The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 21, 2013

National Jamboree hosting a sizable international contingent

By Brandi Underwood
Register-Herald Reporter

THE SUMMIT — Although it may be dubbed the 2013 National Jamboree and hosted by the Boy Scouts of America, the 10-day-long Scouting event has attendants from all over the world.

According to Matt Mowrer, BSA international hosting staff member, 24 countries are currently represented at the Summit by approximately 350 international Scouts, leaders and staff members.

It is Scouting courtesy for Scouting groups to invite Scouts from other countries to their events, explained Mowrer.

“We’re trying to promote the Scouting friendship,” said Mowrer. “Scouting is universal across all countries. We like to show what Scouting in America is like.”

Additionally, the BSA hopes that Scouts go home and spread the word on the Summit facility, thereby encouraging more international Scouts to attend the 2019 World Jamboree, explained Mowrer.

Cameron Lindsey, 16, of Venturing Troop F511C from Southern California, said he has had the opportunity to meet a ton of international Scouts at his camp, where both Venture Scouts and international Scouts are housed.

“It’s been really awesome to talk to them,” Lindsey said.  “A bunch of our guys traded uniforms with the Egyptians. They were super, super friendly.”

So far, Lindsey has met Scouts from Norway, Egypt, Scotland, Great Britain, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and South Korea.

“I always ask them what their country is like, what they pictured America to be like, how it compares, things like that,” said Lindsey.

“One of our guys asked the Ethiopians what they thought (it would be like here). They said, ‘Oh, we thought it would be like the Promised Land, but no, it’s much more humid than that!’” Lindsey told.

That made them all laugh, and they had to explain to them that it’s not this hot everywhere, he said.

Emil Lowengren, 17, and Johanna Ahnbo, also 17, are two of eight Swedish scouts attending the Jamboree.

Both have been enjoying the Jamboree and West Virginia so far.

“It’s a nice international feeling over it,” Lowengren said.

“We live with (troops from) Mexico, Hong Kong, Scotland, and Trinidad and Tobago,” said Ahnbo. “We get to know them and then we talk to a lot of Americans too. It’s fun.”

Along with meeting and interacting with Scouts from other countries, Scouts are able to learn about their cultures.

“I’ve learned a little bit of Spanish from the Mexicans,” said Ahnbo.

14-year-old Jimmy Root, also from Southern California Troop F511C, has been busy trading patches with the international Scouts.

This Jamboree has been the first time he has been around so many international kids his own age, he explained.

“It’s been really fun just getting to see the different people and learn the different things they do around the world,” Root said.