2017 National Jamboree closes with tunes, a bang — and a message to take home

Photo by Tom Copeland

Maybe it was the culmination of 10 days spent having the time of their lives and forming lifelong friendships.

Maybe it was the inspirational message from an Eagle Scout survivalist who told Scouts and Venturers to do what they love — not just what pays the most money.

Or perhaps it was the rocking musical guest or breathtaking fireworks and laser show.

Whatever did the trick, one thing is clear: the 2017 National Jamboree closing show was a sensational success. The Thursday night Farewell Show left everyone energized for future Scouting adventures.

Photo by Kevin Shaw

New best friends

What a difference less than a week makes. The opening show on Saturday night, featuring musical guest X Ambassadors and motivational speaker Inky Johnson, was executed excellently.

The Scouts and Venturers had an awesome time, but many had met only days before. By Thursday, with another five Jamboree days under their green web belts, the Scouts seemed to have grown closer together.

During the pre-show, the crowd sang together — “Don’t Stop Believing” was especially popular — and put their arms around each other, swaying in rhythm with the music.

Clearly these young people have bonded over the week, no doubt experiencing all four stages of team development without even knowing it: forming, storming, norming, performing.

Photo by Megan Donaldson

Rules for life

Eagle Scout, reality TV host and survival expert Creek Stewart, whom I’ve covered on this blog before, was the night’s motivational speaker.

He told the Scouts and Venturers that all of his life’s success started with the Wilderness Survival merit badge.

“The Boy Scouts have been with me and my story since the absolute very beginning,” he said.

He encouraged the young people to do what they love — even if it doesn’t pay the most money. He then discussed these tips:

  • Some people will think you’re crazy, but push forward anyway.
  • What makes you feel most alive probably has something to do with your passion.
  • Bring your Boy Scout pocketknife with you to college.
  • Do things other people are not willing to do.
  • Leave no trace in the woods, but leave a big trace in the world.
  • A Scout is not perfect but should strive for perfection.
  • Never forget your roots in Scouting.

Creek’s new show, SOS: How to Survive, begins next month on the Weather Channel.

Photo by Christopher Golden

Music you can sing to

It was the Jamboree’s best-kept secret. All week Scouts and Venturers had been speculating about the identity of Thursday night’s mystery musical guest. I tried multiple times to get someone to give me the scoop, but nobody was talking.

Finally, the rock band Plain White T’s was announced, and the crowd took their feet for a rocking, eight-song show.

We learned that the band’s drummer, De’Mar Hamilton, was a Boy Scout and that lead singer Tom Higgenson “always wanted to be a Boy Scout.”

The band saved its most famous song, “Hey There Delilah,” for the encore.

Photo by David Burke

A surprise in the skies

A closing show isn’t a closing show without some fireworks, and this year’s display outdid any I’ve seen before.

Set to a playlist of patriotic songs and fast-paced pop hits, the show included lasers, as well as fireworks launched from two separate locations. At one point in the grand finale there must have been at least 50 fireworks going off simultaneously.

Scouts and Venturers walked back to their campsites smiling — and with plenty of stories to tell their family and friends when they get home.

Photo by James G Parker

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