Scouting out their history

Peninsula scouts travel to the U.K. for program's 100th birthday

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2007


  Patches and neckerchiefs were some of the more sought after trading memorabilia at the 21st World Scout Jamboree in England held on the 100th anniversary of scouting. Photo courtesy of Cedar Cloyd, H

Patches and neckerchiefs were some of the more sought after trading memorabilia at the 21st World Scout Jamboree in England held on the 100th anniversary of scouting.

Photo courtesy of Cedar Cloyd, H

"Be prepared" is the Boy Scout motto, yet nothing could prepare Eagle Scout Uriah Thomas for the sight of cars heading at him on the wrong side of the road.

Lucky for him and the 32 scouts with the Alaska and Northwest Washington delegation attending the 21st World Scout Jamboree, they were in England and the cars belonged there.

"I was half asleep from jet lag, it was a very long trip and I opened my eyes to see cars coming at me on the wrong side of the road. It really cured my jet lag! I laughed and said, 'Whoa!'," Thomas said.

In the delegation were peninsula scouts Thomas, 18, of Moose Pass, Life Scout Jess Russell, 16, of Clam Gulch and Star scout Cedar Cloyd, 14, of Homer.

"It was cool to be there on the 100th anniversary of scouting, to see where it all started and to see the site where Robert Baden-Powell organized the first camp. We got to see his truck and camp trailer he traveled with," said Russell.

Baden-Powell was a lieutenant-general with the British army and organized his first camp in 1920 to teach boys outdoor skills and physical fitness. He wrote a book on his observations called "Scouting for Boys," not realizing he would inspire a worldwide youth-run organization now numbering 28 million boys and girls.

Baden-Powell's first camp-out began with 20 boys. Had he been onsite this year he would have led 40,000 scouts from 160 countries.

"Cramped! That's what I first thought. We were all in one small area, but everyone was very friendly," said Russell. "I got to use some of the Russian I learn at school. It was basic but everyone spoke some amount of English and the Russians spoke English better than many of the English speaking people."

"There were sub-camps within the one big camp. It was great! We were there 12 days and I still was not able to meet everyone in just the sub-camp," said Thomas. "Everyone was so nice."

For Cloyd, staying in the moment of such a massive event the most challenging part of his travels.

"I planned for this more than a year. I grew and sold produce, did odd jobs like staining my grandma's deck, getting over there and being without my family for the first time. I wanted to remember it. I tried everything I had time for, there were activities at every venue," he said.

After Prince William officially opened the 12-day event and read a letter from the Queen, scouts were able to travel, sightsee and attend a wide variety of world and friendship building activities.

"Unlike the National Jamboree I attended in 2005, where merit badges were a focus, this was just for scouts to reach out, make friends and hopefully come to understand and bridge differences between people," Thomas said. "We are the next generation; events like this are held to help us be better."

"Meeting so many scouts, swapping badges and neckerchiefs it was just so awesome. We were there just to meet each other," Cloyd said.

"There were many cultural events. My favorite was the Asian martial arts demonstrations. There also were opportunities to taste food from other countries. Alaska and Washington brought salmon dip," Russell said.

Thomas and Cloyd look forward to their next opportunity for a world jamboree in Sweden in four years.

For Thomas, this was his last as a scout. He turned 18 just days after returning from the event but plans to go as a leader or as support staff.

"I have been in scouting for more than 10 years including Cub Scouts. I am a Eagle Scout. It has given me a lot of fun and learning. I am not done with scouting," he said. " It will be time to give back to the program."

Cloyd, who has traveled extensively with his family to places like Costa Rica and Thailand, a taste of travel on his own served to assure him that what he learned at scouting helped him gain selfconfidence to do it again.

"I have learned from scouting that no matter how hard or big the task is, it can be done," he said.

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