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Boscoree: Binding the Indian youth together

Scouts and girl guides

BOSCOREE (a word coined from Bosco and Jambo) is a mammoth gathering of Scouts and Guides from Salesian Institutions across India, with Don Bosco and Baden Powell (Founder, Scout Movement) as their mentor-inspirer/icons.

From its inception in 1974 to 2015, twelve BOSCREEs have been organised at different locations in the country. The 13th BOSCOREE will be held in Nashik, Maharashtra, from 30th December 2018 to 3rd January 2019, with the theme Holiness, Harmony and Health. It will bring together on December 29 over 4500 (the largest-ever in the history of BOSCOREE) boy scouts and girl guides between the ages of 12 to 16, who will turn the ancient city of Nashik into a fortress of youth power and adventure.

Don Bosco
Friend and Teacher of Youth
Illustration of Don Bosco with children
Don Bosco (16 August 1815-31 January 1888) knew how to rob the hearts of the young. “Hi, young guy, do you know to whistle?” That was sufficient to knit a lifelong friendship between Don Bosco and Bartholomew Garalli. This was the beginning of a bond of lasting friendships with needy youngsters. As an adolescent, Johnny gathered around him several children and kept them mesmerized with his charming stories, amazing tricks and acrobatics all set to bring out the best in them.
Don Bosco was a multifaceted man — priest, friend of the young and poor, educator, founder, social activist, healer, author, saint. Fr Jack Finnegan, SDB, summarized it beautifully: “He was a man aflame with a glowing fire shining through myriad activities, talents and gifts; truly a man of God wrapped in an ecstasy of love-filled and hope-filled action with a worldwide reach.” In his friendship and affection to youth, Don Bosco remained always the zealous educator.
Motivated by a great love for youth, he said, “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live and for you I am ready even to give my life.” On 1 April 1934, Pope Pius XI declared Don Bosco a saint; “a giant of sanctity”.
Today the sons and daughters of St Don Bosco are spread all over the world. They are passionately engaged in accompanying the young to help them to blossom into fullness.
In the large crowd at BOSCOREE 2018, one will witness the living presence of Don Bosco in his sons and daughters and in the thousands of young students who come from all corners of the country who carry on his ideals and his untiring dedication to the young.

The celebration of BOSCOREE this year will coincide with the 40th year of the Salesian presence (Don Boco institutions) in Nashik. The event, this year, will be jointly hosted by Don Bosco Bhavan, Divydaan, Salesian Training Institute, the two Auxilium Sisters’ Communities, and the Ursuline Sisters of Kilbil School, all in Nashik.

The first-ever Don Bosco Scout Troop was started by the Salesian Priests in 1944, as part of Don Bosco Oratory and Youth Centre, Broadway, Chennai. Six years later, in 1950, the Irish missionary Fr Sean McFerran, who was popularly known as “the Sporting Padre”, opened another Scout Unit at Don Bosco School, Matunga, Mumbai.

Gradually, numerous Don Bosco Scout troops sprang up as part of Don Bosco Schools across the country. Soon enough the schools run by Auxilium Sisters, part of the Don Bosco Family, with their girl guides too joined the bandwagon, infusing more life, energy and spirit to the initiative.

Within a few years, the new initiative evolved into what came to be known as the Don Bosco Scouts and Guides Movement. In 1966, a gathering of the Don Bosco Scouts and Guides was organised at Kovalam on the shore of the Arabian Sea. The next gathering was held at Doddaballapur in 1974 by the students of Kristu Jyothi College, Bangalore, with just 600 students participating.

The next gathering of Don Bosco Scouts and Guides held in 1976 at Matunga, Mumbai, was really historic. It was here that the gathering was called BOSCOREE for the first time. The basic goal of the BOSCOREE is to offer young people the opportunity to be self-oriented, other-oriented, and divine-oriented through responsible fun, collaboration and adventure, to serve and to lead as Scouts under the banner of Don Bosco India Scouting Movement.

Scouts and girl guides marching
The logo
Logo of the 13th Boscoree held at Nashik in December 2018
The left side of the logo in blue is the outline of the western region of India and more specifically the outline of the Mumbai province.

The dove with the olive branch symbolises peace and the wings signify the span of Salesian India across states and the entire Salesian family.

The triple words refer to the theme of the 13th National Boscoree, ‘Holiness-Harmony-Health’, signifying the great commandment of love of God, Others and Self.

The white background symbolises holiness.

