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Refugee Boy Scouts to attend National Jamboree for the first time

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Jun. 24, 2013 at 10:26 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Meeting Governor Herbert is the first stop for the scouts of Troop 1262 this summer. These young men are refugees from the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar, traditionally Burma. Thirty-five of them are headed to the National Jamboree in West Virginia.

Troop member Htee Shee says he's looking forward to meeting other Boy Scouts to trade badges and other things with them. Lupway Doh is excited to meet other Scouts.

"Meeting new people there, meeting people all over the world," Doh said.

Michael Nebeker lived in Thailand where their families spent years in refugee camps. He has watched them grow from a group of children who knew nothing about scouting to a troop committed to serving others and experiencing all of the adventures in all kinds of weather that scouting brings.

When a community wraps their arms around refugee youth, wonderful things can happen. These boys have been in the valley for about five years.

–Michael Nebeker, Troop 1262

"When a community wraps their arms around refugee youth, wonderful things can happen," Nebeker said. "These boys have been in the valley for about five years."

The 65 members of this troop are united as friends, even though they represent many different faiths. Some of them are Latter-day Saints, Catholics, Baptists, Buddhists and Muslims.

"We totally respect their own religion, you know," said Troop 1262 Scout Master Bob Roylance. "And as far as the Scouting's concerned, we try and encourage them to exercise their belief."

Their families were forced to flee their homeland, arriving in Utah with nothing. Now they are part of an all- American summer, which also includes visiting New York City and Washington, D.C.

Their trip will include a visit to New York City's Central Park and a game of soccer with African refugees. In Washington, they will visit the White House.


Carole Mikita

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