It all started on a Saturday night. I received a call from women by the name of Diane Gilmore, stating that my application was accepted to attend the National World Scout Jamboree in England. I was the happiest kid on earth.
For a 14 year old in the community where I come from this is nearly impossible. Growing up as a low-income child and seeing my single mother struggle to pay the month’s rent is just one of the many struggles I have had to deal with. When I received the call and told my mother about it her first reactions were concerning money but I told her that I would find a way to go. I was able to receive a thousand dollars worth of popcorn from the Boy Scouts of America upfront and pay them 40% of what I made. I struggled, making my way every evening from house to house, street to street selling popcorn. Time was of an essence. Some days I would stay up until 11 o’clock at night selling popcorn door to door. Rejections, sells, everything came my way. One day I finally gave up—I had no hope for myself, I was still short 3.000 dollars. Fortunate for me my Boy Scout troop decided that they would also help me fundraise. Through dedication and hard work they help me raise 4,000 dollars to make my once in a life time experience come true.
The day was finally here, July 26th, 2007 was the day of my departure. I was nervous. When I arrived to England I was astonished. It was my first time ever leaving the country, not to mention the city. I arrived in London, England the following day at six in the morning and looked forward to meeting tons of people. The three weeks I spent in England were some of the best three weeks of my life. I met people such as Francesca from England and Kathinka from Belgium. Thousands of scouts from around the world attended this event. I woke up every morning looking forward to a new adventure, traveling to different parts of England and doing service projects to better the city. I along with 49 other scouts from Los Angeles was in a country unknown. I struggled, counting every pound in my pocket, making sure I had enough money to last me the whole time. My mother had no money to give me so I only took what I raised.
As the week continued I became fond of the people around me. I felt free. Independent. Worthy. My friends, whom I had just met were amazing people, we danced, laughed, and shared great experiences that will forever be engraved in my mind. 14 years old and off in a different country was the talk of the neighborhood. Everyone was very proud of me, including myself. I cherished the moments I had in England and know that one day I will look back and say, “What an experience.” I thank all those who made this trip possible, including my Boy Scout troop and my whole entire community.
When I came back to the U.S. reality struck, those friends I shared memories with and laughed with were ripped apart from my heart. Depression and sadness came about and I missed them so dearly. Thankfully I kept in touch with all of them and continue to do so. I one day hope to return to England and see them all. For the meanwhile, I will keep remembering the best time of my life, my trip to England.
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