Rainstorm gets Jamboree off to a good start for Boone County, Italian scouts

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Longtime Scoutmaster Chip Shaffer of Boone County said Monday he won’t soon forget how his experience at the World Jamboree began at the Bechtel Summit in Fayette County.

Shaffer and his scouts from Troop 289 in Madison set up camp Sunday and early Monday morning they heard other scouts setting up. They were from Italy. Shaffer said about that time a big rain storm moved through and before he knew it the Italian scouts were with his scouts underneath their dining canopy.

“There were 80 of us shoulder to shoulder sharing our breakfast and at first we were just kind of staring at each but then the Italians broke into song. Before long, we had 80 scouts here in a downpour that were just having a blast. That’s when I really realized what this was all about,” Shaffer said.

The scouts will ride the ziplines, skateboard, ride mountain bikes and do lots more during the next two weeks but Shaffer said the international flavor will be the key.

“It’s the mixing of cultures that is the cornerstone of the event,” Shaffer said Monday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “It’s just incredible. You couldn’t pack this much experiential learning into any other kind of event.”

Jamboree Executive Director Marty Walsh agreed. He said the goal of the Jamboree is to move a little closer to world peace.

“Meeting each other, understanding their culture, respect each other’s cultures and the only way they can do that is to understand the dynamics of the culture’s food, dress and other customs. They’ll get to see it in action,” Walsh said.

Shaffer has been in scouting for 45 years but he said he’s never seen anything like the World Jamboree offers.

“We have an Italian group to our left. We have Chileans on our right. There’s another group from Costa Rica. We’re just surrounded,” Shaffer said. “There’s so much to learn and so much to experience.”

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