Osama Mourad became a Cub Scout when he was in the fifth grade. Before he left high school, he was an assistant Scout leader, helping younger Scouts. The Egyptian Scout Federation, like many national Scouting organizations, puts a premium on leadership by older Scouts and young adults.
In fact, completing Wood Badge — not earning a specific rank — was what most of his peers aspired to. Mourad took Wood Badge at age 23, and almost everyone else in the course was about the same age.
Infrastructure got much less attention, so manuals and uniforms were hard to come by. Mourad and his fellow Scouts wore make-do uniforms adorned with badges that were created on color printers and laminated.
“We had to have our uniform or something close in competitions,” he says. “We distributed and collected back the badges; this is how we kept our points for the next competition.”
Mourad moved to the United States in 2011 and joined the BSA even before he found a job. Now the father of Scouts Bilal and Sulayman, he is a Webelos den leader with Pack 12 that he organized four years ago as a Cubmaster, a committee member with Troop 12, a Muslim religious-emblems coordinator and a unit commissioner. He completed American Wood Badge in 2016 and has since served on two Wood Badge staffs.
“Scouting here is great,” he says. “It’s different, but it’s good. The quality of what I’m experiencing is the same — the brotherhood.”