The Jamboree is over, but this service project will help people far into the future

Scouts put supplies into a flood bucket
BSA file photo

When you get 15,000 Scouts together, good things happen. In addition to the zip lines, mountain biking and patch trading, Scouts at the 2023 National Scout Jamboree assembled 5,000 flood buckets to be used in future flooding emergencies.

Each cleaning kit provides essential items a flood victim might need to take those all-important first steps needed to get back into their homes and begin reclaiming their lives. Each bucket contains 15 items — including rubber gloves, scrub brushes, scouring pads and towels — that can help flood victims as they begin the process of restoring their property.

The project was organized by Scouting volunteers; coordinated by Volunteers in Mission, a movement within the West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church; and underwritten by Walmart.

In addition to the cleaning items, Scouts also added one personalized note of encouragement to each kit.

The total value of the kits is estimated to be $375,000.

“Harnessing the power of Scouting at the Jamboree and their commitment to help other people at all times will have a positive impact on the health and welfare of many flood victims,” says David Stilgenbauer, the West Virginia Conference Volunteers in Mission coordinator.

In addition to the assembly of the buckets by Scouts, the United Methodist Committee on Relief program included physical displays that demonstrate the aftereffects of flooding on homes and personal items, along with educational and inspirational explanations of the impact of flooding on families and communities.

What’s in a flood bucket?

The buckets include other items such as laundry detergent, household cleaner, dish soap, air freshener, cleaning wipes, trash bags, N95 masks, kitchen gloves and work gloves.

The disaster relief ministries of the United Methodist Church says the Jamboree project was their largest flood bucket effort ever.

In 2022, Scouts recorded almost 7 million hours of service, according to the most recent Report to the Nation. The flood bucket project gave Scouts at the Jamboree the opportunity to help increase that number for this year.

According to research from NASA, the proportion of people across the globe living in flood-prone areas has risen by as much as 24% since 2000 — 10 times greater than the number previous models had predicted.

“When the BSA decided to develop the Summit, we made a promise to the State of West Virginia that we would always strive to do things to make a positive difference in the local community,” says Russell Smart, the BSA volunteer who coordinate the initiative. “Flooding is a major issue in this area of the country, and West Virginia is one of the states most impacted by this type of natural disaster. The flood bucket project is another opportunity to honor our promise and make that positive difference in a unique way.”

About Aaron Derr 454 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.