Jump to content
Treflienne

The international friendship aspect of scouting

Recommended Posts

In "the Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts" discussion, we touched on the issue of the name "scout" helping one feel a part of the world-wide scout movement.   That leads to a question:

For you BSA folk: in your experience, how important has the international friendship aspect of scouting been? And has it been merely an abstract ideal, or has scouting provided opportunity for the scouts to interact with scouts from other nations?

Perhaps my experience was atypical, as a kid in GSUSA troops overseas. But I had opportunities to travel to other countries at attend events sponsored by the Guides in those countries, and also to stay at Olave House the (then) Girl Guide World Centre in London and meet other guides/scouts there.  And Thinking Day was a big deal when we had girls from various countries in attendance in the uniforms of their home countries.  (Thinking Day is the WAGGGS observance of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell's joint birthday, with emphasis on the international sisterhood of all girl guides/scouts.)

Living in the U.S. the international aspects of scouting have been not so close at hand, but still my Brownies exchanged post cards and letters with Brownies from around the world.

As the GSUSA has been continually modernizing itself in directions that have not appealed to me (though they do seem to appeal to many families), I had occasionally been looking into alternate youth organizations for my family, but I had been loath to give up the world scouting connection.  Of course, now, with BSA opening its programs to girls, BSA is starting to provide a second option for American girls who wish to participate in scouting.

Edited by Treflienne
fixed typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How important? Very. From my time as a scout when an Indonesian exchange student joined our troop ...

At summer camp, a British scouter ran the scoutcraft area. He taught us the chant (with motions) "Have you heard about Harry?"

At National Jamboree, I was toying around the pioneering area, the king of Sweden visited, and we fired a catapult for him.

The one other scout in my troop who went to world National Jamboree with me later attended World Jamboree.

As an adult...

Every year, camp staff had International guests. That was especially handy when a Korean boy with poor English joined our troop. The Korean staff checked in with him every day.

The Israeli friendship caravan visited our OA call out ceremony, and after the ceremony, they sang and shared how they did scouting in their country.

Our friends raised their boys in the Czech Republic, and they both loved scouting there. It was fun watching them compare notes with our kids.

An Italian scout joined our crew while she was an exchange student here.

Based on those experiences, I signed on to help lead a troop at next year's World Scout Jamboree.

Those are just my personal experiences. Bottom line: Boy Scouts takes that World Crest seriously.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been moderately important in our troop.  We've had a few opportunities to interact with Scouts internationally - but not a lot.  We encourage the World Jamboree and in past years used to do attend jamborees in other countries.  

Given the geographic isolation and size of the United States, I'm afraid that it's more of a concept than a reality for most scouts.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me as a youth and an adult, almost zero.  I did get to interact with some scouts from outside the US at the Jamboree I attended as a youth but beyond that it rarely crosses my mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The International Scouts at the summer camps we attend have always been a positive.  Our guys have met and talked with Scouts / had merit badge sessions with Scouts from Morroco, Egypt, Poland, England, China, Syria, Malaysia and many others I have cannot recall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's also not forget, Eagle-required Citizenship in the World merit badge requirement 7:

Quote

7. Do TWO of the following (with your parent’s permission) and share with your counselor what you have learned:
a. Visit the website of the U.S. State Department.Learn more about an issue you find interesting that is discussed on this website.
b. Visit the website of an international news organization or foreign government, OR examine a foreign newspaper available at your local library, bookstore, or newsstand. Find a news story about a human right realized in the United States that is not recognized in another country.
c. Visit with a student or Scout from another country and discuss the typical values, holidays, ethnic foods, and traditions practiced or enjoyed there.
d. Attend a world Scout jamboree.
e. Participate in or attend an international event in your area, such as an ethnic festival, concert, or play.

The fountain is there, all the horse has to do is drink from it!

Note: I have no doubt that scouters' many international contacts had a part in BSA opening programs for girls. Our district commissioner said as much about his opinions after returning from the World Scout Jamboree in Japan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in the Transatlantic Council as a youth, so I saw lots of "foreign" scouts. We've have international scouts at our local camp. It is always great to see the discussions. Now that you can get peanut butter world wide that's not so much fun but there are plenty of other things to talk about. Of course, you just have to go skiing around here to meet all the ski bums that normally live on the other side of the equator.

I regularly talk going overseas to scouts. "Hey, you like adventure? I got a great idea for you." Not many try.

So, how important has it been? Unfortunately it's more just a novelty. An exchange would be fun but it's expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, MattR said:

So, how important has it been? Unfortunately it's more just a novelty. An exchange would be fun but it's expensive.

Very true.

My troop has an on going program with a troop in Canada. Sadly its only the minority that are able to go on the trips we've done to them and the same goes for the Canadians.

It doesn't mean it's impossible though. We do do other things. We've had skype meet ups, we've planned programs for each other and so on. So you can do it.

We're also lucky in that Cambridge, by it's nature, attracts a lot of foreign visitors both for work and tourism so we've had regular visitors to the troop from overseas who are in the area. Including your goodself of course Matt! Troops in less attractive corners of the country may not be as lucky. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...