In a historic first, girls join contingent of 32 local Scouts at World Scout Jamboree

(Abby Schwab at the opening ceremony)

A contingent of 32 Scouts from the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America has returned from the 24th World Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. 45,000 Scouts from over 150 countries attended the Jamboree, hosted at the 10,000-acre reserve, one of the world’s most sustainable campsites. The Jamboree was staffed by 10,500 volunteers.

The Narragansett Council’s 32 Scouts were from communities across southeastern New England.

Two of the local first-time attendees were Abby Schwab (17) from Troop 1846 Attleboro and her brother James Schwab, Jr. (14) from Troop 61 Norton. This was the first Scouting event that Abby and James participated in together. They grew up in a Scouting household – their father Jim is an Eagle Scout and serves as Abby’s all-girl troop’s Scoutmaster. Earlier this year, the Scouts BSA program launched welcoming girls into the Scout’s flagship program and encouraging girls to join in their local Councils across the country. 

While at the Jamboree, Scouts are grouped into troops for the week. Abby’s troop USA 433 was one of the first two Scouts BSA girl troops in the World Jamboree’s history.

USA Troop 433 on arrival to Jamboree.jpg
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(USA Troop 433 after arriving at the Jamboree)

Girls also attended Camp Yawgoog in Rockville, RI for the first time this summer and have been raving about the opportunity to participate with boys. Abby and James will be attending Yawgoog Scout Reservation for the first time together in August.

“We are excited to see 32 Scouts from numerous communities take this once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about different cultures, become better leaders and make lasting friendships,” said Narragansett Council CEO Tim McCandless.

“We launched the Scouts BSA program this year to offer girls in our Council all the same Scouting opportunities that boys have for over a century. We are proud of Abby and the other girls for seizing this new opportunity.”

“I was given an opportunity to make history these past two weeks,” Abby said. “I spent time meeting scouts from around the world, representing Scouts BSA as one of the first female Scouts to attend the World Scouting Jamboree. I’m beyond thankful for being able to attend this event, the opportunities scouting has afforded me and being a part of Troop 1846. The World Scout Jamboree has truly changed my life.”

The 12-day event is united in the Scouting Movement and the core principles are adventure, friendship, leadership, service and sustainability. The Jamboree emphasizes the Scouting traditions of conservation and outdoorsmanship, but this event has a larger goal to teach attendees about the growing trend of leadership development and global citizenship that the Jamboree has fostered over the years.

“We were thrilled to welcome Scouts from around the world to West Virginia this year,” said World Scout Jamboree Co-Chair Scott Sorrels. “It was inspiring to watch Scouts learn from one another and take these lessons back to their communities in over 150 countries,” Sorrels added. 

This year’s goal was “Unlock a New World,” encouraging Scouts to educate themselves on global issues and create a better world. The Jamboree incorporated an emphasis on cross-cultural respect and engagement, as well as gender equality.

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