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Read this letter from a mom about her son’s jamboree experience

Consider it the ultimate leap of faith.

Over the past three years, the Boy Scouts of America asked tens of thousands of Scouts, Venturers, Scouters and parents to trust the organization’s vision to reshape the national jamboree.

Not only was the Summit Bechtel Reserve the first new location for a jamboree since 1981, but also the planners intended to drastically change the jamboree model entirely.

Did it work?

Rather than taking my word for it, now you can hear directly from one Hudson Valley Council mom who “spent $1,600 and many hours of meetings and travel preparing for an event that I was sure would be too strenuous, too long and too difficult for my often-scattered and unfocused 12-year-old son.”

She sent her letter to me and said I could share it with you. Don’t miss her touching, well-written thoughts after the jump…

On the subject of the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree:

I felt compelled to write a letter to the council regarding my son’s experiences at the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Although social media has been the communication method of choice, I felt that I could not do this message justice in a small paragraph.

Six months ago I was terrified. Terrified that my son would not make First Class rank after we had spent $1,600 and many hours of meetings and travel preparing for an event that I was sure would be too strenuous, too long and too difficult for my often-scattered and unfocused 12-year-old son.

My husband and I forged along, buying gear, attending meetings and encouraging our son to complete his First Class requirements. Little by little, everything started to come together, as it often does in Scouting, until you realize you’ve accomplished what six months ago looked to be impossible.

So we appeared to be as prepared as we could be. Logistically, we were not sure the same could be said at the national level for the site preparation. But schedules arrived before departure and all of the questions that were answered with “I don’t know” or “We’ll find out when we get there” were ultimately left as a leap of faith on our part as parents.

Much less terrified, I dropped my son off in Central Valley, N.Y. at 4 a.m. on July 14. I had coached myself and my son to keep an open mind, be willing to alter your expectations, and go with flow. Above all, have the most fun of your entire short life. That was the goal, ultimately.

The first surprise was an actual phone call from our son the first evening, who reported the buses were really comfortable, the trip was smooth, the fellowship dinner was really nice and the hotel was great! Whew! Kudos to our local council — excellent planning!

The boys would arrive fresh, not tired, and ready for 10 crazy days and nights. Second surprise, the following evening, another phone call! Arrival at the camp site was at the designated time, pretty much on the nose. HOLY COW!!!!! I am still scratching my head wondering how TMS pulled off such a precisely timed arrival. (The return trip, by the way, was also within 10 minutes arrival of the original schedule.) To make a long story short, the surprises kept coming and coming, and they were almost all pleasant or even thrilling surprises. The Flickr site images, with professional photos of all things jamboree, making us feel like we were really there, the nightly check-in phone calls, the last minute opportunity to go on the “BIG ZIP!”, and all the activities: the archery course, the stand-up paddleboards, the waterfront obstacle course, rock climbing, scuba diving, pioneering, service project, ropes course, a rock concert, fireworks, patch trading, world record-breaking, meeting and patch trading with Scouts from all across the U.S. and foreign countries, mud slides… all of which my son saw and participated in, with patches and souvenirs from most events included.

Did my son stand on long lines? Yes. Did he get dirty? Yes. Did he miss out on doing some things he had hoped to do? Yes. Did he dislike some of the food? Yes. Are his hiking boots so mud saturated they are unusable now? Yes. Did he have the best time of his short life, and accumulate a ton of memories and skills that will stay with him forever? YES.

I don’t know how to thank all of the leaders of Troop A449 and all of the staff and volunteers with Hudson Valley Council, and most of all the staff at the Summit, who spent a lot of personal money to wake up at 4 a.m. for 10 days in a row, stand around in 90-plus-degree heat all day, so that my son could have a good time.

I just don’t know what he will do if he is asked to write an essay in English class about what he did this summer, because I’m pretty sure no seventh-grade teacher will believe it.

Sincerely,

Cindy Reifenberger, Scout Mom


BSA photo by Edward Bronson

56 Comments on Read this letter from a mom about her son’s jamboree experience

  1. I love it! I hope every Scout who attended can share such stories!

  2. The the experiences will provide a lifetime of memories for your son and 29,999 other kids. Thanks mom for loosening the apron strings just enough.

