Scouts will reach new heights in leadership at the National Jamboree

Scouts from around the country are at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia for the 20th National Jamboree.

For a week and a half, they will enjoy exciting activities like mountain biking, zip lining and rock climbing. They can earn merit badges, trade patches and have fun with fellow Scouts. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1937.

But new this year will be an opportunity for Scouts to grow as leaders through the Leadership Heights program. The program invites 16 guest speakers who will share their expertise that should inspire Jamboree participants to confidently pursue their own leadership paths.

Reaching new heights

Scouting has several aims to achieve its mission of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes. One of these is instilling leadership by encouraging Scouts to learn and practice leadership skills. The BSA offers many leadership programs that have helped Scouts unlock their potential as leaders.

In that same vein, Leadership Heights creates an engaging experience for Scouts condensed into a half-day program. Each troop is assigned a specific time or day so they can try the program’s elements, which will include:

  • A self-assessment of each Scout’s leadership attributes.
  • Engaging experiences supported by the U.S. Army and West Virginia University.
  • World-class leaders as guest speakers at the Leadership Heights Speaker Series.
  • Reflection through an interactive experience entitled “Elevate.”

Some of the experiences will include fun teamwork activities like escape rooms and games. They will also navigate a trail with challenges along the way that will test the Scouts’ skills in communication, cooperation and problem-solving.

The Leadership Heights guest speakers will be:

  • General Stanley McChrystal– Former commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan.
  • Deborah L. Birx, M.D.– Former White House coronavirus response coordinator.
  • Scott Pelley60 Minutes correspondent and former CBS News anchor and managing editor.
  • Elaine P. Ho– Chief diversity officer at NASA.
  • Brad Tilden– Retired chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group and 39th national chairman of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Eric Traupe– Former assistant director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • DeDe Halfhill – Renowned leadership expert and U.S. Air Force colonel.
  • Hakeem Oluyesi – Astrophysicist and former space science education lead for NASA.
  • Guy Snodgrass– Former TOPGUN instructor and Pentagon communications director.
  • Scott Mann– U.S. Army Green Beret, Pineapple Express mission leader.
  • Julie Sweet– Chair and CEO of Accenture. Ranked by Fortune magazine as the second most powerful woman in the world.
  • Dave Scott– Deputy assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division.
  • Michael Sears– Director of leadership innovation at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • James McCloughan– Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
  • Roger C. Mosby– 14th Chief Scout Executive, president and CEO of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Dan McCarthy– Retired vice admiral in the U.S. Navy and former group director at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
  • Scott Sorrels – Retired partner Eversheds Sutherland and national commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America.

It’s Jamboree time

If you aren’t attending the Jamboree this year, you can still follow the fun from home by logging on to or checking out the Jamboree’s social media pages. Also on social media, search for #NatJamboree23 to keep up with everything going on at the 20th installment of the national event.

You can find tips at Scout Life for preparing to attend the next Jamboree.

About Michael Freeman 446 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.