Tucson, meet the enthusiasm of Israeli youth! That was the mission on Monday, June 16th at the Jewish Community Center.
Scout troops from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other faiths were invited to represent Tucson and meet Israel Scout, a group of 16- and 17-year-olds who represent their native country in concert tours throughout the United States every summer. The event was open to the community, but particularly to other scouts who could earn credit for the Citizen of the World merit badge by attending the concert and talking with the cast.
The singing and dancing troupe is part of the oldest official youth movement in Israel. Since 1995, this branch of Scouting has been carefully selecting four groups of ten high-school-age youth to tour the United States, singing and dancing and offering international goodwill. The group performed songs with international flavor, but more often with those that taught about their homeland. They often involved the audience in the dancing.
As a gesture of friendship, the Israeli youth presented gifts to Jennifer Farrell, who had arranged for their visit. In turn, local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts offered gifts as well. On behalf of the Boy Scouts of America Catalina Council, Frank Youdelman of Troop 211 presented an original drawing of Baden Powell, a framed assortment of Southwest-themed Scout patches, and some neckerchief slides. Catalina Council President Gary Clark, representing both the Council and the Scouts from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presented a carved hiking stick laden with tokens and souvenirs representing the Desert Southwest’s Scouts.
The event was notable because of the announcement that the first ever Jewish Cub Scout Pack in Tucson has been formed. Gary Clark, BSA Catalina Council President, said, “I congratulate the Tucson Jewish community for providing the sponsorship and leadership of the new Cub Scout Pack with Herb Cohen as the new Cubmaster.”