal region, said, “I arrived at the camp not quite knowing what to expect and it was definitely a new experience for me. I learned a lot from the different sessions. I developed a meaningful relationship with the camp staff and my fellow campers.

The camporee manifested the unity of the Ismaili Jamat under the banner of community service, which is a salient trait of the community. It is a commendable effort on AKYSB’s part to inculcate the celebration and continuation of service amongst young Jamati members through well-organized events like the camporee.