Friday, May 02, 2008

U.S. Eagle Scout Meets Saudi Scouts in Camillus NY

On Tuesday, April 22nd, the Town Shop in my village of Camillus NY hosted a group from Saudi Arabia made up of visiting Saudi Social Services/Ministry of Education workers, Saudi teachers and professors, other youth workers, and Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts. They were visiting the United States for the first time with an interest in visiting American youth organizations and meeting American youth. The Town Shop provided pizza and salad for dinner, plus time for casual conversation and interaction.

My son Ethan Camwell, an Eagle Boy Scout, was among those who came to greet them and help out with hospitality. He exchanged gifts with the Saudi citizens and enjoyed time playing foosball, pool, and speaking through translators that he said were provided by the U.S. State Department.

Photo credit: Town Shop blog

The Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association was founded in 1961 and is a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Scouting has grown steadily in popularity among Saudi youth. Drawn to the philosophy of service, brotherhood and self-reliance, close to 100,000 young Saudis are active members of the Saudi Arabian Scouts Association. There are approximately 100,000 Saudi boys between the ages of 6 and 21 from urban and rural regions throughout the country. Scouts participate in a variety of charitable activities, including an annual volunteer outreach to assist pilgrims at the Hajj, and study Islam and Saudi history, customs, and tradition.

Islamic values of honor, generosity, community, charity, tolerance, knowledge and cooperation reinforce the World Organisation of the Scout Movement principles and are the foundation upon which the Saudi Arabian Scouts Association is based.

Under the leadership of King Abdullah, the Scouts have been instrumental in the establishment of Gifts for Peace, the largest program ever undertaken by the worldwide scouting movement, which aims to build understanding among young people of different communities and countries.

I was proud to see my son show interest and attend the special function as a citizen-ambassador. He had a wonderful experience. It's great to think about the world coming to our own street corners, giving us the opportunity to show our best face to citizens from far away. No matter where we live, the goal of preparing our boys for adulthood in this changing world remains the same, and part of that worthy goal is to unite the world through the brotherhood of Scouting.

Note: A big congratulations goes out to David and Cheryl Vermilya and the Town Shop for having recently received a large contribution to the youth center from ABC's "Oprah's Big Gift" through Syracuse Channel 9WSYR. [see video here]


Barbara said...

Who's that handsome dude? Oh! It's ETHAN!!! yay!!