Five myths about the 2017 National Jamboree, debunked

With the 2017 National Jamboree a year away, many Scouts, Venturers and Scouters think they’ve missed their chance to attend this quintessential quadrennial Scouting event.

But there’s good news: The door to the jamboree is still very much open.

In fact, “jamboree registration has closed” is one of several myths floating around out there about the jamboree, which I call “the coolest party in all of Scouting.”

So before you sign up to attend as a participant or serve on staff at the 2017 National Jamboree, let’s debunk those myths. 

Myth 1: It is only for boys.

Reality: Young women are invited to attend as Venturers or serve on staff.

The 2013 National Jamboree was the first to welcome Venturers, including young women. And even more female Venturers are expected at the 2017 National Jamboree. Registered Venturers of any age are invited to attend, and you can learn more about the participant requirements and how to sign up right here.

Men and women who will be at least 16 years old by the first day of the jamboree may also serve on staff.

Myth 2: The campership deadline has passed.

Reality: Camperships are available to help Scouts and Venturers attend the jamboree. But don’t delay. You must apply for these camperships by Sept. 1, 2016.

Camperships are available to youth participants only, and applications must include an explanation of why the participant needs campership funds and what he or she is doing to raise funds in addition to the campership request. Recipients will be notified by Oct. 1, 2016.

Again, these are for youth participants only. Adult leaders and staffers are asked to contact their local council directly for fundraising ideas or other opportunities available at the council level.

Myth 3: My 11- or 12-year-old will miss out.

Reality: Scouts who are 12 years old by the first day of the jamboree (and even certain 11-year-olds) may attend.

A participant must be at least a First Class Scout and be at least 12 years old by the first day of the jamboree — or an 11-year-old who has graduated sixth grade. Participants must not have reached their 18th birthday by the last day of the jamboree.

Learn more about participant qualifications and how to sign up here.

Myth 4: The experience for staff is unchanged from 2013.

Reality: The jamboree team has made significant improvements for 2017 Jamboree staffers.

The list of upgrades includes solar-heated showers for staff, expanded transportation options, more time off, better lunch choices and a more robust communications strategy.

Add that up, and you get a staff experience that’ll be even more enjoyable for volunteers. I say “even more,” because I served on staff in 2013 and had an amazing time — with no complaints. (Even the ambient showers were refreshing after a long day!)

Volunteers are vital to making the jamboree a magical experience for Scouts and Venturers, and you can sign up to join the fun here.

Myth 5: The jamboree isn’t for my son/Scout or daughter/Venturer.

Reality: The 2017 National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve has something for Scouts and Venturers of any interest or skill level.

Adrenaline-seekers can try rock climbing, mountain biking, skateboarding, BMX and zip-line challenge courses.

Aquatics aficionados can visit one of SBR’s lakes or pools to fish, kayak, paddleboard, scuba dive, swim or try the Water Reality obstacle course.

Young scientists can hit up STEM Quest, which offers high-tech, state-of-the-art, hands-on exhibits.

Everywhere you look at the 2017 Jamboree, you’ll see friendships formed, merit badges earned and patches traded. It’s unlike anywhere else in Scouting.

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Much of the content above was adapted from the July 2016 episode of ScoutCast. Listen to the episode for more great insight from Owen McCulloch, corporate partnerships manager at the BSA’s National Service Center.

McCulloch attended the 1981 National Scout Jamboree as a youth and said “it sticks in my memory as one of my finest Scouting memories of being able to see that many people, that many Scouts, that many Scouters all in uniform, all there for the same kinds of reasons. And it was just an amazing experience that I wish every Scout, every Scouter could have.”

About Bryan Wendell 2776 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is senior editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.