Jambo ’85: Hurricane, Beach Boys and legendary Apple bags

1985-jamboree-logoA hurricane that overturned tents and latrines, a free Apple Computer bag that required a daylong wait in line and a performance by the Beach Boys.

The 1985 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., produced stories that have been told and retold for more than 30 years. The jamboree’s nickname has proved all too prescient: “The Spirit Lives On.”

Last week I told you how former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who died this month, brought her anti-drug message to the 1985 Jamboree. But her memorable appearance was one of several indelible moments from that event.

The Diamond Jubilee, which celebrated the BSA’s 75th birthday, will be most remembered for Hurricane Bob, which was downgraded to a tropical depression by the time it hit A.P. Hill. Still, the storm unleashed heavy rains and high winds on the 32,615 Scouts and Scouters camping there.

Hurricane-Bob-jamboree“Our whole campsite was flattened,” a Scout named Mark Demkee told The Morning Call newspaper. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. They had to send all our sleeping bags out to the dry cleaners.”

Their sleeping bags soaked and tents displaced, the Scouts had every right to complain. But they remained cheerful throughout.

“The storms are great. That’s basically all we’ve had,” a Scout named Jeff Elliott told the Los Angeles Times.

Jeff pointed toward some Scouts frantically digging a moat around their tents for flood drainage (a no-no today).

“Look at them,” he told the newspaper reporter. “They’re digging trenches. We’ve already done ours! Not that it will hold up.”

“The storms are very fun,” another Scout, Joey Berson, told the LA Times. “All of a sudden, it just happens!”

William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, who later recapped the 1985 Jamboree for Scouting magazine, used a Baden-Powell quote to describe the storm’s legacy.

“Anybody can be a Scout when the sun is shining,” B-P once said. “A person proves he is a real Scout by being cheerful under trying circumstances.”

A big release from Apple


These days, lines form outside Apple Stores for the release of phones, tablets and watches.

But at the 1985 Jamboree, a year and a half after Apple’s infamous “1984” Super Bowl ad, it was a simple messenger bag that had Apple fans going crazy.

The bags, perfect for carrying around patches, had a small, multicolor Apple logo in the top left corner. And the best part: Apple was giving them away for free.

As one Scout memorabilia collector remembers: “There was just something about them. They seemed the perfect way to tote around your stuff.”

Rumor had it waiting in line to get one of these bags took all day.

My BSA colleague John Churchill attended the 1985 Jamboree and brought in his bag for me to photograph. He’s kept it in pristine condition for all these years.

Music from the Beach Boys


With some members wearing official blue Jamboree neckerchiefs, the Beach Boys rocked the opening arena show at the 1985 Jamboree.

“We’ve never played anything this unique,” singer Mike Love told the crowd, as reported by the Associated Press.

Members of the band caught patches thrown on the stage by Scouts in the crowd.

You were there?

Did you attend (or serve on staff at) the 1985 National Scout Jamboree? Share your favorite memories below.

Photo: Heart of America Council 1985 National Jamboree Troop 218


  1. Worked Subcamp 6 Youth Staff handing out mail. Jambo weather called,”Heavy rain, hurricane force winds 15 minutes, send out the commissioners to warm the troops”. 10 min. later, SM from Greeley, Colorado came in and wanted mail. Turned around out the back of the tent to see the storm line. Yelled Bob is here, stopped out and reached overhead to pull down the tent doors, stepped back inside and was soaked all the way through.–Steve Palm, Mid-Iowa Council 177, Des Moines.

  2. I was fifteen that summer. My scoutmaster, Dr. Inman, was the OB/Gyn who delivered my son 10 yrs later. He turns 21 this week.

  3. I attended the 1985 Jamboree as a Scout from the Circle Ten Council in Dallas, Texas. I remember most when the hurricane hit, that a Scout was in one of the port-a-pots when the initial winds hit. It was blown over with the Scout inside and landed on the door. After things calmed down, we heard him screaming for help. Members of our Troop ran over and lifted it up to reveal a unfortunate Scout now colored blue from the mess. He ran straight into the showers 🙂

    • I was the WestArk Area scoutmaster camped next to your troop. The next day I went over to your troop and was talking to one of your assistant scoutmasters. I made a comment about this scout and the memory that he would have for the rest of his life. He laughed and said “the scout was wearing this event as a badge of honor”.
      What a hoot.
      My troop believed that I ordered and named “Hurricane Bob”.

