Three Columbia County residents joined scouts from around the globe in Great Britain this summer during the 21st World Scout Jamboree.
The two-week event, which drew more than 40,000 scouts and their adult leaders, sought to expand scouts' knowledge about other cultures and show how the lessons of scouting founder Robert Baden Powell can make a positive change in the world.
Martinez attorney John Garcia, a scout leader, his son Patrick and fellow Columbia County resident and Eagle Scout Brandon Jeter, were among about 3,000 Americans to attend the world jamboree. They were joined by six other scouts and scout leaders from the Georgia-Carolina Boy Scout Council.
The jamboree is held every four years. This year's event featured exhibits by scouts from 158 nations and activities between scouts to meet and learn about the needs of each other's countries.
Each scout also participated in service projects with scouts from other nations, said Patrick, a Lakeside High School senior and Life Scout.
"The world jamboree, you go and meet people around the world and at the same time they educate you about the problems each nation has," Patrick said.
As an adult scout leader, Garcia worked with other leaders from other nations to solve logistical problems that arose in organizing 40,000 campers and thousands of other visitors to the jamboree.
"First of all, the goal of scouting is to teach youth the ability to make moral decisions throughout their lives to teach them citizenship," Garcia said. He noted that Powell called scouting "Fun with a purpose."
For two weeks, the diverse groups from around the world played and worked together, Garcia said. Much of the event was about socialization between teens and adults from different parts of the world, he said.
Though there were many differences, Patrick said the experience challenged his perceptions of people from third-world nations.
There was also another difference in scouts from other nations.
Overseas, the scouting organizations equivalent to Boy Scouts of America permit girls to join. One Italian girl actually traded her uniform with Patrick in a traditional exchange between nations.
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