  3. Great letter Cindy, thanks for sharing.
    My son also had a great time. He was only accepted in mid-May as a replacement and we weren’t sure he would be sufficiently prepared, but due to the helpfulness of National Staff and the local Troop Leadership A331, we were able to be as ready as was possible. As I wash the very fragrant laundry and put that which can’t be laundered out in the sunshine, or throw it out…I am very grateful to all who helped this whole experience to happen.

    • I was an ASM for Troop A330; we were neighbors of A331. A331 leaders were nice guys – glad to hear your son had a good experience.

      • Thanks for the kind words Jim. It was my comfort with the leaders that convinced me that my son would be in good hands…even coming into things so late.

  4. My thoughts exactly! My 12 year old had a blast, and I am so blessed to know that he will have such wonderful memories!

  5. First, Bryan … thank you for your posts during the Jamboree. I really enjoyed seeing them in my inbox.

    I love the letter! Our son just got back from his second Jambo (went as a 17 year old Eagle Scout this time). He had a great time. I was on our Council’s Jamboree Committee, and a lot of folks just don’t appreciate the time and effort that goes into planning: Budgeting, Fund-raising, Recruiting, Buses (getting quotes, weighing the different companies), Patches, Shakedowns (two camping shakedowns), Contingent Meetings (I forget how many, 4, 5, 6?), pre-Jamboree tour planning (in our case Washington DC, Hershey Park, Whitewater – long story, but our contingent did a pre-Jambo whitewater when the $50 fee was added – because we’d advertised whitewater as “included”) … none of those things plan themselves.

    Did I mention patches? Our committee chair kept us to a strict 10 minute limit at each meeting. “Okay, we have 10 minutes to discuss patches”. We ended up with a set of patches designed by one of the youth (we’ve never gone the route of getting superheros …) We probably still spent more time on that than anything else!

    Then there are the leaders and staff. They pay their own way, and take time off work to attend. I’ll bet every Council sent dozens of people who slept four to a tent in “bunk-cots” and took “ambient” (meaning cold) showers, for up to two weeks, working full days in the sun and rain, to provide this experience to the youth.

    I think the hardest problem we (our committee) had with this Jamboree was figuring out whether the youngest eligible scouts would have a good time. We weren’t sure if this was going to be a grueling high adventure event, or an AP Hill type “Disneyland for Scouting” or somewhere in between. I’m eager to hear from the younger members of our contingent, because all I’ve heard from is a 17 year old who’s still asleep at 1:30 pm … after getting home around 2:00 am last night.

  6. Great letter. My son will be crossing over into Boy Scouts in February, I hope I can write a similar letter about his experience at a Jamboree.

  7. My son, 16, and a Life Scout just returned, also muddy, at 2:30 am last night and after I had my doubts, rated this the best camping experience he ever had and wants to lobby his troop to make a return trip to experience the Summit as a high adventure base. That in itself speaks volumes.

    The reason I had my doubts was that there were so many scheduled in activities, such as the Summit Trek, the Day of Service and along with the constant threat of thunder storms his zip line canopy tour was canceled and he was looking forward to that the most. It was the dampness and the activities constantly being canceled would dampen his spirits. I am happy to report that he is beaming and experienced activities that have given him life lasting memories.

    But even more I think that the plan to mix up the troops with other troops from around the country and world was ingenious and was the true highlight of the 10 day Jamboree. He has come back with new friends and a drive to make it to Eagle that he indeed needed. He has found a new purpose to bring high adventure activities to his home troop and make them listen and with the 4 others who attended might have a chance in his heavily adult run troop to have a chance.

    So all in all, a high adventure jamboree, on a secluded West Virginia mountain, with all the logistical nightmares of organizing 30,000 scouts and the staff needed to keep them going for an inaugural session is to be celebrated.

  8. The brands that leave the tents on the grass became images of farewell.

  9. Our son-a Life Scout returned home last night muddy and stinky and happy. He talked non-stop for almost 2 hours-a miracle for any 15 year old boy-about his experiences. We went through the pictures on the BSA Flickr site since he was too busy having fun to take any pictures himself. He kept saying “oh yeah, I saw that, but didn’t have time to do it”, but he didn’t seem to mind-it made him want to go again and take his whole troop with him next time. He was awake by 9AM saying he was so used to waking up at 5AM that this was really sleeping in. He is now in the process of doing his laundry on the “Heavy Duty” cycle. :)

    Thank you to the countless volunteers at the contingent troop and council level and to all those who sacrificed money, time, sleep and comfort to provide my son with the opportunity of a lifetime!

