This family’s collection of National Jamboree patches stretches 16 feet long

The Great Alaska Council’s 2017 set.

A father-son duo from Alaska created a massive mural to display patches they collected together at the 2013 and 2017 National Jamborees.

The entire mural, made up of four square sections, measures 4 feet high and 16 feet long.

Robert Timmins and his son, John, both Eagle Scouts, started by collecting a few patches together at the 2013 National Jamboree.

This was John’s first taste of Jamboree patch trading, and he was impressed. At these Jamboree patch-trading bazaars, Scouts and Venturers spread out blankets and towels to display their trading inventory. They meet others from across the country, swapping stories as well as patches.

“John really talked it up when he came back from the 2013 Jamboree,” Robert says. “I started to pay attention and did some research.”

Click to enlarge

‘Hit the ground running’

When the 2017 National Jamboree rolled around, Robert and John were even more prepared. Armed with a big bag of Great Alaska Council patches, the pair arrived at the Summit Bechtel Reserve ready to trade.

“We hit the ground running in attempt to trade the patches we brought with those sets we wanted,” Robert says. “We felt rather accomplished in getting to know other Scouts and leaders from all over the country. It made me proud to see how vast and wonderful the Scouting organization is.”

Robert estimates they walked 10 miles per day. That included patch trading as well as participating in Jamboree events and experiencing SBR activities.

As you can see in the photos, their patch-trading efforts paid off. If anyone needs a counselor for the Collections merit badge, call these guys.

The Dan Beard Council patch set.

The one that got away

Every patch set you see in the mural was one that Robert or John received by trading — except one.

On the Jamboree’s penultimate day, John spotted the set from the Cincinnati-based Dan Beard Council. The set, inspired by the card game Magic: The Gathering, was one John simply had to have.

“We made the trek to the [Dan Beard Council] campsite, but we found they had none left,” Robert says.

When they got back to Alaska, John was elected into the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society. After John’s Ordeal, Robert and his wife surprised their son with a gift to celebrate his accomplishment.

It was the Dan Beard Council set, purchased from the council.

“That is the only purchased set” in the entire collection, Robert says.

Memories, unboxed

When Robert and John returned from the 2017 National Jamboree and looked through their patches, something felt wrong about boxing these patches and storing them in a closet.

Even putting them in a patch binder would leave them out of sight.

“So what were we to do?” Robert says. “We came up with this unique way of displaying these wonderful works of art as collage murals.”

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About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.