Jumbo’17 : Eco-Safari Sri Lanka
he Girl Guide and Boy Scouts movement established by Lord Robert Baden-Powell has become a stepping stone for many young boys and girls to take up leadership roles and develop their skills today. With an active participation of students and veterans in both these movements, this year the Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association (SLGGA) celebrates 100 years of excellence.
In view of its centenary celebrations, an exciting camping experience has been organized by the SLGGA itself with a ‘Jumbo’ theme and taking few steps further in conserving elephants and nature as a whole. At present, the Sri Lankan elephant has become a highly threatened species it’s our duty to protect this majestic being. Speaking about the event in detail, SLGGA Deputy Chief Commissioner Visakha Tillekeratne said that by joining this Movement, girls will be able to reunite themselves with basic goodness and value. “The elephant has a close connection to SLGGA especially because its emblem is also inspired by the elephant. Hence it highlights three qualities – empathy, social intelligence and self-awareness which are common to humans as well. Facts about the elephant as well as the threats and types of abuse it face will be highlighted during the camp. Elephants are abused physically by mahouts and they are being poached for ivory. Through the camp, Girl Guides are expected to send a message to the society as well as to the younger generation on the importance of conserving this species.”
The elephant is identified as a keystone species – in other words a dominant predator whose removal will allow a prey population to explode which in turn will affect the overall diversity. While the human-elephant conflict has dominated most parts of the island, as at present, both elephants and humans feel threatened. The camp will also quiz its participants on topics based on elephant conservation, the role of the elephant and other matters.
"The camp will also quiz its participants on topics based on elephant conservation, the role of the elephant and other matters. In addition, the Girl Guides will also be taken on adventure treks where they have to report about their experience to the daily newspaper which will be published during the camp"
In addition to these activities, the Girl Guides will also be taken on adventure treks where they have to report about their experience to the daily newspaper which will be published during the camp. Other activities include climbing the Sigiriya Rock and visiting other heritage monuments, Eco Hiking and engaging in rice paddy cultivation, cultural performances, Global Exchange and community development experiences. Eco-friendly concepts such as the 3R - Reduce, Recycle and Reuse will be encouraged among the participants. The Girl Guides will also be able to cook a meal on their own and also do many other activities in order to build team spirit.
In her comments, SLGGA Director- Communications Harshini Perera said that there are campaigns to stop violence, programmes to develop self-esteem and other projects to inculcate social values and establish a bond with the community as well. “We especially like to thank the support extended by Wajira Silva, Director – Camp of SLGGA Executive committee. Five objectives including independence, teamwork, healthy living, environmental awareness and rise to challenges have been identified and the participants are expected to fulfil each one of these. Therefore it will be a fun-filled event, coupled with education and building team spirit and raising awareness about elephants and other environmental issues.”
Back in 1917, the Girl Guide movement was introduced to Sri Lanka by Mrs. Jenny Greene, (then Miss Jenny Calverley) and the first Guide Company began from Girls’ High School, Kandy. Today there are over 60,000 Girl Guides island wide and numbers keep increasing, thus proving its positive impact on society.
Jumbo’17 : Eco-Safari Sri Lanka will be held from August 23-27 at the Sri Lanka Army Infantry Training Centre in Minneriya.