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Jamboree Report: Boys (and Girls) from All Over

posted Aug 14, 2010, 6:54 AM by Ralph Heredia
by Bill Edge.
Well, today is day 9 of the 2010 Boy Scout National Jamboree, 100th Anniversary, where 45,000 plus Scouts and Scouters have ascended upon Fort A.P. Hill just outside, Virginia, near Washington DC.  And what a week it has been!  Monday morning, July 26, beginning at 0600, busses started arriving with boys and girls in all Scouting Programs from all over the world for the most exciting event in recent Scouting history.  The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th birthday this year and looking back, we have come a long way.  As you can imagine there are displays and activities that not only span the roots of the BSA, but exciting events that project Scouting in the future!  Everything from Pioneering of the early days to NASA Space Exploration over the next century is on display for the world to partake.  Our boys are learning black powder muzzle loading to making real arrowheads, to the latest solar panel technology and everything in between.

It doesn't take long for one to realize that Scouting in today's world is still relevant to the life we live and the global nature of our economy and social interactions.  The principles upon which Scouting was founded are being taught and lived daily by many who represent all generations including the next generation of young people coming behind us.

Although, I must tell you that the next generation of boys and girls are immersed in a world that is far more complex than many of us have ever experienced.  For instance, at the Jamboree this year there are kiosks and areas staged with IPODs and Cell phone charging stations, internet Wi-Fi throughout the camp and a computerized Merit Badge system that accounts for each requirement completed (or partially completed) to record the progress of the boys achievements while here.  Broadcast throughout many venues across the campus is the sound of QBSA radio station that features Scouts as the radio personnel spinnin' the vinyl (Oops!, I mean CD's!).  And don't think your boys are being out-done, because we have had four of our Scouts from the Blue Ridge Council "Live, On the Air!  On Scouting's most exciting radio station of the Century!"

So, living in tents, with no electricity, makeshift showers and latrines, sweltering heat (no air conditioning), and the best transportation system is your own two feet, has not hampered the spirit of the contingent!  Why, I would even say that the spirit of the boys has been enhanced by the experiences of the week.  This environment has bolstered the ideals of Scouting to a place higher than you could imagine.  And in the midst of all of the excitement and activity, one realizes that these kids are really all the same.  They have similar needs, desires, wants, fears and experiences.  I have had the opportunity to talk to Scouts and Scouters from all over the world this week getting to know where they are from and what their likes, dislikes, favorite things, backgrounds, and current struggles are.  I have met Scouts from Sweden, Texas, California, Canada, Egypt and many other states and countries.  And what I have discovered is that kids are kids.  Regardless of their backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, or situation, they want someone to care in what they are doing.  They want someone to listen to their story.  They don't have the barriers of prejudice or intolerance.  They thrive on someone who takes interest in them.  From my son, to the kid from Alabama that got his patches stolen, to one of our boys that traded a shirt off his back with the kid from Bangladesh as a souvenir, they each have a story to tell.  And if we listen, we find that their plight is the same.  No matter what state, what country, what continent, they need that connection and input so that they recognize that although we are different, we are the same.  Scouting provides a vehicle we can use to connect to our young people.  It gives us an open door to their world; a place to encourage, to challenge, to direct.  It also provides a set of principles that are known and understood world-wide.  The Scout Oath and Scout Law are universal tenants that ground us and bind us together.  Regardless of your religion, race or creed, we speak a common language of Character, Citizenship and Fitness.  Achievement, Encouragement, Hard Work, Integrity, Values, Respect, Pride, and LIFE!  Whether in Scouting or not, we each have an opportunity to connect to this generation.  We are the link, the example, the mentors and teachers.  No matter what your background, experience, or pre-conceptions, we have one reality we face.  Every one of us will leave a legacy behind.  We get to choose whether that legacy is filled with good or bad.  We get to choose now whether our legacy will have an impact or not.  Yes, no matter which you choose, your legacy will be left behind and when we are done, we are done.

But the good news is that it is simple.  A word at the bus stop, a smile in the grocery store line, a listening ear to a youth trying to reach out, and a note or a word of encouragement that says you noticed something good is all it takes.  Whether the kid is from Asia, Mexico, Tennessee, Anderson County, or Powdersville, they need us to care.  They need us to break down the barriers first.  They need us to connect.  Let me say in our world today that the boys (and girls) from all over are connecting in ways we will never comprehend.  We have an opportunity now to shape their world.  Take a minute to care for the boys (and girls) from all over in your world!
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