Multi-sensory show blows all other fireworks displays out of the water

After rain caused Saturday night’s fireworks display to be canceled, Scouts and Scouters had been intentionally kept in the dark about when — or whether — the show would be rescheduled.

And then: boom! Zambelli Fireworks and jamboree leaders lit up the sky Sunday night, surprising Scouts, Scouters and Venturers who enjoyed the visual and auditory show right from the comfort of their campsite homes.

It happened with a 25-minute display that may have changed the fireworks game forever. Let me explain. Continue reading


Beach balls, and perhaps a world record, fall at jamboree

It’s not a party until someone brings out a beach ball.

Thousands of Scouts, Scouters and Venturers assembled in a light drizzle Sunday to attempt to set the Guinness World Record for “most people keeping beach balls in the air.”

The current record, 14,993 people, was set in 2012 in Spain.

From my vantage point in the center of the action, I could tell this group was insanely large. But still, the Stadium Experience Team will need a couple of weeks to send their proof to the Guinness folks, so stay tuned and I’ll update this post if we set the record.

Even if we didn’t quite raise the bar, Jamboree Program Group Chairman Russell Smart sees the silver lining.

Said Smart: “We set the Summit record, that’s for sure.”

Video and photos after the jump. Continue reading


At jamboree worship services, Scouts keep the faith during rainstorm

Faith is a powerful thing.

Heavy rain soaked each of the three largest worship services this morning at the 2013 National Jamboree, but that didn’t stop Scouts and Scouters from gathering to pray together.

The LDS, Protestant and Catholic services were held back to back to back at the AT&T Summit Stadium this morning and early afternoon, meaning all three congregations were out in the elements throughout. (Other faiths held their services inside large tents elsewhere.)

At the stadium, worshippers kept dry using rainsuits, ponchos, umbrellas, and makeshift hats made from cardboard boxes or chairs. But nobody complained, preferring to soak in the message of the sermons, prayers and praise music — even as they soaked in quite a bit of rain.

See photos: Continue reading


Power struggle: Scouts, Scouters take different approaches to charging devices

At the jamboree, no power outlet remains empty for long.

Everywhere you look — using official AT&T charging stations, orange Summit Bechtel Reserve power arrays (not to be used when raining), outlets inside and outside of shower houses, and solar chargers hanging from backpacks — Scouts and Scouters grab every drop of power for their devices.

It’s no surprise, really, given the age in which we live and the fact the 2013 National Jamboree has lived up to its billing as the most-connected in history.

I found Ryan, an Atlanta Area Council Scout who works on the Aquatics staff, charging his Samsung phone with friends at an orange power station this morning. For Ryan, an empty battery means no way to stay connected with friends and family onsite and off. Continue reading


Watch the full jamboree opening show online

Missed Tuesday morning’s “Welcome to West Virginia” opening show because you were, oh, I don’t know, busy at your day job?

Relive the nearly two-hour show from your computer, tablet or smartphone right now at jambolive.org.

Rock out with the West Virginia Army National Guard band; hear from Wayne Brock, Wayne Perry, Stephen Bechtel, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and other dignitaries; and jam with country band Taylor Made. You can even see what Scouts and Scouters tweeted during the show (using hashtag #2013Jambo) through the CNN-like crawl at the bottom.

In case you want to skip around, I put together this minute-by-minute rundown: Continue reading


At the jamboree, I run into my blog’s biggest fan

It’s not every day you see a stranger holding a sign with your name on it.

In fact, I can say it’s never happened to me — until today. Strolling near the AT&T Summit Stadium this afternoon, I happened across Hunter, a Scout from C346 out of Georgia.

Turns out he’s my biggest fan and even created a cardboard sign that reads “Where’s Bryan on Scouting?” Hunter told me he reads my blog every day and has been “looking everywhere for me” at the jamboree, thus the sign.

Just to have anyone read and enjoy my blog is humbling, but Hunter really made my day today. I told him how flattered I was and posed for a picture with him. Now I’m one of his biggest fans, too. Follow the jump for the photo, and thanks to Hunter! Continue reading


Take note of time change for tonight’s stadium show, how to watch live online

With inclement weather forecasted for tonight, the jamboree’s closing stadium show will take place several hours earlier.

As first reported in this Jamboree Today story, the show will begin with a preshow at 3 p.m. Eastern and continue with the main show from 4 to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

As you may have heard by now, the show will feature a concert from rock band 3 Doors Down, in addition to lots of other surprises I can’t reveal here.

Even if you’re not at the Summit attending, visiting or staffing the 2013 National Jamboree, you can enjoy the fun from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Just go to jambolive.org and watch the live stream from home. Please note that the musical act is not allowing their portion to be streamed online. Continue reading


Jamboree jazz band plays the lights out in Charleston

When people think of Scouts doing service, they usually picture Scouts holding hammers and shovels, not trombones and trumpets.

George Pinchock wants to change that. The band director for the 2013 National Jamboree Jazz Band brought his 57-member group off the Summit property to perform two shows in nearby West Virginia cities on Friday.

“The jamboree brought people down here to do service, and this is how we do service,” Pinchock said. “We could be clearing brush, but instead we do what musicians can do. We perform. We bring Scouting to the community through our music.”

Today I met up with the band in Charleston, the charming West Virginia capital city, to check out their performance at Live on the Levee, a neat venue right on the banks of the Kanawha River. Continue reading


New patch-trading app, official seal answer question: ‘Is it authentic?’

“No, dude, I swear,” a Scout said. “There were only 500 of these patches ever made.”

I heard similar claims all throughout the patch trading bazaar that has cropped up under the overhangs at the still-to-be-completed Scott Visitor Center at the Summit.

Everywhere, patch traders hawked their wares from zip-top bags or sprawling blankets while swearing that the patch they were offering was the rarest one around.

It was chaos. And then I spotted James, a Scout from C241 in the Mecklenburg County Council, who was calmly looking at his iPhone.

Continue reading


Jamboree Scouts show off their prized patch possessions

Like the dinner menu, a Scout’s favorite patch changes daily at the jamboree.

But this afternoon, I walked around asking Scouts to show off what they consider their coolest patch — for today, at least.

These were mainly national jamboree patches, though one Scout chose a Cub Scout day camp patch “because it has a smiling Bigfoot on it.”

Hey, who’s to say he’s wrong? Here are 13 patches Scouts picked out when I asked for their favorite. Before each photo I’ve listed the Scout’s first name, jamboree troop number, and the council represented on the Scout’s favorite patch: Continue reading