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SD Boy Scouts Attend World Jamboree In Japan

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This week a group of boy scouts from Huron is home after attending the 23rd World Jamboree in Japan. The eight scouts were the only troop from South Dakota who traveled to Asia. 

Cheering families meet their boy scouts at the Sioux Falls airport. It's hard not to miss the troop as each scout member is wearing a red and blue USA handkerchief. Assistant Scout Master Melissa Machtemes says preparations for this adventure started many months ago.

"We thought this would be a great opportunity for the boys. And when we presented it to the boys they weren't really interested because they thought it was too expensive, and to them Japan was too far away. They didn't really think you could just get on a plane and travel there," says Machtemes. 

Each scout raised $6,000. Wyatt Larsen says fundraising quickly turned into a full time job, and he says the trip was worth all every cent. 

"It was just purely amazing," says Larsen. 

At the Jamboree the scouts camped alongside 36,000 other scouts from across the world.   

"You basically got your little plot that you set up on and then you've got plots from different countries all over," says Larsen. "We got a plot next to Brazil, Indonesia, and Norway."

But Larsen says right away he noticed that all scouts aren't the same.  

“Actually in everywhere but America it's just scouts, boys and girls- it's basically only in America where it's just boys," Larsen.

The theme of this year's Jamboree was "A Spirit of Unity." Sawyer Ptak says he was amazed at how quickly the scouts became friends.

"Friendship and working together as a troop is something that is really widespread and even just daily activities," Ptak says. "We are all scouts and we all came from one origin. So it's all related but they all kind of put their own twist on it."

The trip was a once in a lifetime experience, according to Scout Gavin Machtemes. But he says it's good to be home. 

"I'd go back, but I kind of like it here- it's pretty nice," Machtemes says. 

While in Asia for the Jamboree, the Scouts also toured a Japanese school and visited the Hiroshima Memorial Museum.