  10. I could write the exact same story about my 13 yr. old son and wish to also include that:
    He took a nasty tumble down a mud hill. He required the services of an orthopedic (and transport and helpful scouts from Mississippi who cheerfully carried his day pack back to Camp C). Not once did he ask me to fly out of Chicago to come pick him up. I wish I knew all the scouters to thank for helping my new teenager feel comfortable enough and empowered enough to stay the course and climb that bus in a cast and crutches for a 14 hour ride home. When things go right, there is nothing better than the brother and sisterhood we all call the BSA.

  11. Karen Tatum // July 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm // Reply

    Great letter that expresses the thoughts of many of us out there. Also great positive counterpoint to all the garbage about Scouting that the media used Jambo to recycle. This was my 15-yr-old’s second Jamboree. He attended the last one at Fort A.P. Hill as a 12-yr-old and was determined to attend the first one at the Summit. This time he went as Senior Patrol Leader and paid about half the cost himself. He is already plotting his return as 3rd Asst. Scoutmaster at the next one. He is addicted. Awesome job local leaders, Summit staff and volunteers, and BSA for offering such a wonderful program.

  12. Cassie Freeman // July 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm // Reply

    My Star Scout attended and it was beyond amazing. He is the oldest of four (with two younger brothers coming up the ranks) and has two parents who like everyone else joining this conversation have put in endless volunteer hours as adult leaders, dollars and effort in to making this Jamboree experience possible. Like his summer camp experiences, he left clean and well rested. And like wise returned smelling of…well, I can’t ever put that into words. Besides if you are reading this, you already know know what I mean. But unlike summer camp, he did some seriously high adventure stuff (his favorite). The patch trading was a brand new experience and he come home with a story about each and every patch that is now sprawled out on the dining room table.

    And even though he discovered for the first time that he has a rather violent allergy to walnuts resulting in about 4 hours in the Infirmary on day 8 of the Jambo…he had this to say about that disgusting event…”the Infirmary had air conditioning and real mattresses, so I could have stayed there all night”. A big shout out to the medical care providers who took very good care of my son when I couldn’t be there.

    We are now counting down to 2017 when he and his younger will attend together.

  13. My son was one of the leaders that you talked about. It makes me so proud to be his mom and know that he helped 40,000+ scouts enjoy the jamboree and to keep them safe.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this letter. It sounds like something I would have written myself, and was a little teary eyed as I read it aloud to my boys.

    And thank you Bryan for all your blogs. It was a great way for us at home to feel connected, and see all the amazing things going on at Jambo.

    • It was my pleasure!

  15. Thank you! My 12 year old Star Scout returned late last night and reported that he had a great time! He had things mapped out before going but found some of the things he planned he did not do and yet did a lot of things that he didn’t plan on, but enjoyed them!

    I do wish there was a way to do a Disney theme park style of photo-pass. You would have a photographer take pictures at the events and then scan your pass so mom and dad could buy the images or a CD from home of all the pictures with you in them.

    Jamboree was so good that he has now decided to sign up for this Fall’s NYLT and wants to go to Japan in 2015!!

    Thanks again to each and every person that worked so hard, took time off away from their families and jobs, and spent their own money to be there! Trust us, it was worth it!

  16. Melanie conb // July 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm // Reply

    That is great!!

  17. I am so excited for my son (a First Year, Tenderfoot) to get the opportunity to do this sometime in the next few years… I hope his Troop sends a contingent next time!

  18. My son and his best friend were there as OA trek guides. I am proud that they helped make this possible for all of the other scouts (including my daughter who went with her crew). Jambo is hard work to get them there (meetings and a LOT of money for us on the west coast that also need to fly across country both ways) but well worth it in memories, lessons, and life long friends. So glad that the boys are giving back to scouting. So thankful of the OA which encourages them to give back and work hard. Now if I could only figure out how to get them to pay me to work as many hours and as hard here at home. lol (In case you don’t know most of the volunteers pay for the cost of the event and transportation so they could work long hours with cold showers to help put on this event for all the others.)

