"It's a good laugh" is how 14-year-old Huw Freeman of Swansea, Wales, summed up his experience at the second annual International Jamboral Friday and Saturday at a ranch near Park City.
And memories will be the "most fun thing" Freeman will take back to Great Britain.John Irvine of Scotland said it was a "marvelous feeling" to be among so many Scouts gathered together, and that his most treasured souvenir was a "California Raisin."
The Wasatch Mountains, so recently painted with Nature's own brush in vivid shades of red, purple, gold, orange and various tones of green provided an awesome setting around the flatland at Flinders' Mountain Meadow Ranch. More than 13,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders, including 27 from foreign countries attended the gathering.
During the two-day event, Scouts were entertained by mountain men, live bands and entertainment from foreign lands. There was an international cook-off, world games, displays, fireworks and an occasional hot-air balloon from Park City's Autumn Aloft festival.
"All of the activities were designed to have an international flavor," said Bill Barnes, public relations director for the Great Salt Lake Council. Each Scout district had activities relating to a specific country of their choice, and after considerable research the boys tried to share a factual account of that country's culture with other Scout districts, he said.
Although he realized it would be hard for many foreign Scouts to come for a weekend event,
arnes was impressed with the troops that came.
"We have a troop consisting of six boys and two leaders here from Matsumoto, Salt Lake City's sister city in Japan; two troops from Canada; and a composite troop from the United Kingdom including two boys from England, one from Wales, two from Scotland and one Scout from Northern Ireland," Barnes said. "We also have a troop from a fourth foreign country - California," he said with a smile.
"I have gained a great deal from this visit and I want to go back to England and encourage some exchange work (programs). I would like to see more of our boys come over here to this sort of thing and I would like to see more of the American lads coming over to our country to share in our history," said Peter Klein, Scout leader of the combined United Kingdom troop.
Klein, who had only three weeks to pull his group together because of a severe postal strike in England, was impressed with the Indian culture their host troop - Troop 1337 - taught them about.
Klein said he and his Scouts slept in a tepee and his first impression was like sleeping in a cathedral. "The roof was so high."
Paul Beardsmore, 14, patrol leader from Nottingham, England, said that although this was a new experience for him and he was enjoying it, he "didn't like the nights here, it's too cold."
"The Japanese troop came last Monday," said Barnes. "We have had a full schedule of activities to introduce the Scouts to their sister city in Utah. Barnes said they went to Snowbird to see the tram, to the Utah State Fair, the Ice Capades, horse-back riding, the Boy Scouts of America Headquarters and met Mayor Palmer DePaulis. The Scouts also toured a local junior high school. "The boys commented on how different their schools were," said Barnes.
Alvin McFarlane of Northern Ireland said it best when he likened the event to a "sunny experience."