  4. I will never forget this experience…so much fun. I remember waiting at least an hour in line for one of those bags in the rain…but definitely not all day. Now I really regret tossing it out when I was cleaning out the attic a few years ago. I still have the patches though. Excited for my son to go to the 2017 Jambo.

    • Yea, the line was long but not all day. Still have my Apple bag, almost mint condition because I put all my patches in there and have sort of just left it as it is since jambo ended.

  5. At the Merit Badge Midway where the bags were being given away, the lines formed before opening each morning and continued as long as the daily supply lasted. Due to the rains, the Midway, turned into a “mudway” and the large cardboard boxes the bulk Apple bags came in were great to use to soak up the water in merit badge booths which were quite wet.

    The word on the street was that the bags were the wrong dimensions for the Apple product they were intended for. Thus the give away.

  6. I was a “lucky” participant, and remember the giant piles of sleeping bags, that at least in our Subcamp, I do not believe were ever dryed out! I seem to also recall that the military actually flew in military blankets for those in attendance. In today’s world those Apple computer bags would be comparable to suitcases!

  7. I was there working in Transportation Services. Spent the night after the storm at a local motel drying sleeping bags. One of the good memories is of another staff member who had permission to drive his crew cab pickup on the grounds. He would stop at a bus stop, pack as many Scouts as he could in his truck and give them a ride and a patch.

  8. I remember staying on the USS Yorktown on that trip. We watched the Battle of the Midway on a movie projector. We stayed at a YMCA one night. Many nights we stayed on various military bases.
    I still remember the 1st Lady arriving in the Marine one. And looking out over the 10, 000 other Boyscouts all in their class A uniforms. It was an awesome site.

  9. I was there on staff in the band met the beach boys and the oakwood boys back stage cool guys real down to earth easy to talk to. Staff had it easy to get the apple bags they were brought to us we didn’t have to stand in line, and another thing I remember was bussing staff had their own never had a problem finding a saet

  10. Somehow we weathered the storm, but we were wet, for sure. My mom had sent me with a new blue pillowcase, and when I woke in the morning, my tent companion thought I was sick (from my blue face). I still have my Bill Burch bolo tie, the set of patches, but I missed out on the apple bag! So many cherished memories!

  11. I was a Scoutmaster for the troop representing the Tri Area State Area Council from Huntington, WV and the 1985 Jamboree was one of my most memoriable scouting experiences both as a leader and a scout. Hurricane Bob left our camp a mess but our scouts continued to attend and enjoy all of the activities. I still have the the Jamoree bag and it is stuffed full of patches and items from the event.

  12. I wasn’t old enough to attend at the time, only a Cub Scout. But the gentleman who would later be my Scoutmaster was Scoutmaster of a “phantom” council contingent. He was Scoutmaster of the Mound Builders Area Council #454 contingent troop. Mound Builders Area Council ceased to exist on July 1, 1985, when it was merged into Dan Beard Council #438, a few weeks ahead of the Jamboree. The Scoutmaster of the troop where I currently serve as Scoutmaster was one of his assistants, and many of the youth were older Scouts that I learned from when I crossed over to Boy Scouts a couple years later. I never got to attend a Jamboree as a youth, but am glad both my son and daughter were able to attend in 2013, and all three of us will be attending in 2017!

    • He may have been one of my assistant scoutmasters at the 1983 World Jamboree. We had a combined contingent from Mound Builders, Tecumseh, and Central Ohio Council and still didn’t fill all of our slots – we ended up with 24 of a possible 40. I saw him again at the ’85 National, still wearing the Mound Builders patch. Wish I could remember his name…

  13. I was a 15 year old scout with the Eastern contingent of The Northern Lights Council. This Jamboree was probably my greatest experience in scouting next to my Eagle Scout. I still have the famed “Apple Bag”, and also keep many of the Jamboree memories in there. If memory serves me correct our Gateway was the only 1 that remained standing during Hurricane Bob. Great Memories!!!

