Looking back: Technology at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree

At the 2010 National Scout Jamboree last July, as I sat down and typed out a blog post for Scouting magazine’s site, I wasn’t thinking about the wireless network that allowed me to post those words and pictures. I was only thinking about how much fun I was having at my fourth jamboree and how eager I was to share it with the blog’s readers.

It’s only now, six months later this week, that I can truly appreciate the importance of technology at last summer’s event. Without AT&T’s Wi-Fi network, live blogging would have been impossible. And thousands of Scouts and Scouters would have struggled to tell friends and family back home that they were having the time of their lives.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one daydreaming about the jamboree these days.

Trish Love, an assistant Scoutmaster in the Westark Area Council, also was having one of those “remember when” moments this week. She said I could share her e-mail with you all. You’ll find it after the jump.

It has been six months since jamboree. Hard to believe as it seems like just yesterday I was enjoying that amazing event. I wanted to share with you my total surprise at the impact technology had on that event. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that we would all rush to take advantage of what is available. Maybe it is was just the sheer volume of technology being used that left me in awe.

First and foremost — AT&T’s sponsorship. Wow. I wish I knew who to write a thank you note to. Seriously. Despite some initial glitches when the campers showed up (I was staffing Subcamp 20/21) that service was nothing short of amazing. It drove the Jambo. There were blogs from troops, subcamps — you name it. There were subcamps that had skycams taking pictures 24/7! The kids and adults were all Twittering and Facebooking comments and photos to friends back home about the experiences they were having. E-mails and texts kept everyone near and far in touch — and that just scratches the surface!

I am not a big advocate of kids taking phones to camp. I think that getting away from that sort of thing is the whole idea of going to camp. BUT, I have to say, jamboree is really the exception. It was great for kids and adults alike to be able to communicate their experiences back home. Plus, it was great to be able to simply communicate with one another while there. I was able to touch base with my husband and son as needed to coordinate activities, plus it was obviously quite useful for subcamp activities.

I also loved the electronic Web publications with announcements and the emails that were sent to the masses. VERY savvy use of technology.

One lesson I hope is learned from 2010 is that there need to be banks of safe electrical outlets provided solely for the purpose of charging phones and devices. In an event the size of a Jamboree, the advantages of communication devices far exceeds disadvantages not only for the sake of safety, but also simply for letting the rest of the world know what is going on. We need to be sure the word gets out that kids are having the time of their life at a SCOUTING event!

Just wanted to share. I have reflected on this and told many people about it since I have been back home. No one was more surprised than I was to see that much technology, that well used at a BSA event. Bravo, BSA!

Trish Love

Well said, Trish. If you want to share your thoughts on the jamboree or anything else related to Scouting, shoot me an e-mail. I read everything that Scouters send me.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.