When my uncle found out I’d be at the National Jamboree this year, he responded that I would accomplish what he never could. Until then, I hadn’t known that 40 years prior he too prepared to go to the National Jamboree. A trampoline accident broke both elbows, however, and ultimately prevented him from attending. After getting my first look at the National Jamboree, I can only imagine his disappointment equaled my amazement.
My first view of Summit Bechtel from above was so vast I couldn’t fully comprehend what I was seeing. Tents lined up so closely they blended into a block of colors. Fortunately, I could take it in one piece at a time as we made our way down into the camp. The climbing walls, the key rolling log, the water hubs, the lakes with diverse activities, the patch trading, and the exhibits thoroughly overwhelmed me as I made my way around.
Extraordinary stories fill a single day. I heard of rare awards earned and saw Scouts from different countries and different faiths. A rumor reached us that the Thai camp had the most unbelievable dinners (no surprise!). I met the first Orthodox Jewish ladies to attend Jamboree, heard about the Senator’s speech, and got pulled in to do a bit of interpreting to help the Japanese troop plan their next commissary run.
Heat, humidity, and rain couldn’t really put a dent in the constant activity at Jamboree. Due to the vastness of the camp and variety of activities, they tell participants to plan for approximately 10 miles of walking per day. While many can’t imagine keeping such a pace for 10 days, Jamboree participants come ready to chalk up that challenge as part of the experience.
For some, it is the last chance to attend as a Scout before they age out. For others, they are part of a legacy built by their family before them. Others yet are pioneers of their faith in Jamboree, seeking to begin their own legacy. No matter the differences, Jamboree creates a rare opportunity to unite Scouts in their love of God, country, and Scouting.
Check out the photo gallery below to get a look at the beginning of my Jamboree adventure!