    • Our Gateway remained standing too. Troop 809 from the San Francisco Bay Area. We lowered our tents and secured the lines so everything remained intact. Yes, I have my Apple bag too and still had memorabilia from the Jamboree inside. It’s cool that we all still have this awesome experience!

  14. The Beach Boys were smart enough to cover “Rock and Roll Music”, which has the lyrics “I tell you folks they had a jamboree”

  15. Our troop was from Houston, hurricenes were no big deal, but I can remember the troop next to us digging a sump pit 2 feet wide and 6 feet deep. Always wondered how that held up in the storm….

  16. I was a 16 year old life scout when I went to this jamboree. My buddy Mike & I were helping unload watermelons from a truck and then ran around the camp in the middle of the storm. We thought we were invincible and had a blast trading patches that we carried around in our free Apple bags! I still wear the jamboree patch on my uniform. Long live Scouting.

  17. The ’85 National Jamboree was a awesome experience. I was the SPL of the troop out of Tecumseh Council in Ohio, with my best friend as my tent-mate and ASPL. Although the Scoutmaster and I didn’t get along well during the Jamboree (our personalities didn’t mesh and I was 16, anyway), he pretty much let me run the show within some basic boundaries, which I appreciate even more today than I did then.

    We were following Bob’s track via the Washington Times and knew it was going to hit us later in the day. I remember walking into Subcamp HQ and asking if they had any info on when the storm was going to hit us. The Scouter on duty gave me this really cagey look and said, almost robotically, “we have no information on any hurricane, but there’s no need to panic, son.” I replied, “I’m not panicking. I just need to know what time to have all my guys back in camp so we can account for everyone. Is there someone you could call for a weather update?” He looked really evasive and said, “Now, there’s no need to panic, son. We have no information on an incoming storm. Why don’t you go back to camp and let your Scoutmaster handle things?” At which point I realized I wasn’t going to get any information and left.

    We had a general idea from the paper when it might hit, so I set a time to be back well before then and passed the word at lunch. Then I did a really goofy thing – I washed my socks. To this day, I have no idea why I thought that was a good idea. It was hot, and I guess I thought they would dry quickly on the line.

    Unfortunately, the prediction in the paper was off by a couple of hours. I remember sitting at a picnic table near my tent under the dining fly in one of the patrol areas, joking around with a few of the guys, wearing nothing but a pair of underwear and Scout shorts as I waited for my socks to dry. One of the fellas stepped out from under the fly and looked east, exclaimed “Oh, my God!” and then the dining fly disappeared.

    I saw my socks whip past, still pinned to the line, and took off after them. There was all sorts of rain and dust and debris flying all over the place in the wind, and I didn’t catch up with my socks until they’d blown out of the campsite and across the street. I snagged them, turned around to go back to camp, and got hit in the abdomen by a lightweight aluminum cot.

    I wrestled the cot closed, then dragged it back to camp, where I found my backpacking tent collapsed at one end and four guys squirming around inside trying to set it back up. I helped set it back up from the outside, and finally managed to get in, soaking wet. The three guys who didn’t belong ran back to their tents when the eye hit, and then we got pelted with another band of heavy rain.

    When it stopped, we discovered our troop wasn’t hit too badly. We had one tent pole break in the entire unit, and we also lost a dining fly. Troops around us, though, were in terrible shape, especially those that had brought wall tents.

    I accounted for everyone and then went next door to help the other troops, still barefoot and only wearing shorts. I remember a long afternoon helping other units set up, then discovering everything in my tent was soaked. A friend from my home troop on the subcamp staff came by to let us know they were going to be collecting sleeping bags to dry them, and my ASPL and I stayed up until 2 a.m. waiting for my bag and making sure the other guys in the troop got theirs back.

    At 2, my buddy told me it was the last run of the night and the rest of the bags would be back in the morning. My foam pad was open-cell on one side and was completely saturated, so there was no way I was going to be able to sleep on that. My subcamp friend walked me over to the Subcamp HQ mess tent, where they handed about 15 or 20 of us from different troops brand-new G.I. wool blankets and pillows and let us sleep on the straw floor. They woke us up at 5 (not too kindly, at that) and told us we had to leave so they could cook breakfast for the staff; I have a better appreciation for the homeless today from that event.

