(BUAN, SOUTH KOREA) — In what was supposed to be the pinnacle of his scouting career, a determined Eagle Scout from Colorado Springs found himself facing an unexpected and harrowing ordeal at the 25th World Scout Jamboree in South Korea.

The event, meant to foster international camaraderie among scouts, instead turned into a chaotic scene of inadequate preparation, severe heat, and a lack of essential facilities.

14-year-old Daniel Cauthen was the only scout from Colorado Springs to attend the World Scout Jamboree. He was among 40,000 other scouts from around the world, who had eagerly anticipated the event.

“I branded it as the Super Bowl of scouting,” said Justin Cauthen, Daniel’s dad, a former Eagle Scout himself.

With aspirations of collaborating with fellow scouts on a global scale, Cauthen looked forward to exchanging mementos and stories, akin to a trading language of friendship.

Despite the event’s six-year preparation period and a budget exceeding $80 million, organizers seemingly fell short of providing a world-class experience for the scouts, who had to contribute $9,000 each to attend.

On the very first day of the event, Daniel’s parents were sent distressing images of mountains of accumulated trash and dysfunctional bathrooms, pointing to a severe lack of organization on the part of the event’s planners.

“600 calories per day was what meals were being provided,” said Justin, who showed a picture of one of his son’s meals which included, chips, a packaged chocolate pie, an orange, and a drink.

The heatwave that swept across South Korea added to the scouts’ challenges, with over 400 cases of heat exhaustion reported on the very first night. The medical facilities struggled to keep up with the overwhelming demand for treatment.

The situation took a dire turn when Daniel himself fell victim to severe dehydration amidst soaring temperatures. He tried to seek medical attention when he started experiencing severe symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting but was turned away by the clinic because it was closed.

“The moment when I heard that the clinic was closed at night, I was like, ‘This is not right and we need to go there and pick him up’,” said Daniel’s mom, who couldn’t bear to be across the world from her son during this time.

The distressing experience led the Boy Scouts of America and the British Scout Association to take a significant step on Sunday, Aug. 6: they decided to withdraw their scouts from the event, citing serious concerns about heat protection, food supply, sanitation, and medical provisions. This move underscored the gravity of the situation and the importance placed on the scouts’ safety.

Daniel and his fellow scouts from the U.S. troop were relocated to a safer environment at Camp Humphreys, an army post in South Korea. Daniel’s parents are happy to report he is safe, adequately fed, and now having a great time exploring South Korea.

The World Scout Jamboree officially evacuated the ~34,000 scouts on Tuesday, Aug. 8, as a typhoon makes its way toward the site.

As they eagerly await for him to return home on the 13th, Daniel’s parents are calling for accountability.

“I’m not just upset about the lack of preparation. I’m upset at how that lack of preparation endangered 45,000 of the world’s future leaders… We need to make sure that the sanctity of the World Jamboree, the World Scouting Movement, is intact, and the only way that we can do this is if there are some hard questions being asked to the people that are in charge,” said Justin Cauthen.

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