Two Forsyth County eighth-graders spent part of their summer in Sweden, among more than 40,000 Scouts from about 150 countries around the world.
Despite the diversity, Eric Danielsson and Chase Hughes felt quite at home in a group of young people belonging to the same organization.
The two Boy Scouts from local Troop 1099 visited the 22nd World Scout Jamboree, an event that occurs once every four years in a different location.
They enjoyed seeing the various uniforms and learning about the backgrounds of different cultures, but they also keyed in on a bigger picture.
“It’s not like a lot of different cultures,” Danielsson said. “It’s like everyone’s one big culture getting together.”
Danielsson pointed out that while the ideals and principles of scouting remain similar the world round, each nation has some variation.
Sweden allows both girls and boys in one big group, unlike the U.S. where the genders are separated.
Some nations allow only Boy Scouts to attend the jamboree.
Friend and fellow Scout Hughes was pleased that his first trip abroad allowed him to experience so much diversity.
“It means a lot to attend,” Hughes said. “It’s a good thing to see how many cultures there are … and meet other people from around the world.”
The jamboree is comparable to the experience of the Olympics, according to its Web site.
Danielsson and Hughes were among about 1,700 American Scouts at the event. On the day they attended, the teenagers said they visited many tents representing other nations and explored the exhibits and activities available.
The jamboree lasts for 10 days, and those between the ages of 14 and 17 get to camp on site.
The Forsyth Scouts just missed the age cutoff, but instead spent a few days at the nearby Vassaro camp, where they got to do a lot of sailing.
The two also visited other landmarks in Sweden, which is the home country of Danielsson’s father.
Father and son visit each summer with Danielsson’s grandparents.
When they learned the jamboree would take place in Rinkaby, Sweden, they made sure their vacation included a trip to the international scouting event.
The Danielssons’ stayed in Sweden for about a month, and family friend Hughes came along for about a week.
Shortly after returning, they reunited with the troop during its quarterly Court of Honor ceremony at Lanier United Methodist Church.
The two gave a presentation on their visit to the members of Troop 1099.
Assistant Scoutmaster Matt Brown said the teens’ visit to the international event was unique.
He applauded them for taking the chance to experience the jamboree, adding that their presentation stirred excitement.
“They benefit from all these opportunities they’ve taken,” Brown said.
“The ones that take advantage of these opportunities really do benefit, and they come out on the other end as really well-rounded persons and prepared for the next chapter in their lives.”