    I stumbled back to camp to find my pad was still soaked and my sleeping bag still wasn’t back yet. I somehow got through breakfast, then sat down like a zombie on another picnic table. One of the youngest Scouts told me I looked terrible and told me I could rack out for a bit in his tent.

    I woke up an hour later to the sounds of the scoutmaster storming about, shouting “Where’s Chuck?” The kid who’d loaned me his tent told him I was taking a nap. “Taking a nap?! I slept like a baby last night and I’m an old man!” (he’d gone to bed right after dinner).

    The Scout managed to get out, “He was up until after 2 last night…” before the SM cut him off, thundering “Two o’clock! What was he doing up that late??!

    At that point, the Scout had had enough and screamed back, “he was up doing YOUR job!!!”

    The SM and I got along a lot better after that.

  18. I served on the OA Service Corp during the 1985 National Jamboree. I remember seeing the ‘wall of black’ as the hurricane came. A bunch of the OA guiding people to shelter as the storm came. Afterwards, our OA Group went to out to reset tent in various sub camps. After resetting over 2000 tents, we got really good at it. One the best experiences of my life. My son is looking at being a member of the OA Service Corps in 2017.

    • Both my brother and I served on the OA Service Corps that year too. I remember unloading bus loads of wet sleeping bags into some of the barracks with the heat cranked up to try and dry them. It was one of my best scouting experiences also. Just the camaraderie is something I’ll never forget. Funny – my middle son is going to the jamboree in 2017 too (but not on staff).

      • I also served on the OA Service Corps that year, Troop 3rd. The day of the storm was my “day off” we were sitting on the back porch of the barracks and watched the storm roll in. I also remember busloads of wet sleeping bags coming it. We started hanging them in the rafters of other barracks buildings with propane blast furnaces going. Then the fire marshall came in and said “Shut’er down boys.”

        Then we loaded them back on busses and they headed into town to be dealt with.

        Thanks to FB I’ve connected with a number of former guys from Troop 3rd. My Jamboree SM actually ended up living 3 houses down from me 25 years later when I moved to Ohio. Small world.

  19. The people of Caroline County, VA, really rallied to be of assistance at the time of and following the storm. I especially remember that as wet sleeping bags were taken into nearby Bowling Green, VA and to other locations in search of dryers, local citizens did everything they could. On many occasions, patrons at the laundromats removed their wet clothes from the dryers and insisted that the Scout sleeping bags go instead.

  20. I was 16 in 1985 and a first class scout. NE 7 311 with the Moby Dick Council. The council is gone and I now am a Mate or ASM in a Sea Scout Ship. When I tell my current scouts that I survived a hurricane in a tent, they have a hard time believing me. Thanks for writing this story .

  21. Our son went in 85, 89 and visited tge next one. 85,he came home and had been skateboarding with Beach Boys, and Brian told him to go home and tell his Mom Hello from Brian!

  22. My Dad was a chaplain with a group from Northern IL, Mom and I hung out at the family camp, and the main trading area. I remember sitting in a hammock at family camp until it got really windy, writing in my journal. I took down the hammock. Ran back to the camper and Mom and I sat in the front watching the storm come in. We watched it lift the giant army tents and lay them out flat. My Dad came back as soon as his duties allow him to leave to check on us. We were asked to stay in family camp for a bit as the scouts cleaned and regrouped. My brother was there also as a scout leader. I remember touring the different camps to see the gateways that told something of the different regions and then after the storm how many of them were destroyed.

  23. I was at the 1985 Jamboree to visit the contingent from Potawatomi Area Council, Waukesha Wisconsin. I brought my Girl Scout Troop and we toured Washington DC for the day and ended at the Jamboree. The girls saw “lots of boys”. I saw state after state of scouts as they marched into the arena show. Because of this overwhelming display of scouts from all over our nation, I decided to give my volunteer time for the rest of my life to the BSA .The Beach Boys were great that evening. I am still a council level volunteer and have staffed National Jamborees since.

