While everyone looks forward to something specific at Jamboree, first-time attenders will still endure a bit of culture shock. I’m not talking about the 20,000 Scouts in one place, or the impressive, wide-spread camp created at the Summit. No, I’m talking about patch trading, and no amount of stories or anecdotes can prepare you for the trading frenzy that takes place.

Of course, you have those who warm to it quicker than others and focus more energy and time. However, patch trading at the Jamboree isn’t just building collections, it’s building connections! 20,000 Scouts from across the nation and the world come together in the same place. They bunk as a troop/crew, they eat as a troop/crew, they sleep as a troop/crew, they do tours and activities as a troop/crew, and when they go to large events, they are still generally sitting as a troop/crew. While leaders cross their fingers that they’ll camp near other councils for a chance to mix and mingle, it doesn’t often happen that way. Luckily, patch trading counts among the activities that challenge that exclusive structure. 

We want our Scouts to have a well-rounded taste of Jamboree, including all kinds of activities. When you look at the culture of it, patch trading stands as the ‘campfire’ of Jamboree that brings Scouts from across the nation together. Scouts bring patches from their area as a piece of home that they can offer in exchange for a taste of where someone else came from. When you’re done, you can look at your collection to see how many people

you connected with from how many different places. Whether it’s the cartoons of California or the dinosaurs of Utah, it’s an opportunity to share something with others you very well never would have met otherwise. I hope you brought a few extra patches, people, because it’s T minus 24 hours to TRADING TIME! 

Angela Shelley
Japanese Tour Guide turned Jamboree Joy Ride. Combine a dad full of natural curiosity of the world and a love of learning with a Scouting momma whose passion for children, education and the outdoors and you get a family with many Dutch oven cooking, camp song singing, compass-confounded exploring, squirrel-chasing experiences. Despite that, I never would have guessed I would one day be a National Parks and Monuments tour guide for Japanese people. And I never would have guessed I'd then move on to work for Boy Scouts of America.

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