  19. For those of you with younger Scouts, who will be looking to go in 2017… My wife and I went with our son, (Eagle ,17) who went as a participant in 2013. He worked on staff as an O/A Messenger of Peace and helped with the Scouts’ day of service. We both decided to go on staff as well. My wife medical, and I at the trading post. It will be one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do! Listening and comparing Jambo stories was a blast. Watching our son taking on leadership responsibilities first hand was a once in a lifetime experience. Being among 30,000 plus scouts saying the Scout oath is pretty cool. It’s an option (as compared to a Council leader) that will put them and yourselves with people from all over the country, And they need staff. Love to hear everyone thoughts.

  20. “I had coached myself and my son to keep an open mind, be willing to alter your expectations, and go with flow.”

    I can’t agree more and would write exactly the same letter. I think the above sentence says it all. Kids who were open to the experience and willing to be flexible had a great time. Those who were unwilling to let go of preconceived notions missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

  21. “Are his hiking boots so mud saturated they are unusable now? Yes.”
    I don’t know what type of boots you bought, but if they are so mud saturated they are unusable (which I doubt) I would want my money back.

  22. Yep! I still fondly recall attending the 1950 Jamboree with my brother; the 1977; 1979 World Jamboree with my sons. The treasures of life are Friends; Family; Memories. MANY OF MY FONDEST ARE OF SCOUTING! CMB, NESA LIFE MEMBER.

  23. $1200 sounds great! We paid over $3200.

  24. That was an awesome letter. I can’t wait for my 15 year old star scout to return Friday evening to hear all the fun he had too. They did some extra sight seeing on the way home to Louisiana by stopping in Tennesse. I was also excited to get phone calls and text from my son. His Troop C435 also went to Washington and Philledelphia before heading to Jamboree, so he is so ready to come home after being gone three weeks, but he still has a blast according to him.

  25. Nick Lodise // July 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm // Reply

    Cindy ,I just got home from the Jamboree. I was on staff. I was in Sub Camp Alha 2 Fire Creek.I wish to say thank you. It was so nice to read your comment. It most certainly is inspiring knowing that your son shared this lifetime experience. This was my first time on staff and I can’t wait to do this again. The father of 5 Eagles, and a good ole Owl was he

    Nick Lodise

  26. Wanda King // July 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm // Reply

    So happy to hear your son had a memorable experience in West Virginia! Our local watershed group, Morris Creek watershed, had the opportunity to host groups of scouts during their visit. We heard many positive comments, from the boys. It was a pleasure to be involved in such a huge undertaking. I don’t know if your son was one who came to Morris Creek or not but we were very grateful for the experience. I congratulate the boys who did come to Morris creek for being so well behaved. You just never know what your getting into when you have so many young people together in one place. But I can say as far as Morris creek is concerned, keep up the good work because, Moms and Dads, you are raising one great bunch of kids! Kudos to you as well!

  27. Carol Lee Cherry // July 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm // Reply

    My husband went on staff for a second Jambo as an engineer at QBSA. Like I hear from the parents, my husband has been talking, showing me souveniors and patches, looking at photos, and talking about what to put in the scrapbook for him. Yes, he paid to volunteer, took 2 weeks of vacation, got up at 5 am to take an ambient shower, hiked several miles to his job in heat and rain. Why?? To have the time of his life mentoring Scouts and in fellowship with other like minded adults. I know it will be weeks until he comes down off this high. He is coming back in 2017 & 2019. Were there hiccups and glitches like tents not being well marked so he initally was in the wrong tent, bugs that chewed on your ankles, etc but did that override the experience and what fun the kids had??? Absolutely not!! I am so proud of him. We will both continue to volunteer with Scouting at the local, council, and national level until our bones are just too brittle to take it!