  24. I was also a Scout at this historic Jamboree. I remember standing inside my tent with my tentmate trying to hold the frame up as the winds eventually pushed the side of tent through the middle, and eventually ripping it out of our hands. The army came around with a flatbed truck that had commercial dryers loaded back to back and dried all our gear. They came out almost too hot to touch. I also remember the bomb squad having to come into the middle of one of the parade grounds because someone found a landmine – turned out to be a training mine, of course. Still have my Apple bag, which was the perfect size for carrying cassette tapes. And while the Beach Boys closed the week, it was the Oak Ridge Boys that opened it. Still a highlight of my Scouting experience!

  25. I was a member of the OA service corp in 85. In order my service consisted of building portajohns when the contractor was behind schedule with a pneumatic rivet gun, drying sleeping bags, following padro around with a shovel. But my most prized memory was the day I spent assisting Green Bar Bill. He had 2 of us drawing the 2 green bars on what ever the scout wanted signed and then he would add the Bill.

  26. I attended the Jamboree as an adult and was an Assistant Postmaster at the jamboree post office. We operated just like any PO by sorting the mail by sub camps and delivering also. We all wanted a computer bag but were too busy to stand in line to get one. I remember one man who had a cardboard box the size of the bag and he took a bunch of soda can tabs and made a strap for it. Also enjoyed meeting Mr. Carlin, the Postmaster General when he stopped in for a visit. We were lucky to be able to bed down in our office.

    Ron Grebing March 19, 2016

  27. I was Scoutmaster of Troop 777

    Alamo Area Council

    My first jamboree since my first as a scout in ’64

    Green Bar Bill signed my handbook

    I attended several national and world jamborees after that

    It was a “bridge to the future”

  28. I was there with Alamo Area Council and was in line for my Apple bag when the storm hit. Flattened our camp, everything was down but we recovered and had a great time. Still have my Apple bag!

  29. I went to the Jamboree with the Alabama-Florida Council. I remember walking to the midway when the storm line came through and watching some tents roll across the field. Returning back to camp, all the tents were down. Mine had fallen straight down covering all my gear and everything stayed dry. Didn’t get the Apple bag.

  30. Orange County Council, California Troop 767

    One of my greatest memories is a small group of scouts earning a merit badge had purchased several cases of soda and placed them on a wagon. They were traveling troop to troop selling sodas for 25 cents more than you could get them at the midway. The higher price was for the convenience and a little profit for them.

    I also remember the Hurricane, we had dug small trenches around and through the tents.

    I can’t remember if it was opening or closing ceremony, but as my troop was walking in, along with all the others, someone started singing the theme song to Bonanza, and everyone within earshot joined in. That was a good time.

    I enjoyed the tours before arriving at Fort A.P. Hill, the US Mint, Washington Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall. We stayed at George Washington University for night as well.

    • Hi Dave, I was with Troop 869 out of the Orange County Council and was the Patrol Leader for the Sunkist patrol. I do remember joining in on the singing the theme song to Bonanza.for the opening ceremony. I think we were marching behind your troop on the way to the opening arena show because everyone started singing as we entered the arena.

      I remember that GWU had a movie theater that showed free movies. The feature of the night was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. After dinner in the dining hall, a few of us decided to don our blue Jamboree shirts and walk to the theater. As the lights dimmed, our 3rd ASM, who was a UC Irvine student and later the Wiatava Lodge chief, sat behind us and asked what we were doing here. Lucky for us, he did not tell our Scoutmaster, Mr. Gary Miller. His response after we told him why were at the theater was “don’t do it again.”

  31. My daughter and I were visitors while my son attended and my husband, Tom, was scoutmaster of Calumet Council troop. Jeanette and I remember walking along a path when we saw this big wall of water moving toward us. We ducked under a porch along with about 20 scouts. One scout asked if I wanted his poncho, then almost insisted I needed it. Cute. One thing for sure, Scouts were in action for the next 48 hours and then it was almost as if no hurricane ever went through. Then on with the fun.

