Whether you are stuffing the last of your gear into a duffle or scouring social media for #2017Jambo posts, I hope you’re ready for what’s about to happen. The BSA’s quintessential event is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. The 2017 National Jamboree is a fast-moving, high-intensity celebration of Scouting’s commitment to adventure, service, conservation and STEM. For 10 days, participants are immersed in all things Scouting and they come out on the other side tired, tested and having had the time of their lives.
As soon as they arrive at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, participants and volunteers will know how special this experience is. It’s a gorgeous camping spot that also offers our richest High-Adventure experience. Participants can fly above the ground at 50 miles per hour on one of the longest zip lines in North America, tackle the heights of the challenge course while practicing climbing and rappelling, live out their extreme sports dreams on the BMX bike course or the skate park and more. Amidst all that adventure, I know that 40,000 Scouters and volunteers are going to experience struggles and successes. There will be Scouts participating who are afraid to try these activities, but decide to do them anyway. They’ll be surrounded by old and new friends who will encourage them and celebrate their personal victories. And I hope that all participants will approach those experiences as opportunities to learn and to live out Scouting values.
Those lessons also extend to developing character and leadership through community service and conservation awareness. During Jamboree, Scouts will complete more than 100,000 hours of community service that give back to our host state, West Virginia. Participants also will be asked to further the conservation efforts at the Summit by making the experience there more sustainable and, more importantly, by committing to taking those practices home with them. It will be hard work, but I know Scouts will reap the benefits of serving others and hopefully will be proud of their ability to care for the natural world.
Like most things, participants will get out of Jamboree what they put into the experience. Scouts at Jamboree are asked to give a lot. In return, they will come away with unforgettable memories, new friendships and personal growth. The next 10 days will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Yours in Scouting,