Every four years, the Boy Scouts of America do something extraordinary. The BSA brings together over 40,000 young men for ten days in one location – The National Jamboree. This is a Jamboree year. The event runs from July 19 to July 28 at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. Totaling over 14,000 acres, the Summit is the permanent home of the Jamboree.
Boy Scouting At Its Best
The Jamboree represents Boy Scouting at its best. Why? Perhaps this is best answered in the BSA’s Mission Statement, which says in part:
“It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and, in other ways, to prepare them to make ethical choices during their lifetime in achieving their full potential.”
The Jamboree is specifically set up to give boys the experiences and opportunities to develop character, physical fitness and citizenship through community and outdoor activities. And, perhaps most importantly, the Boys have an opportunity to learn about leadership and working together.
Boys are organized into patrols. The boys need to learn to work together as a unit to achieve their chores or tasks each day. The Jamboree is not just about fun and games (we will get to that). It is also about becoming team players, a life skill for the long-term. Older, more experienced boys are given leadership roles in the patrol. However, these older boys are encouraged to model “servant leadership”. The leaders leaders don’t just order younger boys to do work, but lead by example.
Challenges and Fun
The Jamboree is considered a Boy Scout High Adventure event. Just like a paddling trip in the Boundary Waters, the boys that attend the Jamboree will have the opportunity to experience an amazing assortment of activities. Take a look at these activity areas, each including many possibilities:
|Extreme Sports||Off Road Vehicles||Whitewater River Rafting|
|Canopy Tours||BMX and Mountain Biking||Shooting and Archery|
The boys also will have educational opportunities such as birding, photography, weather, engineering, geology and many others. Finally, the Summit has a very large stadium venue where the boys will hear from distinguished speakers and see performances by well-known entertainers. Speakers this year include Eagle Scout and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the President of the United States.
Putting It All Together
In a nutshell, the Jamboree is a world-class event for boys, ages 11 to 18, to learn, have a great time, and meet other boys from all over the country. In the last several years, the BSA has had its share of issues, some not very flattering. However, I wanted to give some credit where credit is due. The BSA Jamboree is the type of event we need more of these days.
We Believe in Boy Scouting
At Williams and Hall, we like to say that “We know Boy Scouts” because we personally have been involved in scouting during our youth and as adult leaders. We also provide high adventure trips to many Boy Scout troops each summer. However, the truth is that we believe in Boy Scouting because we have witnessed firsthand the difference it has made in our own lives, our sons’ lives, and the lives of the boys that come through our facility each year. We are convinced that Boy Scouting has a positive influence in many ways. The Jamboree is just one more example.