  32. 3SA for T-23 Atlanta Area Council. College student and I had been ASPL at the 1981 Jambo. I was accepted into OA Service Corps but the Council needed 3SA’s so I agreed to do that. I was at the merit badge midway when the first shipment of Apple bags arrived. There were about six pallets of stacked bags each pallet spaced about 15 or so feet apart. A staffer was put behind each stack and they had lines formed a short distance away. The staffer told the Scout in front of me (who had a beard) that they were for youth only; he said “I’m 17” and the staffer apologized. He then didn’t say anything to me (if I looked older than 17; I was almost 21). The bags were gone in maybe a few minutes. Apple wised up after that and made Scouts sit through a presentation and then get in a long line – miles long. The bags were kept in a quonset hut at the edge of the merit badge midway. It baffled me that Scouts would pay all that money and then spend a day waiting for a bag. A Scout in our troop (Warren M) cut in at the front of the line one day – the Scouts behind him were stunned silent that anyone would do this and before they could start yelling the staffers yelled at him to get into the hut and get his bag, which he did. Warren was short and didn’t weigh much. He was near the hut when the hurricane warning went out, and he ran in and grabbed six bags, straps around his head and three under each arm. He claimed the wind lifted the bags and them lifted him off the ground. Our campsite was not affected much by the hurricane – strong winds that broke a dining fly pole (very common and fixed with wood), rain, but no flooding. Some of our troop had enough warning or were in or near camp with short notice with enough time to batten down. We did not know the name of the hurricane and at the Closing Show the Goodyear blimp was flashing a message “Bob is Gone but the Spirit Lives On.” We didn’t know who Bob was and our best guess was Robert Baden-Powell. One memory to add – this was the only Jamboree where pin trading was a bigger deal than patch trading. If you’ll look at the Jambo troop photo posted above you’ll see hats covered with pins. Hat pins were traded at previous Jamborees but the pins were typically cheap plastics one – 1985 marked the arrival of high quality metal pins and they were hot. Most Councils had a pin that matched the JSP and many Scouts pinned the pin to the patch (who drove us hard-core patch traders crazy as we then considered the JSP’s damaged and thus much-less desirable.

  33. I was part of Caddo area councils (me texas) troop and remember all of it fondly. We took turns standing in line for the bag and I was the closest to camp when the storm hit so we grabbed our bags and ran to drop tents and try and keep everyone’s things dry. Never forget it and would love to do it again. Storm and all.

  34. I was there as a contingent scout with Troop 152 “The Tower Builders.” because our troop wasn’t attending. We had competed with them for years at local camporees and now my best friend and I were warmly accepted as a troop members for National. I do remember the Apple bag craze and the hat pins. Anyone else remember how hot the “Malibu” OA flaps were?

  35. Troop 105 – General Greene Council – Greensboro, NC.

    It was a great experience, even with the storm. Still have the bag too.

  36. I served on youth staff for Confidence Course A. I still have my Apple bag as well!! The hurricane did not affect me as much because, as youth staff, we got to stay in the barracks at Wilcox Camp.

  37. I was there and the showers were very cold. Guess how many boys didn’t take them? Too many! The saddest thing is that I have never seen most of those boys since, and never will.

  38. What do I remember?

    –military helicopters flying over the showers
    –our Missouri mule gateway STILL STANDING after Bob rolled through
    –being able to tell which troops where from the midwest–OUR tents stayed up and gear stayed dry! Year round camping in tornado alley makes you prepared!

  39. So many years later and I still have two of the Apple bags (with patches in them, of course. The storm was also memorable as our gateway was a macrame of lashings so it didn’t budge an inch. Our camp activity was jousting using bicycles and padded six foot staves (likely deemed too unsafe these days) but it meant we had a few bikes to ride around on the giant Fort AP Hill grounds. Thanks for allowing me to reminisce. – Mark Elky, Eagle Scout ’88, Troop 706.

  40. I was a 14 year old Scout from the Southeast Missouri Council Contingent Troop 232 at the ’85 Jambo.

    I’ll never forget literally riding out Big Bad Bob with my tentmate by standing on the flaps of our floor-less canvas wall tents and being bounced up and down while we hung on for dear life. No no or not, those trenches worked to keep our sleeping bags dry!

    I had the good fortune to have been selected to carry our patrol flag onstage at the opening show, and got to watch Marine One land carrying Mrs Reagan from the backstage area.

