Scouts see world on trip to Thailand

Feb 5, 2003

Sowing seeds at Thailand Agricultural Education Centre By Jeremy Le Page, Staff Writer - Whitby This Week

(Photo Caption) "Learning local agricultural techniques are, from left, Ryan Mitchell, Sean Bridge, Brendan Hendel-McCarthy."

WHITBY - Marco Polo returned from the Orient with spaghetti. Youth from the Whitby Scouts returned with smiles, stories, and a new understanding of the world outside Canada.

Led by Scouters Brian Wick and Jim Pearce, nine local Venturers from Whitby's 1st, 5th and 9th Scouts undertook a three-week expedition to Thailand at the beginning of this year. Staying in a Tent City made by Scouts in Sattahip, the Venturers attended the 20th World Scout Jamboree with 26,000 fellow Scouts from 160 countries. Camped next to the Whitby group were Scouts from Japan, Thailand, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

"Coming from a multicultural country, it is important for us to understand many cultures," says Ryan Mitchell, 16. "Travelling to a jamboree and trying to describe our culture to someone else helps us appreciate the differences."

Table hockey a big hit with Thai Scouts "(The trip) was fantastic," says Mr. Wick. "There was lots of preparation, but it paid off."

Such preparation included more than a year of fund-raising. Garage sales, a poker run and silent auction, car washes and chocolate bar sales were just a few of the activities the Scouts undertook to raise more than $9,000 for the journey overseas.

"Events during the jamboree included a day hike in the jungle; a tour to a Buddhist monument, and activities at an agricultural experimental farm," explains Mr. Wick. Other activities included participation at a Global Development Village and City of Science educational centre.

"On the Community Action Day, the Venturers were bused to a community school to paint walls, make paving stones, build a perimeter fence, and plant an herbal garden," Mr. Wick adds. Following the jamboree, he says the Scouts toured Bangkok for a few days.

The theme of the jamboree was 'Share our Culture, Share Our World,' he says. And aside from experiencing the cultures of the various other countries present at the event, the Whitby Scouts introduced the Scout world to hockey, maple syrup, and music from legendary Canadian folk musician Stompin' Tom Connors. The boys and girls were definitely impressed.

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