Failing transformation

From 1957 until the early 1990’s, Scouting had developed an event to bring scouts all across the world virtually together. About 1 million scouts took part in the Jamboree On The Air. A virtual camp weekend, facilitated by radio amateurs.

Technologies come and go. Scouts were very keen to incorporate the emerging internet into the event. Where in the past the availability of radio amateurs was a limiting factor, now every Scout could participate. The internet also offered more features than amateur radio.

Countries like Brazil developed successful JOTI-activities. As a result 50% of the Brazilan scouts took part in JOTA-JOTI. In comparison: globally about 5% of the scouts is taking part in 2022.

Scouting had with JOTA an unique virtual event. Why did the transformation to JOTA-JOTI fail?

The main reason was resistance of the JOTA-enthusiasts, who saw “their” amateur radio activity threatened. While the objective of JOTA-JOTI is to bring scouts together. The medium (radio or internet) is just a means. 

WOSM was very quick to recognise JOTI as an official event, already in 1996. These early days internet was for nerds, but in 2006 JOTI was in size already larger than JOTA.

The official JOTA-JOTI Reports show nothing of this all. Until 2006 the report was still called the World JOTA Report. For many years the editor, the World JOTA Coordinator, refused to change the name. 

After the name change the World JOTA Coordinator insisted to remain the editor. As a result the report was mainly about JOTA, not reflecting the new reality.

The World JOTI Coordinator was frustrated that all his proposals were rejected and obstructed by the World JOTA Coordinator. So in 2011 he launched the JOTA-JOTI Vision 2015 Program. The objective was to grow the number of participants from 1 million to 3 million by 2015. This program received unanimous support from the National JOTA and JOTI Coordinators. The World JOTA Coordinator had no choice than to approve this program.

The World JOTI Team was keen to involve JOTA, but the World JOTA Coordinator showed little interest. The Brazilian JOTI team presented their JOTI Challenge. Everyone agreed this game was the virtual game that would easily grow JOTA-JOTI to new heights. In Brazil half of all youth members took part in this game! If WOSM could achieve half this percentage, 10 million scouts would take part in JOTA-JOTI. 

The game was played on a global level in 2012 and was a great success. Then the World Scout Committee decided to fire the World JOTI Team. The arguments were vague: it was decided to go into another direction. The World JOTA Coordinator was appointed as World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator. He created a World JOTA-JOTI Team consisting of over 50% radio amateurs (while by now JOTA was less than 20% of the total participation).

The World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator demanded the former World JOTI Team to hand over their game and website domains. The World JOTI Team refused. The software was developed by volunteers, run on servers and domains paid by volunteers. In the past all requests for budgets were ignored by the World Scout Bureau.

The former World JOTI Team had put a lot of volunteer work in the game and decided to offer it as a grassroots initiative to all scouts world wide together with the Brazilian JOTI team and a lot of other volunteers. 

It was a great success. The activities of the new World JOTA-JOTI Team were not interactive and got little interest. The World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator should be pleased that at least there was one successful activity. But instead, he attacked the game and the volunteers behind the game. The game was dangerous and the organisation could not be trusted. When asked for clarification the World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator did not reply.

By 2016 JOTA-JOTI had not grown since the World JOTI Team was fired. The World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator got a target to achieve 3 million participants. After a poorly organised Radio Scouting and Internet Seminar in 2016 and 2017 the World JOTA-JOTI Coordinator was finally replaced.

The World JOTA-JOTI Report was no longer published. All information about the number of JOTA-JOTI participants disappeared from the internet. From the number of groups registered in the WOSM database it can be estimated that the total number of participants is not exceeding 3 million.