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Tri-State Scouts return from World Jamboree in Thailand

January 17, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Sean Guy II, a Greencastle-Antrim High School freshman, is one of three boys from the Tri-State area who returned last week from a two-week stay in Thailand, where about 18,000 Boy Scouts from around the globe gathered at the 20th annual World Jamboree.

Sean, 14, Michael Brown, 16, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Adam Stevens, 14, of Leetown, W.Va., joined 33 other scouts from the Charlotte, N.C., area for the 26-hour flight to Bangkok.

The local boys were attached to Troop 24 in Charlotte for the jamboree.

The worldwide gathering of Scouts has been taking place every four years for the last 80 years. The last gathering was in Chile in 1999.

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Sean is working on his Life rank, the next-to-last step before earning his Eagle badge. Eagle is the highest rank one can achieve in Boy Scouts.

His father, Sean Guy, grew up in Hagerstown and is an Eagle Scout. He attended a world jamboree in Norway in 1975. His brother, Philip, an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 24 in Charlotte, also is an Eagle Scout, as was his grandfather.

Sean II, who belongs to Troop 10 in Hagerstown, said 564 scouts from the United States went to Thailand.

The jamboree was held at a beach resort in Sahahip, about a 90-minute bus ride from Bangkok. Each troop set up its own tents and camp, he said.

Sean said he liked the beautiful beaches and clear water where the Scouts swam, played games and sailed.

"It was clear water and white sand," he said.

Temperatures reached 100 degrees in the daytime, he said.

A favorite pastime at the jamboree was meeting Scouts from other nations.

Most of the boys spoke at least a little English so communication wasn't a big problem, Sean said.

The common denominator was Scouting so they all got along, he said.

A lot of trading went on, too. Sean came home with badges that he traded with boys from other countries, a Japanese kimono and shirts from boys from Thailand and the United Kingdom. Among the items he traded were some Mack Trucks bulldog pins.

"What stands out the most is how we all came together," Sean said. "There wasn't any controversy. We all got along."

Scouting runs in Stevens' family, too. His father, Michael Stevens, 40, is an Eagle Scout. He was supposed to attend a world jamboree in Iran in 1979, but it was canceled because of the U.S. hostage situation that year.

"We were sent to a world camp in Sweden. I guess they didn't want a bunch of American Boy Scouts in Iran," Michael Stevens said.

Adam is an eighth-grader at Shepherdstown Middle School. He said he wants to follow in his father's footsteps and earn his Eagle badge.

"All the kids were really nice," he said. "We were all given business cards to give to each other. I made friends from England and Thailand."

He'll stay in touch with his new friends through e-mail, he said.

Brown, a Martinsburg High School junior, is a Life Scout. He's almost finished the requirements for his Eagle ranking, he said. He belongs to Troop 32 in Bedington, W.Va., and has been in Scouting since second grade.

He attended the National Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia in 2000.

He has traveled overseas and enjoyed the trip to Thailand.

"We learned a lot about the culture. The people there are very friendly. They always wanted to take their pictures with us," he said.

He said he met Scouts from Korea and the Netherlands.

"At night, we'd go to different troops to have dinner. We ate their food and they ate ours. It was awesome."

His best memory is of standing on a hill overlooking all the camps during the closing ceremony.

"I could see the flags from all the different countries," he said.

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