In 1956, Surendra Singhvi attended a National Jamboree, where he competed in a signaling contest with his troop. He and his fellow Scouts won the competition, taking home a trophy. The whole school was proud of the boys’ award, Singhvi says.
For you Scouting historians out there, you might’ve noticed the year and thought, “Wait, the BSA didn’t have a Jamboree in 1956.” You’re right. Singhvi grew up in Jodhpur, a city in northwestern India. In 1956, the country’s unified Scouting organization hosted its second all-India Jamboree, following the country’s independence from British rule a decade prior.
There are more than 170 national Scout organizations worldwide, and some host large gatherings. These are often called Jamborees, but depending on the scope of the event, it can be called a camporee, moot or agoonoree.
Whatever you call it, Scout gatherings remind us of the mission we all have: to prepare young people to make ethical decisions and serve as a force for good in their communities, countries and world. Singhvi has witnessed this during his time as a Scout in India and as a Scouting parent in the U.S.
Singhvi was a professor of finance at Miami University, worked as a financial planner for a steel company, built hotels, studied at Columbia University, started a consulting firm and wrote multiple books. He also launched endowment funds at Miami University and Columbia University, served in Rotary clubs, and volunteered for the city and local organizations.
“Scouting is a wonderful thing for young people — good values; you learn a lot of things to become independent and be successful in life,” Singhvi says. “It helps you learn to be helpful, be kind and be compassionate.”
Scouting helps with life skills
Singhvi recounted his memories as a Scout in his autobiography, beginning as a Cub Scout, when he learned how to pitch a tent, cook simple meals and sew clothes. When he moved on to older Scout programs, he participated in the Jamboree and attended a two-week camp nearly 200 miles from home.
Scouting helped Singhvi learn to be independent, a valuable skill he called upon later when he moved to America at 20 years old. Cooking and sewing skills also proved valuable after his move as he could cook at home and make repairs to his clothes to save money.
“Overall, my experience as a Boy Scout was great,” Singhvi writes. “After coming to the U.S., my son joined the Boy Scouts in his high school years in Middletown, Ohio, and I used to go camping with him and other Scouts and their fathers. It was good bonding between a father and a son.”
The 81-year-old who now lives in Dayton, Ohio, credits Scouting for not only teaching him life skills, but instilling values that he used to help others. He saw the same happen for his kids and grandkids, whom he encouraged to join Scouting.
Share your story
Singhvi’s story demonstrates how Scouting can impact lives, whether it began in the BSA or other national Scouting organization. There are multiple ways you can share your story that can inspire others to make the most out of their Scouting journeys.
The National Eagle Scout Association highlights Scouting accomplishments, like multiple generations of Eagle Scouts, joint courts of honor or professional achievements.
And you can always share how Scouting has impacted you or your family by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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