By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – It has been two months since George Brenckle, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 1 from Northborough attended the 24th World Scout Jamboree held July 22 – Aug. 2 at the Summit Bechtel Boy Scouts of America Reservation in West Virginia.
Scouts Canada, Asociación de Scouts de México, and the Boy Scouts of America co-hosted the event. The theme was “Unlock a New World,” representing new adventures, cultures, and friendships that organizers hoped would be shared.
A World Jamboree only occurs every four years, according to Brenckle. The last time it was held in the United States was in 1967.
“I thought, the last time it was in the United States I was 11 years old; I’m going to be 65. It’s never going to be in this country again in my lifetime,” Brenckle remarked. “I figured its only 500 miles from my house so I’ll try to go.”
Brenckle said that while he was driving down he kept thinking: “What am I doing? I’m going to live in a tent for roughly two weeks at the hottest time of the year with 35,000 14- to 17-year-old Scouts…
“It turned out to be one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life,” he remarked.
Over 35,000 Scouts and 10,000 adult staff and participants gathered from 150 countries. Roughly half of the participants were girls. In the U.S. the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) only recently allowed girls to join but, internationally, the U.S. is one of the last to do so.
Brenckle said that is was remarkable how people from all over the world came together and learned about one another’s cultures while building friendships.
While the Scouts took part in typical Scouting activities, they had the opportunity to engage in leadership training and global development so they can play an active role in their communities now and for a better future.
They still found time, however, for beloved traditions such as trading neckerchiefs and other cultural items.
“I was part of the International Service Team and we were the ones that ran the activities,” Brenckle noted.
The team was a diverse group from Asia, India, Columbia and Argentina, to name a few. He said that they were like the United Nations and people spoke a variety of languages. But, language was never a barrier because people found a way to communicate.
Brenckle noted that 32 Scouts and four adults from the Mayflower Council also accompanied him. The council includes Northborough and surrounding communities including Hudson, Marlborough, Southborough and Westborough.
“I came home bubbling over and I’m still pretty bubbly,” Brenckle exclaimed. “The experience showcased the very best of what Scouting has to offer.”
More information about the Jamboree is available at www.2019wsj.org.