The words, 13th BOSCOREE, signifies the gathering of the Don Bosco Salesian Scouts and Guides of India.

Nashik 2018-19 refers to the scheduled dates and venue.

The Bharat Scouts and Guides logo and the ‘A’ depicted as a tent in Nashik, represents the commitment of the Scouts to be ready to humanize the great commandment of love through a camping experience.

As mentioned earlier, BOSCOREE is a hybrid term between BOSCO and JAMBO (a word used by Lord Baden Powel) coined to mean that we are all here united under the BOSCO scouting banner: coming together, camping together, sharing together, interacting with each other, thus cementing friendships. Each BOCOREE has its special theme and logo.

Even though with each gathering the number of participants increased, increasing also the expenses involved in organising the event, the spirit of fellowship, adventure and service and the experience of unity in diversity continues to be the very hallmark of every BOSCOREE.

BOSCOREE is intrinsically linked with the worldwide scout movement founded by Lord Baden Powell in 1907. Scouting instils confidence and self-esteem in young people by teaching them life skills and leadership skills.

Each scout learns through various activities the art of team-building, how to make right choices and to take responsibility for their actions.

Scouting develops in the young self-knowledge, the need to explore and to discover the world beyond their classrooms. This is what Don Bosco Scouts and Guides Movement tries to reinforce at one BOSCOREE after another. The 13th BOSCOREE, which begins at Nashik on December 30 will be no exception to this.

Scouts constructing a platform

13th National Boscoree Prayer

O God of the Universe, and Lord of all life,
We come before You to seek
Your grace and strength,
As we prepare ourselves for the 13th BOSCOREE,
In the true spirit of Lord Baden Powell,
And the charismatic predilection of our founders:
Don Bosco and Mother Mazzarello for the young.

Help us to ‘be prepared’
As we journey anew on our path
To live healthy lives;
Be ambassadors of harmony
Among all people, and with nature,
And be friends of the Divine in
Our quest for holiness of life.

Pour out Your blessings and spirit
On the organizers and participants of the 13th BOSCOREE.

We ask this of the Creator and Lover of all beings,
In Whom we truly believe in!

Lord Robert Baden-Powell
Founder of the Boy Scout Movement

Painting of Lord Baden Powell in a scout uniform

Born in London on 22 February 1857, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell or ‘B-P’ received his early education from his mother, and later won a scholarship to the prestigious Charterhouse School. BP preferred the outdoors to the classroom and spent much of his time sketching wildlife and learning basic scouting skills while hiding in the woods around the school.

After completing his education, B-P took the army entrance exam and was commissioned into the 13th Hussars. In 1876, as a young army officer in India, he specialised in scouting, map-making and reconnaissance. But it was in Africa during the Second Boer War that his reputation was made. As a Lieutenant-General, he led a British garrison defending the town of Mafeking against 5,000 Boer soldiers, holding them off for 217 days until reinforcements arrived. The siege allowed him to test his scouting skills, and the courage and ingenuity shown by his young soldiers made a lasting impression on him.

Returning home a national hero in 1903, B-P discovered that the handbook he had written for soldiers, Aids to Scouting, was being used by youth leaders and teachers all over the country. He reworked the book for youth, and in 1907 organised a camp on Brownsea Island, bringing together 22 boys from diverse social backgrounds. It was the start of the Scout Movement; an event commemorated with a foundation stone on the island. Scouting for Boys (1908) has since been translated into all the world’s major languages and has sold around 150 million copies.

In 1909, the first National Scout Rally held at Crystal Palace was attended by 11,000 boys. This led to the formation in 1910 of a parallel organisation, the Girl Guides, run by his sister Agnes.

In 1910, B-P retired from the army, travelling the world to inspire young people to join scouting. In 1920, 8000 Scouts from 34 countries gathered for the first World Scout Jamboree at which B-P was acclaimed the Chief Scout of the World, a title he held until his death on 8 January 1941 in Nyeri, Kenya where he had lived for some years.

In his farewell message to Scouts published only after his death, B-P wrote: “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it.”

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Dr Teresa Joseph, FMA, is a Salesian Sister who holds a Master’s degree in Science of Education. She has authored several books including Dream Big, Dream True and Teachers Are Like Stars published by Better Yourself Books.

Dr Teresa Joseph

Dr Teresa Joseph, FMA, is a Salesian Sister who holds a Master’s degree in Science of Education. She has authored several books including Dream Big, Dream True and Teachers Are Like Stars published by Better Yourself Books.