Wave hello: 2018 Jamboree-on-the-Air, Jamboree-on-the-Internet dates set

Hey world, let’s get together for a chat.

The 2018 Jamboree-on-the-Air and Jamboree-on-the-Internet, empowering Scouts and Venturers to communicate with other Scouts from around the world, will be Oct. 19 to 21.

Add the weekend of Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA) and/or Jamboree-on-the-Internet (JOTI) fun to your unit, district or council calendar.

Just how big of a deal are JOTA and JOTI? Consider this: The World Scout Bureau reported that the 2017 JOTA and JOTI events had more than 1.5 million Scout participants from more than 160 countries.

In addition to talking to Scouts from other countries, participants complete requirements for Cub Scout adventures, Boy Scout merit badges and the International Spirit Award. All that, plus JOTA and JOTI offer a hands-on lesson in STEM — the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Requirements completed

In addition to being incredibly fun, JOTA and JOTI count toward Scouting requirements:

2018 Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA)

What: Annual Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, across the country and in your own community.

When: Third full weekend of October (this year it’s Oct. 19-21, 2018). There are no official hours, so you have the whole weekend to make JOTA contacts. The event officially starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday evening.

Who: Scouts and Venturers of any age, plus their families.

How: Once at the ham radio station, the communication typically requires speaking into a microphone and listening on the station speakers. However, many forms of specialized communication can also take place, such as video communication, digital communication using typed words on the computer screen transmitted by radio, communication through a satellite relay or an earth-based relay (called a repeater), and many others.

Where to find help: Contact your local council. They may already have an event set up that your Scouts can attend. Otherwise, find a local American Radio Relay League club here.

Learn more: Get resources, quick-start guides, patch order forms and lots more at the JOTA website.

Just for fun: Check out this archive of JOTA patches through the years.

Bonus tip: If your unit or council wants to participate in JOTA but doesn’t have an amateur radio station, hope is not lost. Icom America and the BSA have a sponsorship agreement that began in 2012 and now extends through 2018. One aspect of that agreement is that Icom America will provide up to 10 complete amateur radio stations for use by local Scout councils. Stations can be requested for long-term development loan stations and for event loan stations. You can find the details, application and loan agreement here.

2018 Jamboree-on-the-Internet (JOTI)

What: JOTA’s younger brother, JOTI is an annual Scouting event that uses the Internet and the numerous devices that are used to get online — laptops, iPads and more — to link Scouts from around the world.

When: JOTI begins at 00:00 hours local time on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, and will end at 24:00 hours local time on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018.

Who: Scouts and Venturers of any age, plus their families.

How: Scouts can participate at home with the help of an adult (remember two-deep leadership), or they can participate in a Scout group at a councilwide event. JOTI is an economical way of communicating with people from other corners of the globe. The event allows Scouts to “meet” other Scouts from around the world through the Internet and share more information than just “hi.”

Where to find help: Contact your local council. They may already have an event set up that your Scouts can attend.

Learn more: Get resources, quick-start guides, patch order forms and lots more at the JOTI website.

Just for fun: Check out this archive of JOTI patches through the years.

Safety tip: Scouts should learn the rules of safe internet use by earning the BSA’s digital training tool, the Cyber Chip, before they participate in JOTI.