(in front) navigates a steep hill with the help of a rope during the Boy Scout World Jamboree in Thailand.
Kent Plunkett wishes everyone could take a lesson from a recent experience he and his son Paul had while attending the Boy Scout World Jamboree in Thailand.
"Everybody got along well," he said, noting that scouts and staffers from all over the world slept alongside each other and enjoyed the festivities.
Paul, who celebrated his 15th birthday while in Thailand during the Dec. 28-Jan. 8 jamboree, said there were 164 countries represented.
"I thought it was really fun," said Paul, a freshman at Greenbrier High School. "I learned a lot of stuff."
During one excursion, Paul and his troop hiked through a rainforest. Another event involved looking at the sun through a telescope.
Perhaps best of all was the food.
"Their food was really good," he said, smiling. "They have really good bananas."
The jamboree, which drew nearly 30,000 campers, was held at Sattahip, about 100 miles southeast of Bangkok. The scouts' camps were set up along the white sandy beach on the Gulf of Thailand.
For Paul, the experience of seeing scouts, male and female, working alongside each other, was a different concept. In the United States, scouting is divided into Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts; in nearly every other corner of the world, scouting is simply scouting.
"About one-third of the participants were females," said Kent. "The United States and only two other countries differentiate between girl and boy scouts."
Paul and Kent say they will remember the trip for the rest of their lives. In addition to the numerous photos the Plunketts took while in Thailand, they returned home with souvenirs from scouts all over the world - uniforms, patches, pins and currency.
"I just can't get over the people I met and the friendships I made," said Kent.
Though the differences in culture, language and appearance might have been noticeable, the Plunketts are adamant that scouts the world over are just alike.
"They are not that much different from us," said Paul. "They may look different than us and talk different than us, but they aren't that much different from Americans."
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