My top 10 jamboree memories

After 10 phenomenal days at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree earlier this month, I have just one regret: I couldn’t see it all.

I never rolled by the skate park or BMX track, didn’t take a dip in the Pools, and bailed on whitewater rafting. (Fortunately, the fine folks at the Summit Blog and Jamboree Today covered all that and more.)

No two jamboree experiences were alike, and so rather than focusing on what mine lacked, here’s a look back at my top 10 jamboree memories. As for everything I didn’t get to see? The countdown to the 2017 jamboree has already begun.

20130721-171122.jpg10. Helping break a world record — maybe

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

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20130720-002827.jpg9. All-weather fun with the Jamboree Jazz Band

In Charleston, W.Va., rain clouds formed during the Jamboree Jazz Band’s performance, but the Scouts played on. Raindrops fell at an angle, soaking the tuba, trombone and trumpet sections, but the Scouts played on. At one point, the power was shut down because of a lightning risk in the area, but the Scouts played on. To say the band played the lights out would be accurate on two levels.

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20130717-182537.jpg8. Scouts going ga-ga for Israeli dodgeball

This is what I love about jamborees. You hear all about rock climbing, zip-lining, and skateboarding going in, but nobody mentions ga-ga. It’s just another jamboree surprise awaiting Scouts and Venturers around each turn.

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20130715-130941.jpg7. Watching Troop D424 set up its campsite

Over here, Scouts unfold and assemble cots with robot-like precision. Over there, tents take shape in no time. Troop D424 represents another impressive example of a boy-led troop getting things done without intervention from adults. But there’s more that caught my eye: Troop D424 is comprised of 12 different troops back home, meaning most of these Scouts met for the first time at pre-jamboree meetings.

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20130716-144549.jpg6. Fox hunting with Scouts from North Carolina

The beeping on Bram’s handheld radio intensified, and then: “I’m getting something!” Like a trio of bloodhounds, three Scouts from Troop A120 out of Durham, N.C., were off to follow the digital scent. In fox hunting — part geocaching, part orienteering — Scouts use radios and homemade antennas to locate a hidden “fox,” or transmitter. I can definitely see the appeal.

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20130717-174417.jpg5. Giving back with Venturers from Hawaii and Colorado

I spent most of a day tagging along with Crew F206, a jamboree unit that combines Venturers from the Maui County Council in Hawaii and the Denver Area Council in Colorado. Joined by two outstanding Arrowmen from the Order of the Arrow, the group spent four hours creating hiking and biking trails near Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beckley, W.Va., about 30 minutes from the Summit. This is just one of hundreds of Messengers of Peace Day of Service projects.

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20130722-192107.jpg4. Shooting arrows with Matt from Georgia

While waiting in line for action archery at the Bows, I met Matt, a Scout from Troop A210 in Georgia. He challenged me to a friendly competition to see who could hit the higher number of targets at this difficult but exciting activity at the 2013 National Jamboree.

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20130720-133254.jpg3. Meeting Hunter, 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 one day, 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 I couldn’t be more humbled.

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9329345503_08c23c9056_b2. Mike Rowe inspires thousands

At the jamboree’s stadium show, Eagle Scout Mike Rowe rewrote some bad advice, telling the crowd of tens of thousands of Scouts, Scouters and Venturers that the key is to “work smart and hard.” And he needs the help of all of us in the Boy Scouts of America.

Read the post and see the video.

20130725-122525.jpg1. Receiving a post-jamboree letter from a Scout mom

The jamboree was a success, but 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.”

Read her letter.

What were your favorite memories?

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