    Carol Lee Cherry
    Daughter, sister, mother of an Eagle
    Proud Wife of Bill Cherry, a Fox

  28. Kenneth Schwartz // July 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm // Reply

    This is my 2nd National Jamboree onSecurity staff & what makes itgreat for myself & I know all my fellow staff members on Security was talking with as many youth during the Jamboree & having them say they having a great time. Also reading your letter about how well your son enjoyed made the cold showers, long days, early morning wake up the cost we had to pay, and vacation we used Well WORTH IT. STAFF does all this out of a LABOR OF LOVE, to ensure the youth ENJOY!!! See you all at THE SUMMIT in2017!!!!

  29. I love your letter. You spoke very eloquently for so many Scout parents. My 13 year old Star Scout has said several times how he wished that Jambo didn’t have to end. He’s already talking about 2017! He’s only 13, but he fully realizes that this was a once in a lifetime experience and he had a blast! He and I compared pictures last night when he got home- mine were from Flickr and his on the ipod! Thanks to all the volunteers for all you do.

  30. Monica Nelsas // July 26, 2013 at 9:39 am // Reply

    I’m the mom of two South Florida scouts, with the same good experience. They went to the last one at Fort A.P.Hill, paid their way to go to this one (One Eagle and one Life Scout) and now they are already making plans to go to the next one (and even to the World Jamboree in 2019). They got back at 3:00 am in the morning and were talking without stopping till 6:00 am when their “tired parents” went to sleep.

    Scouting teaches a lot of great things, fellowship, confidence, responsibility and values that will last their entire life. Now they have brothers and sisters all over US and I know they will last forever.

    Thank you to all of those who work long hours to make it possible, each one of this great stories are because of you!!

  31. Connie Knie // July 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm // Reply

    My first Jamboree was 2010 and there were so many behind the scene glitches I couldn’t believe it, but we pulled it off. Knowing what I knew from that I forged ahead and was nothing but supportive of the efforts being made at the Summit in just three short years.

    And they did it!! Were there glitches? A few (actually less than in 2010, at least in my area). I was in Stand Up Paddleboard and we put through almost 10,000 scouts in those few days even with rain and lightening delays. I want to shout out to all of the staff who gave up their one potential day of rest, Sunday, in order to volunteer so that the scouts would get a chance to get done all that they wanted to.

    The few complaints I heard were reasonable and I counseled scouts when filling out evaluations to make suggestions rather than just complain and they liked that idea.

    But what was the best was when I heard a scout walking by and he said that this was “better than sitting at home playing video games”……..!!!!

    I had a blast and so did my daughter who was on staff in the stadium. We both plan on returning in 2017 if they will have us.

    And I even got to take our very own Brian out on a SUP on the last day. He fell in a lot but if you read the blog about SUP if you are not wet you aren’t trying hard enough.

    Thanks again to all of the wonderful staff and scouts who made this experience all that I had hoped for and more.

    • Don Bievenour // July 27, 2013 at 9:27 am // Reply

      Connie, you rock! I was part of the SUP staff with Connie and a bunch of extraordinary, dedicated staff that worked long hours with a smile and encouraging words. Who goes to bed at 9 PM? We did and up at 5:30 AM or so. Our leader Bill Hall was a brick
      Ambient showers forever! Don Bievenour

  32. Keith Coffey // July 26, 2013 at 5:26 pm // Reply

    As a pharmacy staff member we built a pharmacy from scratch and delivered necessary drugs to base camps and program areas. There were many bumps in the road and battles to fight (RAIN), most we won some not. One of my fellow Pharmacists and I were walking from the stadium to boulder cove and passed two leaders on the trail. One of the leaders said “Thank you staff for what you have done”. That made us realize that all the work we had done in the staff week was worth it. For a leader to say thank you out of the blue, not knowing where we worked or who we were was humbling. We both realized that the scouts were in for an adventure of a lifetime. To be part of it was great and the leaders comments reflect on what all staff members have done to make the Jamboree happen. I said from the start its going to be an adventure and boy was it !!!!!!!!!!

    • Judy Gibson // July 27, 2013 at 10:48 am // Reply

      I’d like to thank you again. You were part of the crew who kept my Eagle on the trail so he could continue to staff the Jamboree. He was in the medical tent at least twice and came home with prescription ear drops that he could not have gotten without the services of the pharmacy staff. His ear is much better, BTW.

