Exchanging Gifts: Exploring the Scouting Swap Culture

On the west side of the activity grounds, right next to the Iloilo Contingency Camp, you may see a group of scouts huddled over, checking out a tarpaulin sheet on the ground covered with a colorful assortment of badges, neckerchiefs, slides, patches, caps, uniforms, and all sorts of scouting paraphernalia.

“How much?” asked one inquisitive scout.

“No,” clarified the scout watching over the makeshift shop. “This is for swap.”

A swap, explained Eagle Scout Kyzel Dagdag of the Iloilo (Confesor) Council, is a scouting tradition where scouts in a jamboree exchange items, usually scouting-related trinkets, with each other. Both parties discuss their items for exchange, and when a terms have been resolved, the goods change hands.

“It could be a neckerchief for a neckerchief or two slides for a necker,” described Dagdag “could even swap your Type A’s if you want,” adding that even everyday items such as locally made souvenirs could also be traded.

“We swap for memorabilias, souvenirs, memories, and experience,” added Indonesian Scout Ilyan Faris Muharrad, from Bandung City, West Java, who is also into swapping, with his 27 fellow delegates led by troop leader Nia Kurniati Sapari, also setting up shop near their camp.

“The swap has a lot of meaning,” explained Ilyan, who, although a professed beginner, has already gathered a fistful of badges through his exchanges with his sibling scouts.

On the other hand, Kyzel is a pro, with an extensive collection of scouting knickknacks from all over the world, with his pride being his 22nd World Scout Jamboree neckerchief which he got in Sweden in 2011.

“When they come back to their school,” explained Ilyan’s troop leader Ms. Nia Kurniati Sapari, “their friends will ask them, and they will tell their stories and experiences.”

After finding out about each other, both the Ilongos and Indonesians have met up to help each other out in their common goal, hopeful that their other sibling scouts in the Jamboree will do the same.

“When we swap,” said Ilyan, “we learn about each other’s culture and way of life”.  EDWIN OSCAR GUTIERREZ, JR./CIO Tagum

TRADITION. Indonesian and Filipino Scouts swap items. Leo Timogan