MUNSTER — Baseball is a universal language. Just ask Luigi David.
A member of Winfield Troop 88 Boy Scout, David made new friends with Japanese scouts at the 2019 World Scout Jamboree because of a mutual appreciation of baseball.
"The language barrier is very thick between any English speakers and Japan or South Korea," David said.
David got to know the Japanese scouts and brought Cubs and Bulls caps to the jamboree to trade.
"I just thought that maybe they'd want some Cubs hats," David said. "As soon as I showed them to them, they were really excited. We can't understand each other, but they knew that."
This year's jamboree, from July 22 to Aug. 2, was hosted in West Virginia at Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. Some 45,000 scouts came together from around the world every four years in a massive gathering.
"Since it's a world jamboree, the main focus is interaction on a whole bunch of different people from different countries," said David said, a Munster High School junior.
The World Scout Jamboree is an official educational event of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, for ages 14 to 17 from National Scout Organizations. David joined up with USA Troop 332, Central Region.
"One of the coolest things I saw (was) the different countries who have completely different languages, just speaking in English to each other," David said.
Trading items was a huge part of the jamboree. Scouts were encouraged to trade patches, scarves, hats and shirts.
The jamboree was a chance for David to see how different countries approach scouting.
The Japanese scouts, David noted, were extremely fast in assembling their campsites and the Germans were pretty similar in their scouting style.
"Some are more laid back, while some are more disciplined," David said.
His parents are proud of their son.
"It's like a once in a lifetime opportunity," his mother said. "Where else could you meet 152 countries in one gathering. As a parent, you always worry, but since it's a scouting event and they share the same moral values, you feel confident that your son or daughter is going to be OK and they're going to meet good people because all of them are scouts."