    The experience of attending that Jamboree has been something that I’ll never forget. All these years later, I am attending my second Jamboree as an ASM with our council contingent troop, with my son and my ’85 tentmate’s son in my troop. My tentmate, another youth from our ’85 contingent (my cousin) and his son are all going as staffers this year as well. The Spirit truly does live on in us, in the generations we’ve been involved with, and hopefully for generations to come!

  41. My son and I attended the Jamboree together. I was on assistant scout master. We were with a council contingent from Indian waters council in Columbia, South Carolina.
    I still have an Apple bag. We loved the Beach Boys.
    My son and the other kids were delighted that their tents were largely sheltered by a tree line while the adult leaders tents were in the open and all blew over. He thought that was hilarious.

    We did manage to get together with a chaplain and borrow him and his Jeep Travelall. We loaded all of our sleeping bags into the Travelall and he took us into a nearby town. We used all the quarters we could find but managed to get all out Jamboree troop’s sleeping bags dried out.
    That was the same year for my first Wood Badge staff experience. Terrific time in Scouting now for about 50 years.

  42. I was a member of the OA Service Corps at the ’85 Jamboree. I remember seeing the ‘wall of black’ coming over the site. I also remember the OA setting up hundreds of tents after after the storm. Proud my son will be a member of the OA Service Corps at the 2017 National Jamboree.

  43. I was a patrol leader with the troop from the Okefenokee Area Council Brunswick, Ga. I am now a den leader for one of my sons Cub Scout pack and wear my jamboree neckerchief frequently. I also still have my name tag from the jamboree on my adult uniform. I have a neckerchief signed by all the members of our troop but I don’t wear that one.

    Great times. I don’t remember the hurricane, but do remember the Beach Boys.

  44. I got on the bus from the midway to Subcamp 2, SE region just as the storm came, and got off at the subcamp the moment the rain quit. My troop’s tents were the only ones standing so far as we could see. The trench network sprang up almost instantly and served to route at least some of the water along more reasonable paths than through our tents.

    One Scout came down with a broken rib from the storm, but otherwise no injuries.

    I wanted one of those Apple bags, but they were gone before I got to it.

    There was a short line for the pay phone. I called home a time or two, and I sent and received letters.

  45. It was the summer between my 9th and 10th grade years. I attended with Jamboree Troop 427 based in Suffolk County, NY (Long Island). The 1985 Jamboree was probably one of the best experiences of my coming up years. Everyone in my troop began laughing at our 14 year old Quartermaster as he ran down the road toward us yelling, “Drop all the tents! A hurricane is coming!!”. “No way!”, we thought. It was sunny with blue skies. Sure enough, within 2 hours, everyone was drenched and the National Guard had swooped in to save us. Although you could earn merit badges, I never bothered. I was having too good of a time meeting scouts from other parts of the country and looking for that rare Malibu Council patch with the cool looking shark on it.

  46. For some reason the storm does not loom so large in my memory of the 85 jamboree. Maybe that’s because our troop 112 of Swarthmore PA had a knack for scheduling so many of our camp outs during heavy rains! So it just seemed natural. Our leader Mr. Ulman would call it liquid sunshine boys! At the jambo, I was surprised that my fellow scouts voted me to be our contingent representative of a good scout, and gave me the the honor of being the flag bearer on opening ceremonies night. I will never forget running down the “aisles” carrying our flag through thousands of our fellow scouts down to the stadium while the Beach Boys played an awesome set of beautiful music. Wonderful memories!

  47. Attended as EMT staff in Subcamp 6, Gadsen. My wife and daughter camped in the family area and their tent went down. I was off that day and we went to a hotel to dry clothes. Got to see the Beach Boys as well.

  48. Forgot to mention that I was representing Mid-America Council out of Omaha, but I lived in Bellevue, NE and Wagon Wheel District.

  49. I was there. Still have my Apple computer bag as well. Stood in line forever for that thing! I remember The Beach Boys, The Oakridge Boys, Nancy Regan, getting hit with the tail end of the hurricane. 1985. I was 15 years old and from the Mt. Diablo Council of the San Francisco Bay Area. Troop 809. The Spirit Lives On!

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