  33. Fr. Joel McEachen // July 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm // Reply

    My 7th Jamboree as a chaplain and my first in a base camp. A grandson was jr. staff and a granddaughter in a Venture crew in my camp, “F”. Witnessing the overall courteousness and expended energy of staff and participants makes me realize the Summit property will only improve, as have the other high adventure sites (I’ve been to Philmont.) it was a strenuous experience, not for the lazy or the unmotivated; my family told me of the cheap shots fired at BSA and the Summit over the emphasis on BMI and physical preparation for the Jamboree and all I can say to them is to get out of your comfortable tv studio seats and experience as did Willard Scott and Al Roker-who actually saw and talked with the boys-who were joined this year by nearly 4,000 co-ed Venture Scouts and foreign scout contingents.
    You had to have witnessed the 2013 Jamboree and the nascent Bechtel Summit Reserve property to have had your faith in America’s youth renewed.

  34. SUPPORT SCOUTING at the GRASS ROOTS LEVEL!

    RUNNING OUT OF TIME! Zachary Cuny is running out of time to complete his Eagle Project! He needs donations to buy materials to finish it by August 9th (goes off to college), and he turns 18 on September 1st!!! Please help! Donate anything you can, or as much as you can… he needs your help! (By the way, Zachary worked on the volunteer youth staff at Jamboree this year on Conservation Trek – if your son enjoyed the hike, won’t you help him out?)

    >>> http://www.gofundme.com/eagleproject <<<

    Thanks, Antonio Cuny

    • Shouldn’t he be seeking these donations, or are you earning the Eagle FOR him?

  35. James Lehman, Jr. // July 26, 2013 at 10:14 pm // Reply

    I saw A449 there. “Looks like a Scout Troop to me!” Those boots have not reached the end of their usefulness. I doubt if they are “so mud soaked” as to be unuseable: lots of water, alittle scrubbing…. Mebbe he has grown out of’em. Simply nail’em up on the side of the garage, your house wrens will appreciate them. As to the rest of the mom’s comments, I have no doubt that all of them are correct and a natural result of the saying that “a bad day at camp is beter than a good day at the office”. And there were NO bad days at the Jambo. Only gradations of GOOD (it did rain sometime, somewhere on site everyday!)
    Good Jambo to you!

  36. I just love how “the locals” (people who can drive to Jambo in a few hours) complain about paying $1600.00 to attend the Jamboree.
    Try paying $3600.00 just to start, then add cost of the shakedown camps, extra uniforms and equipment and spending money……., and that’s from the west coast. Think about a scout from Aloha, Far East, Transatlantic, Great Alaska, or any of the distant councils in BSA (or Direct Service units). It becomes a huge expense to attend Jambo. $5000 is not a bad estimate to start with.
    Does National offer any incentive/discount for those scouts? Nope. never.
    But I’ll bet that they would jump at the opportunity to pay $1600.00!
    If it were that inexpensive, I would have sent both my Sons and offered to staff too!
    Touring? Who needs to tour? You go for the Jamboree.

    • Our council in So Cal cut out all the touring and was able to charge the $1600 basic cost; they sent two troops.

      • Our Council does not offer that option. I wish they did.
        It is always said AFTER the fact.
        By the next Jambo, those Kids have aged out and moved on.
        So back to square one.

        Why can’t National mandate a Jambo only package?
        Or maybe offer a provisional package for individual boys?
        Group them together with other boys from around the country.
        Talk about a cool experience.
        That may really increase attendance.

  37. Thanks for sharing this Scout Mom’s letter. It’s great to hear successful camping/jamboree stories such as this one. And, it’s great to know that things went well for this Scout (and his family) and his Troop. Kudos to this Scout for his achievement, to his parents for taking their leap of faith, to his Troop’s leaders for making sure their whole trip ran smoothly, and to the Jamboree staff for planning, organizing, and running this huge memory-making event for thousands of Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Scouters from all over.

