'A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:' Teenagers from Suffolk and Norfolk join 45,000 scouts at worldwide event
PUBLISHED: 16:05 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 26 July 2019
It has been hailed as the journey of a lifetime.
And scouts from across Suffolk and Norfolk have joined a prestigious group at a worldwide skills and adventure festival.
Among them are teenage trio - Levi Lawson, from Lowestoft, Ben Irving, of Costessey, and Ben Whitmore, from Ipswich - who have been chosen alongside 5,000 other Scouts from across the UK and 40,000 others globally in taking part in the World Scout Jamboree,
Having arrived at the festival in North America this week, the 24th World Scout Jamboree began in style with a stunning opening ceremony event.
Global adventurer and TV host Bear Grylls - the Chief Ambassador of World Scouting - opened the event by abseiling from the roof of the main stage
at the scout skills festival in West Virginia on Tuesday night.
Ben Whitmore, 15, Ben Irving, 16, and Levi Lawson, 17, are part of Unit 18 - 'Iceni' - which is formed of 36 participants from across Suffolk and Norfolk.
They will be meeting 45,000 Scouts from nearly every country in the world, as they share skills while enjoying high adventure in a picturesque part of North America.
Ben Irving said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I just can't wait to start meeting new people."
Levi said: "I've never seen so many like-minded people in the same place!"
Ben Whitmore added: "It's a good opportunity to use map reading skills to find all of the activities because the Jamboree site is huge."
The World Scout Jamboree is the culmination of two years of work for the leaders, which has involved camps and teambuilding events in preparing the young people for living on a humid site in West Virginia amongst Scouts from nearly every country in the world.
Opening the event, Bear Grylls, said: "World Scout Jamborees only happen every four years and tens of thousands of Scouts attend each one.
"They are incredible festivals of peace, friendship and adventure.
"Young people will make friends for life with people from over 150 countries, experience different food, language and culture while learning new skills. "It will be the journey of a lifetime.
"The 2019 Jamboree, jointly hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico, is set to be one of the biggest and most exciting yet."
The Jamboree takes place from July 23 to August 2.