Before saying “You’re Welcome” to Moana, jumping into Jumanji or asking wrestling fans if they could “smell what The Rock is cooking,” Dwayne Johnson was a successful football player at the University of Miami.
And it was during his years with the national championship-winning Miami Hurricanes that Johnson visited the Lincoln-Marti Camporee in Miami to meet the Scouts in attendance there.
A recently rediscovered photo, which South Florida Council officials say is from 1991, confirms the celebrity sighting. It shows Johnson talking with a group of Cub Scouts at the event.
“It was a lucky find, and no one paid attention until Aaron Gluck, a University of Miami alum and district executive, was watching a video and saw it,” says Jeff Berger, Scout Executive of the South Florida Council.
In the quarter-century since that photo was taken, Johnson has done all right with himself. He became one of the most popular wrestlers in history, starred in a number of top-grossing movies and was named to Time magazine’s 2019 list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
As for the camporee, that’s still going strong, too.
The next staging of the Lincoln-Marti Camporee, held Jan. 24–26, 2020, at Miami’s Carlos J. Arboleya Camping and Picnic Grounds, will celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary.
How they found that photo
When researching the Lincoln-Marti Camporee recently, Gluck stumbled upon a 20-minute video about the event. The video included a mix of taped footage and still photos.
One of those still photos caught Gluck’s eye.
“At first, I wasn’t sure if it was him,” he tells me. “Then they started talking about the ’91 Miami Hurricanes football team, and I knew he was a member of that team.”
Gluck rewound the tape to be sure.
“I was like, oh my gosh, that’s The Rock at our event. That’s so cool,” he says. “It truly was a hidden gem that this picture has been around for almost 30 years and no one has seen it to make the connection.”
About the camporee
The Lincoln-Marti Camporee was first held in 1970 as a way to celebrate Scouting’s diversity in South Florida. Fifty years later, its mission remains as relevant as ever.
“As you walk around, you will hear a variety of languages and accents, all reminding us that Scouting unites us as a family,” Berger says. “English, Spanish, Creole, Quechua and Papiamentu — all can be heard as you visit the impressive gateways following an annual theme.”
This year’s theme, “Friendship Through Scouting,” reminds us of the unique ways Scouting brings together young people from diverse backgrounds.
In addition to robust attendance from Scouts across South Florida, the camporee regularly draws Scouts from other countries. In recent years, Scouts from Guatemala and the BSA troop based in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have attended.
“This year could be the best of the best as we celebrate the golden anniversary of an amazing vision five decades ago,” Berger says.
Actually, there’s only one thing that could make it even better.
Mr. Johnson, if you’re reading this, the South Florida Council would love to have you at their camporee. We can’t think of a better person to serve as a counselor for the Personal Fitness merit badge.
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