Jamboree trading card craze has Scouts hunting treasure, making new friends

Over the past few days, anyone at the Jamboree who even resembles a staff member is getting asked the same question from Scouts they don’t know.

“Do you know anything about the 101st card?”

To the first two groups of Scouts that asked me, I simply said, “Sorry, no clue.”

By the third group, I got curious enough to ask what was going on.

Turns out Jamboree trading cards are all the rage right now. The cards depict famous Eagle Scouts and former Scouts (think Mike Rowe and John F. Kennedy), as well as Scouting founders (think Robert Baden-Powell and Daniel Carter Beard).

There are 100 different cards in circulation, and the goal is to collect all 100. Once a Scout or Venturer gets a complete set, he or she must hunt for the special 101st card, of which just 1,000 were printed. No copies of the 101st card were put into circulation. It must be found … somehow.

“It’s all random clues,” says Joey Ament, 14, a Star Scout from Jamboree Troop 2324 of the Three Harbors Council in Wisconsin. “It’s a wild goose chase, basically.”

A wild goose chase with a sweet reward. Scouts who collect all 101 cards get a free 2017 Jamboree Linerlock knife.

Working with a full deck

When they arrived at the Jamboree, Scouts were given 13 packs of eight cards each. Many of the cards will be duplicates, so Scouts must trade with both troopmates and complete strangers. That’s where the fun begins.

Scouts received the cards at no extra cost and have been trading them one for one. Unlike patch trading, where some Scouts might have come with a dozen sets to trade and others just one or two, each Scout starts the card-collecting process from the same point.

Joey and his troopmate Andrew Grebe, a 14-year-old Life Scout, have collected card Nos. 1 through 100. Now they’ve joined the throng of Scouts on the hunt for the elusive 101st.

“We’ve been asking around,” Joey says. “We found a lot of rumors, like, ‘oh, you have to be really nice to people,’ which you already try to do. It’s just a bunch of random stuff, and we don’t know which one to follow. So we’re just asking a lot of people.”

I’ve heard rumors that a large crowd of Scouts figured out the location of the 101st card on Sunday. There were reports of hundreds of Scouts surrounding a certain high-profile individual.

I won’t spoil the fun and name the person here.

Playing their cards right

Joey’s favorite card is the Rex Tillerson card, “because it took me a while to find that one.”

Andrew likes card No. 99 best. Titled “The Gold Standard,” this one features Baden-Powell, Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton.

Though the goal is that pocketknife, Joey and Andrew say they’ve enjoyed the journey to get there.

“At the beginning, a lot of people in our troop opened them at the same time,” Andrew says. “It was a big rush of everybody trading them, which was fun. I like the fact that you can trade them one for one. There’s no super rarity to each card, besides the 101st. It’s not like patch trading where you might trade a set for two sets. And there’s a goal to it at the end.”

A goal and a chance to make friends.

“It’s a good way to meet people,” Joey says. “It is interesting.”