By Corey Siegfried, Troop 45 Bolivar, MO
I’ve never seen morning fog settle in a mountain valley. Where I live in Missouri, it’s pretty flat. The view at the Summit Bechtel Reserve definitely made getting up early on a summer morning more pleasant and the 15-hour bus ride to West Virginia well worth it!
Just a few days before my big trip, I was standing in front of my Eagle Board of Review. Now I’m exploring the Summit Bechtel Reserve at the World Scout Jamboree.
After our troop helped our neighbors from Bangladesh, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, and the UK set up their tents (they would not be arriving until after dark), I got a text from my mom.
Truthfully, she was a bit hesitant to send me off for two weeks. That quickly changed after she Googled her hometown newspaper in Gong Guan, Miao Li, Taiwan. She realized 750 Scouts from Taiwan were in West Virginia somewhere at the Jamboree and one of those Scouts was from her small hometown of Gong Guan!
Later that afternoon, I went mountain biking for the first time (remember Missouri is pretty flat). From the lookout I could see the tops of thousands of tents, tiny trails between camps, and dots that were Scouts running between activities.
If you have never been to a Jamboree, it’s hard to describe what it’s like to have so many kids in one spot at one time. So, my odds were 1 in about 40,000 to find the Scout from my mom’s hometown, and that’s if everyone stood still!
I weaved my way through the crowd. Hundreds of Scouts from Taiwan had come to see the show. I started asking if any of them were from Miao Li. No luck. But I did find out which base camp they were in.
Finally, the day before I was going home, I made the hike to base camp D. With so much to do and see, you never know when someone might be in their base camp. I took a chance and introduced myself in Mandarin to a group of Scouts.
Weijing was surprised I could speak Mandarin. I was surprised when I found out she was the Scout! Weijing was indeed from my mom’s hometown of Gong Guan. She was flattered and maybe a little embarrassed I had been looking for her. We talked about my family’s trips to Taiwan, what it was like to be Scouts, and our time at Jamboree. We hung out for a while, traded patches and neckers with her group, and returned back to our base camps. Needless to say, my mom was really happy I found Weijing.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started my two weeks of adventure at the World Scout Jamboree. But Scouting has taught me to try new things and take on a challenge. Scouting has always been something my Dad and I have shared. He’s been with me every step of the way on my journey to Eagle. I am proud to say my Eagle is his Eagle too. Now, I would say Scouting and my Jamboree experience is something my mom and I have shared.