ILT3- December 2015/January 2016
When I was selected by the Boy Scouts of America to attend the 3rd Interamerican Leadership Training in Guatemala, I was unsure about what I was going to learn and experience at the course, but I was ready for whatever I was about to come my way. Little did I know that my life would change that week.
I first had a taste of international Scouting in 2011 when I attended the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden. I was able to learn about Scouting in other countries, experience new cultures, and made a new family--my Scouting family. I came home with a renewed sense of passion for Scouting and knew that the world was a better place because of Scouting. My life certainly changed in Sweden. After having such a positive experience at the 2011 WSJ, I knew that Guatemala would also change my views of Scouting and strengthen my love for the Scouting program. Boy, was that an understatement!
At ILT, I was not only able to refresh my leadership skills, but, and more importantly, I was able to meet Scouts from the different countries in the IAR and have very important cultural exchanges. Starting with my team, the White Team, aka "Equipo Blanco", I learned about Scouting in a handful of new countries. As the week went on, my knowledge of Scouting in the IAR also expanded. But, more importantly, I was able to learn about different countries as a whole, their politics, their culture, their society, their education systems, and so much more. This was an incredibly valuable experience because before ILT3, I did not really have any experience with any countries in Latin America, South America, or the Caribbean. The stories that I heard at ILT have forever changed my life and my views of the world. I pray nightly for the countries and people that are hurting. More than anything, ILT has increased my cultural awareness like no other experience in my life.
One of my mentors and friends told me at WSJ 2011 that she believed that world peace will be solved through people who have been involved with Scouting. This saying has stuck with me for 4 years and it is something that I still firmly believe to this day. The people I met at ILT are dedicated, determined, and hard-working people who want to make a difference in the world, and I am proud to be in that group. Together, Scouts will continue to better this world.
In reflecting upon my week at ILT, one word comes to mind: thankful. I am beyond thankful to the Boy Scouts of America for selecting me to experience ILT, I am thankful for the ILT staff who dedicated their hearts and souls to this making the course a success, and I am most thankful to the fellow Scouts that I had the pleasure of meeting during the week and hearing their stories. You all inspire me beyond words and are forever engraved in my heart.
Much love to you all.