Jamboree 2008 with 12,500 scouts will be the largest held in State


SCOUTING IRELAND (SI) is hoping revellers at the Oxegen music festival in Punchestown, Co Kildare will be on their best behaviour this weekend - as €250,000 worth of site facilities are being left behind by music promoters MCD to help the scouting association's mammoth jamboree at the same venue early next month.

MCD is donating lighting, shower, toilet, fencing and other key infrastructure to the group to cater for Jamboree 2008, which was launched yesterday. The biggest gathering of national and international scouts here, it will be attended by 12,500 young people.

SI is this year celebrating the 100th anniversary of scouting on the island of Ireland, and the historic jamboree event takes place on August 2nd-10th.

About 150 scouts aged over 17 are also in attendance at Oxegen this weekend, helping people to fix their tents. Concert fans will be charged €5 for assistance, and the cash will be split between SI and The Salvation Army.

Last year, €5,000 was made via the initiative. SI said tents and sleeping bags left behind will be washed and given to the homeless.

Scout patrol leader Brian Burke (14) from Ballinteer in Dublin said he will miss out on the jamboree as his troop will be in Austria, but the wannabe fireman said being in the scouts was "great fun".

SI is also working on a new project with a small NGO aiding poor African children, Friends in Ireland, which was co-founded by RTÉ broadcaster Marian Finucane. The collaboration - a fundraising drive called Get Knotted - involves skilled knot-tying demonstrations. Members of the public are asked to donate €2 or more during the campaign.

A TV, radio, press, and outdoor advertising promotion for Get Knotted begins on Wednesday.

SI's Pauline Lucas said it is hoped that up to €500,000 will be raised for Ms Finucane's charity, and that it will lead to a record-breaking attempt to create the world's biggest knot.

Knots such as the bowline, clove hitch, figure-of-eight and sheepshank knot will be shown during the initiative, said Ms Lucas, adding that the scouts was not just about "sausages and beans, polishing shoes and bob-a-job".

There are about 43,000 members of SI, and each one will be provided with one metre of rope - provided free by Woodie's DIY - for demonstrations during Get Knotted.

Marian Finucane said yesterday that children who are "heads of household of scouting age and who have absolutely nothing", would benefit from the money collected.