Send your son to the World Jamboree, “because it is the best investment you can make in your son.” That’s what Melanie Allred said to me a few weeks ago, when she as asked what Scouting has meant to her family.
She told me about her son, James’ experience this last summer at the National Jamboree. Clearly it was the zenith his Scouting career, even after earning his Eagle last fall.
Then she thought back to James’ first days in Scouting and explained that because their local troop was small, she felt a need to help out. “We found that we had to take matters into our own hands to help James progress along the Scouting trail, and at the same time, get him to learn all the principles of Scouting.” Eventually this lead to her becoming troop 176’s committee chair, that of course, meant training. She explained how one bit of training led to another.
During one of those courses, she met Bill Mitchell, who was serving as a Scoutmaster for the 2017 Jamboree. She told Bill how she wanted her son to get the whole Scouting experience. Naturally, he suggested James join his troop. That was the beginning of a “fantastic experience” for her son. She “loved that for the whole year before Jamboree, they were holding meetings and learning how to be patrols, following the guidelines of Scouting.”
The preparation for Jamboree helped him learn how to plan for something big, over a couple of years. “He had to earn money so he could go, he had to attend all his troop meetings, and he ended up being one of the patrol leaders, so he also had a leadership responsibility. It was awesome for me as a parent to be able to take a step back and let him be responsible to his Jamboree Scoutmaster and senior patrol leader. Having that foundation to be able to take to the Jamboree in West Virginia and seeing tens of thousands of other young men and young women who have the same values was invaluable for my son.”
She said that her son liked the BMX tracks best, returning several times. He also enjoyed the rock climbing, kayaking, and all the things at Jamboree that they could not offer him at home in Scouting. “It was amazing for him to be able to go away and have this experience where he got to learn what he is made of,” she said.
“I know that my son is prepared more for life from National Jamboree and can’t even imagine how much more prepared he will be at World Jamboree, being able to interact with so many different people, from so many different religions and cultural backgrounds. Learning how to respect and appreciate all the diversity that is in this world while at the same time learning they can do hard things without mom and dad hovering over them all the time.”
When asked about World Jamboree in two years, with a tear in her eye, she promised, “You should consider it because it is the best investment you can make in your son. It allows them to make those choices for themselves and feel the growth that comes from making hard decisions and following through on their own. It was worth every single penny.”