  38. Judy Gibson // July 27, 2013 at 10:44 am // Reply

    My 18 year old Eagle Scout was one of those up at 4 – 5 am — and for far more than 10 days, because he was there to help with setup. He will be happy to know how much fun this Scout had, but he also made friends and many memories. He went to the last Jamboree at AP Hill with a BAC contingent and had a blast. This time he got to do many of the things the contingents did and help prank the National OA leadership. Something about filling a tent with beach balls and help run the station where Scouts threw hatchets at targets – among many other experiences. From his previous Scouting experiences, I know that it will be years before I hear everything that happened at this Jamboree. I’m still hearing new details about the last one (3 years ago) and Mountain Man (also 3 years ago) and Seabase. I hope this mom’s son sticks with Scouting to have many more such experiences.

  39. Sondra Hall // July 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm // Reply

    My grandson went and has this to say:
    I was at Jamboree as a scout. I will personally say it was well worth the money. Due to a mystery medical problem, I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted. But I was able to do a lot of patch trading and I met a lot of cool & interesting people. Sadly I wasn’t able to stay the whole time and left early Sunday morning.

    I was happy when I learned about the forgein venture crews being there, in fact, I spent most of my time up at Foxtrot hanging out with the Canadians, Austrailians, Norwegians and the Scots. The Canadians practically adopted me, giving me a few items to make me even look like I was one of them at first glance.

    I’d like to give a shout out to my new friends, not only across the country, but, across the world. The staff was amazing and pretty cool to chat with while out walking. Lastly, I’d like to give a special shout out to the Medical Staff and Chaplin at C2. They were great people and very helpful on my last day.

    I’m looking forward to the International Jambo in 2015 and going back to The Summit in 2017. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the next few years.

    Derrick Hall,
    Georgia-Carolina Council, C231

  40. Mark Hampson // July 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm // Reply

    As a staff member for the inaugural Jambo at the Summit, I can say that through the short nights and hot, steamy days, it is the energy of the youth that keeps us going. And do you know what the very greatest thing you can do is? Tell this story over, and over, and over. There will be those who will dwell on the no days off and ambient showers, but most of us will remember that youth that we helped achieve a personal goal while at Jambo. Some staff member someplace is reading your message and is saying to themselves, that whatever their inconvenience, the youth had a lifetime memorable time. Thanks.

  41. Deaf Scouter // July 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm // Reply

    This Mom’s reaction reminds me of my son’s Summer camp experience one year. From the camp in our Council, he never sent anything the week he was there. Might be because I could pop in a couple times. The year he went to the Adirondacks (5 hours away), i got a letter almost everyday. It was shocking and to this day i still treasure them!!

  42. I do not agree. My unfocused son couldn’t do almost anything. He lost a lot of items. He got lost on a trail in the woods many times so got late to the activities. It was really hot so when he got to the lines he was very tired and preferred to do anything else. He wants to forget the experience at Jambo. It was a very expensive disappointment for him.

    • Judy Gibson // July 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm // Reply

      Ask him again in a couple of months about his Jamboree experience. I bet he’ll remember more of the good times by then.

    • As unfortunate as it may be, not everyone will enjoy any particular Scouting experience. The hope is that virtually everyone comes away happy; but some youth will come away from the Jamboree (or Philmont, or Sea Base, or summer camp, or a hike) disappointed, frustrated, or unhappy.

      It’s unfortunate that your son was one of those, but I hope he concentrates on the experiences in Scouting that he finds fulfilling.

  43. Connie Knie // July 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm // Reply

    ACS,
    I feel bad for your son and hope that maybe after 4 years he will have a different outlook and be ready to try again.

    I wonder why the leaders he was with or his buddy were not able to help him.

  44. My son also participated in this wonderful event!!! He learned so much and came back an even better boy than he was before he left. Thank you to the leaders of Troop A231.

  45. My son was an OA Trek Guide and thought the Jambo went fairly well. His biggest complaint was “important” people driving around in Rhinos/Jeeps and such. Lots of logistical problems also. Hoping the organization improves for the next one. He also attended the final at Fort AP, so had some grounds for comparison. Overall he thought it was a good experience.

    • I know from my son’s experience that some of the vehicles were transporting youth that were wounded … and that a shortage of vehicles (or perhaps, an excess of injured?) was one problem.

      One of the females in his crew was injured, and he gallantly :-) offered to be her buddy for several days. They were ferried around The Summit in some sort of vehicle. He never quite explained (or I didn’t ask) whether it was a dedicated vehicle, or whether there was some sort of shuttle system.

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