The Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Pakistan organised a transformational nine-day virtual camporee for Junior and Girl Guides. Around 602 Guides from seven different countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, UAE, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique participated in the camporee which focused on exploring models of advocacy, social entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability. The camp was divided into two groups including Junior Guides aged six to 11 and Girl Guides aged 11 to 16. The first virtual camporee was held in December 2020.

Maria Maud Sabri, National Commissioner, Pakistan Girl Guides Association, presided as the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony. In her opening remarks she said, “This pandemic has created uncertain situations resulting in a standstill in our social lives. This camporee is an excellent opportunity for Guides to learn exciting skills and make new friends virtually.”

The nine-day camporee’s activities were divided into five blocks focused on diverse skill sets. The objective was to enable Guides to showcase their abilities, develop technical proficiencies to understand and face modern-day challenges and learn creative competencies as well as the self-exploring cycle of preparing for the future.

Sharing her experience, a Guide mentioned, “I have learnt many new things. The session on Health and Wellbeing was fantastic. I learnt new things about maintaining my mental health and worked through my feelings using art therapy. I will use this technique whenever I am sad or anxious. In the Islamic Art and Architecture workshop, I learnt about different buildings around the world! On game night, playing the scavenger hunt was fun and the magic show was just mind blowing!”

The camporee also encouraged Guides to learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how our actions as humans are causing climate change in the world, which result in food insecurity and affect the world’s biodiversity. Due to water pollution, underwater life is affected. Guides were asked to explore daily items which affect our environment. Moreover, a discussion about the importance of eating healthy and responsible consumption of food in adequate quantity, quality and variety was conducted. Through an online survey from the BBC website, Guides calculated their environmental footprint and how they can use food responsibly to reduce carbon emission. Guides also realized the concept of food scarcity and thus were encouraged to become responsible global citizens.

Raiqa Damani, an enthusiastic participant at the camporee mentioned, “I learned a lot about Aerospace. The Career Clinic was an excellent opportunity to learn about new fields in a fun way. In my experiential workshop, I made a scrunchy and a mask.”

On the concluding day, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy of SOC Films, a journalist, filmmaker, activist and two-time Academy Award recipient, praised the Girl Guides movement and appreciated their community service which empowers girls and helps them do wonders. She ended her remarks by saying, “If a door is not opened for you, you mustn't have kicked it hard. Therefore, make sure that in being a woman you do everything you can and face challenges. Know that these challenges mean nothing when you succeed.” She also mentioned that when one feels demotivated, think of family and friends cheering for you.

Sharing her thoughts, Shams Jeewa, Girl Guides President, AKYSB stated, “This camporee is preparing our young girls to advocate for change and prepare them as global citizens of the world. They will play an active role in the community and will work to make the planet more peaceful and sustainable, with equality and fairness at the forefront.”

The 2nd Global Virtual Camporee concluded on the 25th of July with a virtual closing ceremony under the supervision of Farhana Azim, National President, Pakistan Girl Guides Association. In her address she mentioned, “No matter where a Guide resides, all of them are equal under the Institution of Guiding and they must recognize who they are in order to gain strength to do wonders in their lives and become the change-makers that our world needs today.”