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.”