At JamboLink, keeping Scouts informed at the speed of Snapchat, Instagram and more

They call themselves the Snapboyz. It’s their mission to cover the 2017 National Jamboree in a uniquely 2017 way: on Snapchat.

Like all the members of JamboLink, the Snapboyz keep participants and staffers in the loop using whatever online channels the Scouts and Venturers prefer. That means separate teams for Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, streaming video and the JamboLink blog.

The medium may change, but the goal’s the same: helping Scouts and Venturers maximize their Jamboree experience.

In the story of JamboLink, you’ll find a lesson we all can use about how to better engage Scouts.

‘Snap-worthy’ moments

Jeremy Dueñas, an 18-year-old from the Greater New York Councils, is chief Snapboy.

His five-member team adds Snaps — photos or videos with funny or insightful captions — to the 2017 National Jamboree Snapchat Story. That Story is a compilation of all the team’s Snaps from the past 24 hours. After that, the Snaps disappear forever.

That ephemeral quality makes Snapchat unique. You’ve gotta be there, in person, to add a Snap to your Story. And you’ve gotta see it before it disappears 24 hours later. Jeremy’s team captures those uniquely Jamboree moments.

“It’s anything that’s Snap-worthy. Anything that happens in that moment,” Jeremy says. “Random moments, interactions, handshakes.”

Ethan Wolfe, 18, from the Patriots’ Path Council in New Jersey, is another Snapboy. He says Snapchat shines because it offers authentic, real-time content.

“We tell a story in the way other media can’t,” Ethan says. “We can connect on the ground with participants.”

‘Earned it!’

JamboLink partnered with Snap Inc. to deploy more than 30 Snapchat filters throughout the Summit. These allow users to add unique overlays to their Snaps.

Most are geofilters, requiring users to be in a specific location within the Jamboree site to use them. There are filters for Base Camps and program areas, as well as filters that say things like “Adventure Awaits,” “Earned it!” and “No Party Like a Scout Party.”

It gets better. On Thursday, Snaps from the Jamboree will be featured nationwide in Snapchat’s “Our Story” area. This is space typically reserved for events like the Oscars or MTV Movie & TV Awards.

This gives the BSA a chance to share Scouting’s story with a huge national audience.

‘Trust and empower’

The Snapboyz are just a small part of the 58-member JamboLink team led by Ed Lynes, a volunteer from New Jersey.

In addition to the social media, email and blogging teams, there’s a team producing “Jamboree Tonight,” the nightly online show for participants and staff.

“The key has been empowering and trusting our young people to use platforms they’re most comfortable with,” Lynes says. “It’s that old thing about Scouting — you trust and empower a kid.”

Some of these young people will use their JamboLink experience to launch a career in marketing or journalism or social media. They’re acquiring skills you can’t learn in school.

“I’m really, really big on making sure these guys feel valued,” Lynes says. “I would hire these kids to work for me.”

‘Yes, yes and yes’

Deep down, regardless of the medium they’re using here, each member at JamboLink is a storyteller.

And there are hundreds of Jamboree stories to tell each day. The JamboLink team is large, but its members can’t be everywhere.

So they’ll triage the stories, using the Slack messaging app to determine what to cover now and what to cover later.

“For every request we get, there’s three answers: yes, yes and yes,” Lynes says. “Yes, we’ll do it the way you want. Yes, but we’ll do it later. Yes, but we’ll do it a different way.”

Maybe something’s isn’t the right fit for an article, for example, but it would make a great Snap or tweet.

‘A sense of accomplishment’

Those Snaps and tweets fall under Nick Hessler’s area. He’s JamboLink’s social media leader.

“A lot of guys on my team are interested in social media — more than tweeting selfies or Instagramming their food,” he says. “We’re giving them experience in covering something in a different way.”

Mitch Leonard is in charge of production, which includes the website, emails and “Jamboree Tonight.”

“It’s awesome to have a 16-year-old see that thousands have seen what he’s done,” he says. “It’s a sense of accomplishment and experience they wouldn’t have gotten in the classroom.”

See this team’s work at the JamboLink website.

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