A world of Scouting: Close to 40,000 gather for jamboree
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Growing up in Utah County, Griffin Bodine is accustomed to being surrounded on all sides by fellow members of the Church. So for this teacher from Lindon, Utah, participating in the World Scout Jamboree with youth from around the world was an eye-opening experience.
"This jamboree has given me an understanding of some of the world's people by meeting Scouts from other countries and learning about their lives," wrote Griffin in an email to the Church News.
The event also afforded young members like Griffin an opportunity to share their testimonies and beliefs with others. "Several of us LDS Scouts took friends from Finland to the [devotional] where David L. Beck [Young Men general president] spoke, and they told us afterward of feeling a special spirit there.
"This jamboree experience is very useful in my preparation to be a missionary. It has helped a ton."
Almost 40,000 Scouts from all corners of the globe joined Griffin and hundreds of other LDS Scouts for the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Rinkaby, Sweden. The event ended Aug. 8, but many LDS Scouters returned to their homes, wards and branches with lifelong memories and new friendships.
Thousands of Scouters also learned more about the Church and its beliefs at an LDS-sponsored tent located prominently in the jamboree's Faith and Beliefs Zone. The LDS tent offered visitors of all ages an opportunity to learn about their own family histories and functioned as a reminder of the Church's Christ-centered principles and doctrines. Brother Larry Gibson, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, presided at the tent that was staffed by almost two dozen members.
The World Scout Jamboree "has been an outstanding event for the Church and the many youth in attendance," reported Brother Gibson from Sweden.
He added that the tent was a popular visitation spot for countless participants. "[The exhibit] is focused on three things: family heritage, the blessings of family today and preparation for our youth to have their own families in the future. There is great interest."
Brother Gibson said the Church's participation at the international gathering has allowed him and other members to enjoy the fellowship of folks from many different faiths working in the Faith and Beliefs Zone.
"It seemed so natural to meet together as representative heads of each of the faith groups and develop solutions for any problems, issues and needs for each day," he wrote. "We have become a very close group of eternal friends."
Brother Gibson also spoke of the dedication of the members who staffed the exhibit and the Aaronic Priesthood holders who helped enrich the World Scout Jamboree.
"They are very choice and constantly look for opportunities to serve and bless the lives of others. I have heard on numerous occasions that there is something different about 'those LDS boys.' "
Brother Charles Dahlquist, a former Young Men general president who served as co-director of the Faith and Beliefs Zone, noted that the LDS Scouts' global experience at the World Jamboree will serve them well in future missionary service.
"Scouting helps today's youth to not only understand the importance of acquiring timeless values such as honesty, kindness, integrity, loyalty and service — it teaches them how to acquire those characteristics while they are having fun in serving others.
"This jamboree experience has given our young men of the Aaronic Priesthood the opportunity to understand common belief and values among peoples of the world which will be priceless in their preparation for full time missionary service."