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One extreme or the other: Jamboree Scouts find a moment of peace

At breakfast one morning early in the jamboree, staffer John Norkus was feeling a little left out as Scouters went around the table describing their jamboree jobs.

“We were feeling kind of puny around extreme BMX, extreme mountain biking, extreme skateboarding,” he said. “So we changed our name to extreme landscape painting.”

At an activity that harkens back to the watercolor journals of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell, Norkus and fellow staffers Marshall Townsend and Jerry Silvestrini offered Scouts and Venturers a rare respite from the high-energy activities at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Kyle, a Rhode Island Scout from jamboree Troop C252, was finishing his watercolor painting when I visited on Tuesday. See Kyle with his impressive painting above or see a close-up at the end of this post.

Silvestrini said he saw a wide range of talent come by the “extreme” landscape painting tent during the jamboree.

“We got a mix of younger Scouts who just wanted to finish quickly and older boys who were patient and sat through the whole 30-minute class,” he said. “Venturing girls have liked it, too, and they’re more patient than boys of their age.”

Consider landscape painting yet another example of the diversity of activities offered by the 2013 jamboree. Throughout the 10 days, Scouts could try new things that tested them physically and mentally. But landscape painting was one of the few activities here that gave Scouts something hand-made to take home.

“We have them sign it and date it,” Townsend said. “And they take it home.”

“Let’s face it,” added Silvestrini. “Mom and Dad would rather see that than the patches you traded for.”

More photos:









8 Comments on One extreme or the other: Jamboree Scouts find a moment of peace

  1. It was great meeting you in person; and in seeing Russell Smart (the BSA’s Program Chair) yesterday at the “Meet the Man” tent visit. I hope someone recorded it –he and you had some great things to say about the Jamboree, the Summit and its future!!

    • Thanks, Mike. Great finally meeting one of my loyal readers in person!

      • Wow, what I would have given to be a fly on the pole of that tent to meet 2 of my favorite Scouters that I follow in blogs and LinkedIn comments!

  2. Wow great art work and views of the camp. I would be proud if my Scout did that.

  3. Gary Wilson // July 24, 2013 at 9:49 am // Reply

    What a great connection back to Scouting’s roots! B-P was an accomplished sketcher and watercolorist. He sometimes used that skill as a disguise and as a method of recording information when “Scouting” as a spy for the British Army.

  4. Those paintings are beautiful! What talented scouts there are at the Jamboree!

  5. Reblogged this on Leader Daze and commented:
    Sometimes it’s nice to remember that not everything about Scouting need be about high adventure. This is a nice article on one of the activities offered at the BSA National Jamboree this year.
    Painting offers a chance to develop observation skills and patience in young scouting members. I think that I need to remember where I packed my brushes.
    Be safe, be prepared, and keep Scouting!

  6. Only just found this on the BBlog. As a Chaplain at the ’13Jambo, I got around quite a bit, but didn’t even know this activity existed.
    As my wife recently took up painting (watercolor and landscape esp.) this is especially current to me.
    Art Merit Badge? But then, not everything in Scouting need be “patch” oriented, eh?

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