For both of them it is the first time attending a Scout camp. But why Tifie in Utah?
Like much in life, it comes down to relationships. Timothy’s uncle lives in Utah and his cousin was attending Tifie Scout Camp and his uncle suggested that Timothy might like to visit the camp. And with the Internet the boys were able to check-out the camp.
So the two Scouts traveled to Utah from Saudi Arabia, without a Troop, to stay with Camp staff.
The Scouts are teaching the staff and other participants about life in Saudi Arabia and the desire they have to participate in Scouting no matter where they live. Joshua was a Cub Scout and has two brothers who earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Timothy was not a Cub Scout but is loving the associations and friendships he has developed through Scouting.
Scouting is universal and teaches boys more than character development and leadership. It also teaches them to transcend cultural barriers and to be united in a common mission. There are a lot of differences the boys have seen living in the Middle East.
“I like being back where it is green” Joshua said about being at Tifie. When a Scout refers to Utah as “green” you know there are some environmental differences between our desert state and Saudi Arabia. Timothy loves being outside and being able to enjoy nature.
Both boys attend American International School (AIS-R) in Saudi Arabia. AIS-R sponsors Scouting although there are not a lot of participants. Troop 257 has been an active scouting organization in Riyadh for over 33 years. The Troop has between 54-60 members. They have been on five campouts, usually at compounds or other property. They did campout in the desert going on a 10 mile hike. The biggest surprise – it was cold in the morning but not surprised by the heat and coming back dirty.
When asked what they liked most about their experience at Tifie both said Astronomy and are looking forward to the Star Party. Rifle shooting is another interest. Both boys are hoping to earn five merit badges during their stay. And both are planning on obtaining their Eagle Rank, the highest award in scouting and thinking about their projects. And with their international experience it is no surprise that one idea is to go to Haiti and build houses.
You can learn more about Tifie at http://www.utahscouts.org/camps/tifie.
Author: Heidi Sanders | Marketing & PR Director, Utah National Parks Council