This summer, Alexa Agamalian ’21 (Newport Beach,California) spent nearly two weeks in West Virginia with 45,000 other teens from around the globe. What was her biggest impression?
“That we are so much more similar than we think,” she said of her time as a Global Ambassador at the World Scout Jamboree. “We came from different cultures and have different beliefs. But, when the music was playing, we were all laughing and enjoying being with each other. To learn that was so amazing.”
Agamalian was one of four Global Ambassadors selected by the Boy Scouts of America to represent the United States at the world jamboree. As a Venture Scout from Unit 409 in Orange County, she was the only girl selected to serve as a U.S. ambassador. While the Boy Scouts just recently started accepting girls, the Venture program has been co-ed for approximately 20 years, she explained.
And, she added, there were a large number of girls in attendance since most of the world scouting organizations are co-ed. As an ambassador, her responsibilities included writing and shooting photos for the U.S. blog and social media sites, attending specialized leadership training, and participating in cultural exchange programming.
She applied for the position after receiving an email describing the opportunity. She thought it would be “really cool” but was shocked when she was selected. She and the other three U.S. representatives arranged conference calls, but they didn’t meet in person until they arrived for the jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.
The jamboree offered several opportunities to experience different cultures, Agamalian said. A global village featured food from the various countries, groups performed on stage, and there were programs on environmental sustainability and interactive displays covering other subjects. There was also a video chat with a Syrian refugee set up by the United Nations that was designed to encourage scouts to reach out and help others. The ambassadors’ programs included a tour of nearby Charleston, special team-building exercises, and a high adventure course in the mountains.
Of the 150 countries represented, 91 sent designated ambassadors. Some, like the United States and the United Kingdom, had four ambassadors, which brought the total to 155 teens. Some of the ambassadors she spent time with came from Italy, Malta, Greece, Portugal, and Guatemala. They exchanged information and she believes they will stay friends for some time to come. They have already done some group chats and Agamalian is looking forward to meeting with them as she travels in the future.
“It will be so nice to say, ‘Hi, I’m here!’ and get together with them.”