Two moving trucks have been loaded. Over 600 duffle bags have been packed. Flights from Los Angeles and John Wayne airports are departing. The passengers are excited. But who are they, and where are they headed? These are Boy Scouts from Orange County, headed for an adventure-packed two week excursion to the 17th National Boy Scout Jamboree in Fort Apache Hill, Virginia. The contingency includes 356 scout participants (aged 12 to 17), 36 adult leaders, and 75 scouts (18 years and older) who will be working as jamboree staff.
Months of preparation brought them to the day of departure this week. “We have been preparing for this well into the last year,” says Scoutmaster Al Silva of Jamboree Troop 814. “I believe that after this much preparation, we are ready to have a great time.” Preparation including raising funds to cover the $3,300 per person costs of attendance, team building and day trips and camp-outs to prepare for the actual jamboree event.
The first National Jamboree was scheduled for Washington, D. C. for August, 1935. However, a severe polio outbreak caused a cancellation of the event and a two year setback for the Jamboree. On June 30, 1937 the first jamboree opened to a crowd of 27, 232 scouts. The third National Jamboree was held in Orange County in 1953, and was held on the grounds where Newport Center and Fashion Island now sit. This Jamboree had 50,000 scouts in attendance, including scouts from 16 foreign countries. Jamboree Road was named to honor and remember the great scouting event.
The scouts and leaders attending this years event will begin their journey with a week long tour of three New England states. The tour begins in New York City seeing sights such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, China Town, the Empire Stet Building and attendance at a Blue Man Group concert. The scouts then travel to Philadelphia to see historic sites such as the Liberty bell and Independence Hall, while sampling Philly Cheese steaks. Lastly the tour ends in Washington DC with visits to the Washington Monument, Air and Space Museum, and the White house before heading to Ft Apache Hill.
At the jamboree scouts will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scouting,. During the eight day extravaganza, scouts sleep in tents and prepare their own meals. Scouts will enjoy musical and cultural performances, participate in religious services and observations, attend exhibits and displays, participate in activities such as a 5K run, rifle shooting, archery, buckskin games, rappelling, canoeing, skuba and have an opportunity to earn from a selection of over 100 merit badges. Scouts will also have the opportunity to meet other scouts from all over the nation and engage in patch trading.
The Orange County scouts will return home August 4th tired, dirty and filled with memories and a cadre of new friendships. A view of the jamboree adventures from the viewpoint of one scout troop is available at www.jambojabber.blogspot.com. The scouts are sure to have a great time at the 100th Anniversary National Jamboree.