By Jose Latorre
Scouting is not just based in the United States. All Scouts and Scouters wear the World Crest, a purple circle that symbolizes their membership in the world movement of Scouting. But that patch was just the beginning of my personal journey to gain the International Spirit Award.
The first contact I had with international Scouting occurred at my former troop in Madrid, which belongs to the Transatlantic Council in Europe. In May 2013, I had the opportunity to attend a multi-cultural Jamboree at the US Naval Base in Rota, Spain. I made new friends, exchanged badges, learned a few foreign words, and overall, had an unforgettable experience.
The following April, just a few months after joining Troop 2 in Rye, my father and I went to the Normandy Camporee, France, to celebrate the 70th D-Day anniversary.
It is easy for me to say that this experience was one of the best in my life.
Not only did I meet Scouts from over the world, but also honored veterans, visited museums, and gained a greater appreciation of history.
These are some examples of the experiences required to earn the international award, but there are also core requirements and I can tell you that they are very rewarding.
As an international Scout, I earned the Spanish interpreter strip and I am working on the French strip. Furthermore, the Scout must earn the World Conservation Award. To do so, I completed several merit badges, including the Environmental Science badge, which taught me how to make the world a better place, and more about plants and animals, and substances that damage our planet.
I also earned the Citizenship in the World merit badge. Due to the fact that I love international organizations, foreign policy, and diplomacy, this merit badge was my favorite of all.
The Scout candidate has to participate in a Jamboree-on-the-Air or Jamboree-on-the Internet. Last October, I had the great opportunity of chatting with them real-time, as well as finding out what their hobbies were, and discovering common ground. I met twenty-seven new scouts from Europe, South America, and Asia.
All Scouts learn and agree to live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law, regardless of the program in which they participate. Core to the Scout Oath is the charge that a Scout “Help other people at all times.”
The applicant has to organize a World Friendship Fund. At the time the Fund was developed, during the closing days of World War II, there was a great need to rebuild Scouting in those nations that had been wracked by war. Over the years, this fund has provided Scouts from around the world with Scouting literature, uniforms, summer camp equipment, computers, and other supplies.
I would like to thank Rye Troop 2 for the donation to World Friendship Fund. We have become part of a worldwide Good Turn.
After all this work and experience, on February 14, I was presented with the International Spirit Award during the troop’s winter Court of Honor. At the ceremony, many Scouts were recognized for merit badge completions, and advancements in rank, including a new Eagle Scout, Chris Tobin.
I would like to thank my counselor, Mr. Matthew Mann, the Council’s International representative, for helping me reach a significant step in my Scouting career.
I have broadened my knowledge of international Scouting and gained greater appreciation and awareness of different cultures and countries. We Boy Scouts of America are eager for opportunities to be part of worldwide Scouting in a personal way. As members of the International Scout Movement say when greeting each other: Yours in International Scouting.
<The author is Senior Patrol Leader, Rye Troop 2.>
Jose Latorre, at left, and his father at the Normandy Camporee celebrating the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
With World Scout logo
#0574 The author at the Rye Troop 2 Court of Honor last month, at which he received the International Spirit Award.