The Spartan Race at the Jamboree was one of the most memorable activities I saw while I was there. While the race with all its obstacles was impressive, what made it particularly special to me that day was James.

As I began to follow the track, I started to notice that my shortcuts for pictures of the obstacles/challenges had me keeping pace with a lot of the same Scouts that were running the race.

One in particular started to stand out to me from the third obstacle. He was easily one of the skinniest boys on the track, but he showed ultimate determination to complete each challenge. His Scoutmaster, one of the few adults on the track, could be seen keeping pace with James and encouraging but not helping.

I watched him meticulously walk the wooden line, give 100% to his attempt to throw the spear, lift his little legs to jump the lower walls that the taller boys cleared more easily, and cleverly find a way over the taller wall that even the taller boys found challenging. He climbed the webbing, got over the inverted wall, and ultimately finished the race with his Scoutmaster and other teammates. 

I was deeply impressed by not only James’ commitment to finish, but also his Scoutmaster’s commitment to James’ success and to be at his side whatever the pace. Watching this dynamic duo make their way through the obstacles, I was reminded of the importance of encouragement and support and how sometimes slowing down is strength in good leadership.

Upon finishing the race, James’ shyness was obvious as he stood more quietly and let the other boys speak enthusiastically of their Spartan Race experience, but his determination was made clear when his Scoutmaster said, “He did it all and didn’t want help on any of it. No man left behind, right James?” I believe Scouting will have a huge impact on James as he looks back on moments like this and remembers the support of a committed Scoutmaster who took time to run the Spartan Race by his side.

For a broader perspective on the Spartan Race and all its obstacles, check it out here

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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