Building a better world through cultural exchange
This summer nearly 2,000 Scouts from Sweden who attended the 24th World Scout Jamboree embarked on an educational journey across different states before reaching West Virginia.
The purpose of this journey was to break stereotypes and prejudice and facilitate a cultural exchange by allowing Scouts to explore the history, culture and future of America. Starting in Boston, New York City, Atlanta and Chicago, Scouts were divided into four trails where each trail focused on a theme: liberty, colonization, civil war and civil rights, and innovation.
From visiting the UN Headquarters in New York City where they discussed the Sustainable Development Goals to volunteering for urban farming, Scouts participated in an array of educational activities that contribute to building a peaceful and sustainable world.
Tove was part of the Innovation trail that started in Chicago. After learning about the immigration of Swedes to Chicago, the group headed to Detroit and volunteered at an urban farm that provides fresh foods to people in the community. Scouts learned about how solar energy and rainwater collection are incorporated in urban agriculture.
Among visiting historical sites, Tove and her group took part in workshops that tackled different societal challenges in the U.S. around housing, transport systems and more. The group worked on proposing sustainable solutions to challenges faced in U.S. cities by relaying best practiced systems in Sweden.
“We discussed increasing bike trails throughout cities, improved waste management systems around recycling and healthier school meals that are accessible by all students,” said Tove.
The four different trails allowed the Swedish Scouts to immerse themselves in American heritage and cultural exchange, unlocking a new world prior to arriving at the 24th World Scout Jamboree.
“If there is one thing from the U.S. I would like to take to Sweden it is the friendliness of the American people and how everywhere we went we noticed how helpful and friendly the people are. This creates a sense of community, which I believe we can improve on in Sweden,” she continued.
Ida was part of the Liberty trail that started in New York City. Their journey started in Ellis Island then Philadelphia and Washington D.C. where Scouts learned about immigration, race and the U.S. constitution.
Scouts in this group were also able to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Apollo moon landing at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
“This trip taught us many things we didn’t know about the United States. In Sweden, our culture is influenced by the U.S., but it turned out that there is a lot more to America than we knew,” said Ida.
“It was very important to take this trip as it was both educational and fun. We definitely have a deeper understanding about both Sweden and the United States.”
All trails rejoined in Huntington, West Virginia for a gathering to share their experiences, lessons and reflections before heading to the Summit Bechtel Reserve to join tens of thousands of Scouts from around the world.