BSA postpones 2021 National Jamboree because of COVID-19 pandemic

The Boy Scouts of America is committed to the safety of all youth in its programs.

The unpredictability of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the impact it has had on BSA councils so far prompted the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 National Jamboree.

This decision was not made lightly. Being prepared for the largest national gathering of Scouts takes years to do. The pandemic and the unresolved issues surrounding it has made it exceedingly difficult to plan for this event and do so in a way that would keep the safety of Scouts, volunteers, staff and communities at the forefront.

The National Jamboree, held every four years, was originally slated for July 21-30, 2021, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. No new date for the Jamboree has been set yet, but a task force of volunteers and staff will recommend a new date, and registered participants will be informed once that date is selected.

“We recognize that it may mean some Scouts will not have a Jamboree experience they had looked forward to,” says Al Lambert, Assistant Chief Scout Executive and National Director of Outdoor Adventures. “We believe, however, that it is the best path forward, and we are committed to hosting this incredible event at a future date.”

For 110 years, Scouts have stepped up during local and national crises, included world wars, economic downturns and epidemics. The 1935 National Jamboree was postponed because of a national polio epidemic. Scouting still continued. Two years later, 25,000 Scouts camped in Washington, D.C., for the rescheduled Jamboree.

This pandemic has dramatically impacted how councils operate and prompted the closure of 70% of council summer camp programs this year. That doesn’t mean Scouting stops.

“We believe postponing the 2021 National Jamboree will help bolster much-needed attendance at council camps next summer – by which time we hope the spread of COVID-19 has significantly subsided – and will give councils the opportunity to focus their limited resources on maximizing incredible local Scouting opportunities for families in their communities,” Lambert says.

If your unit planned to attend the Summit next summer, you can reserve a spot at the James C. Justice National Scout Camp. You can also look at other high-adventure opportunities next year at the Summit and other national high-adventure bases. Also, watch for updates from your council; council camps offer awesome, fun adventures for Scouts.

If you have more questions not addressed below, check the Jamboree website or email 2021Jamboree@scouting.org.

More about the postponement

I am a registered youth participant or the parent of a youth participant; how will I receive my refund?

Council contingent members should work directly with their local council regarding refunds.

I am a registered Jamboree Service Team member; how will I receive my refund?

The Jamboree Department at the National Service Center will process refunds.

I am a Jamboree Service Team member and have already booked my flight; what should I do?

Jamboree Service Team members should work directly with their airline to inquire about refunds or flight credits.

I am a participant who applied for a scholarship to attend the Jamboree; will I need to apply again when the Jamboree is rescheduled?

Yes. Unfortunately, you will need to apply again given that the situation, available funds, and allocation process may be different.

If I have already accepted a staff assignment, what happens to my position?

The BSA will inform key stakeholder groups of plans and decisions regarding positions for a future Jamboree as soon as that information is available.

Can I still buy 2021 National Jamboree merchandise and apparel?

No. Official BSA 2021 National Jamboree merchandise and apparel are no longer available.

My council is planning a pre-Jamboree trip for a few days before the Jamboree (e.g., Washington, D.C.); is that still going to happen? Will we still get the local contingent merchandise we ordered?

Council contingent members should work directly with their local council to inquire about pre-Jamboree trips and locally ordered merchandise.

I am a youth participant but may be over 18 for the new National Jamboree date; can I still go as a participant?

Yes. There will be opportunities to attend a future Jamboree within the participant structure and the Jamboree Service Team structure.

About Michael Freeman 213 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.