A Weeklong Gathering

By: Posted On: 2019-06-17


Photo from ASMAC


 What do you call a weeklong gathering of patrols from all over?


Well, Scouts de México called a  Nacional Scout camporee "Brownsea Island."  It brought more than 2,000 Scouts and their leaders from all parts of the republic, Tijuana and Nuevo Laredo to Quintana Roo and Chiapas.  It was a Scout Patrol event, not Manadas of Lobatos (Cub Scouts in the USA), and except for several program staffers, Caminantes (Venturers) and Rovers (young adults) did not attend.


Campers were divided into four sub-camps, each with a bird or animal name, and further split up for a wide array of activities, with patrols walking shoulder-to-shoulder all over the large site.  Activities included rock climbing not far below the summit of Monte Antorcha, highest point--over 6,000 feet--in the Laurel range, that also marks the point where the Mexican states of Aguascalientes, Jalisco, and Zacatecas meet.

And patch-swapping.

Added to typical camporee activities such as knots and lashing, a skill each patrol had demonstrated well in their campsites, there was a small lake that provided excitement as patrols would paddle improvised rafts to the other side.  A waterfront staffer and I could only stand on a small hill and laugh as an oarsman (or oarswoman, Scouts de México have been co-ed for many years) on the right paddled furiously forward, while the counterpart on the left stroked strongly in reverse, sending their craft into a big spin.


Scouts of Mexico

Photo from ASMAC

One could hear patrol cheers from just about anywhere at any time all week, whether headed for an activity, at a campfire, or just letting off steam in a grove of encinos, and, while the Spanish words are a bit different, broad smiles proved that "A Scout is Cheerful" no matter where walking the dusty roads across the windswept conservation preserve meadow.   While chatting with a patrol that was probably headed for the temporary--mostly heavy plastic sheeting and lots of duct tape--shower house, I realized that a moving pile of dust with a big toothy grin was really a girl when I noticed she was wearing "skort", the female summer Scout uniform; the rest of the patrol had obviously been doing something that now required some effort to prove that "A Scout is Clean".


The wildlife must have taken a vacation that April week because nobody reported seeing any coyotes, pumas or wild turkeys, just a few storks dining on fish from the lake.


Not knowing quite what to do with a veteran Scouter from al norte, I was named a part of the crew (staff).  It was further decided that my "job " would be a sort of "goodwill ambassador," meeting and greeting Scouts and leaders, and posing with them for dozens of patrol pictures.  One of the surprises for me was the number of Scouts who asked, "¿Habla usted inglés? (Do you speak English?)".  When I'd respond, "Sí," there would be a polite request to switch languages so they could practice.


Maybe I should have an "English" interpreter strip on my BSA uniform shirt.

Scouting of Mexcio

Photo from ASMAC



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