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Jambo feedback from the final day -Some nice stuff but it sucked.

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  • #16
    They should have asked my opinion.

    Three years ago, at AP Hill, I was chatting with one of the other scoutmasters in our troop. He was rather down on the whole experience and said '10 would be his first and last jambo. No, I said, I was rather interested in the Summit, and -- except that my preferred job was being eliminated -- I would probably be interested.

    But later that week I had a conversation with Jack Furst (one of the guys with the a statue at the Summit) and continuing for a year-and-a-half or two, all my direct contact regarding the jamboree was that I was too fat, that the area which I would have staffed (merit badge midway) would be eliminated, when it was re-instated the staff was greatly restricted, that the total number of staff was being cut in half and besides, the facilities -- especially for adults -- would make AP Hill look like the Ritz. My help was neither needed nor particularly welcome. I decide pretty firmly I would not go.

    Then, over the past year, as reality began to sink in, I've had FOUR specific job offers, not counting the number of "gee, we could really use you" conversations. But by then I made other commitments for the summer and, probably more to the point, had made up my mind I didn't want to go.

    Here's a hint: when you're trying to recruit volunteers, don't spend quite so much time and energy making them feel unneeded.

    As to the zip line staffing-- I'd be curious to know how many certified zip line instructors there are in the country. I'm willing to bet 800 represents a considerable portion of the total. Fourteen days is approximately triple the training required of any other top-tier BSA certification. Add the physical and financial requirement and it becomes a pretty steeply declining -- and obvious -- curve.

    Comment


    • Bando
      Bando commented
      Editing a comment
      I worked the Action Center in 2010. I was on a crew that had been together for most of the Jamborees since '97, who had pretty much engrained themselves in their program area and were responsible for planning the areas at the other AP Hill Action Centers as well. To my knowledge, the number of people from that staff who returned in '13 was probably far less than half. There were a few of them that were getting up there in age and didn't feel up to the new site and a few others who didn't feel they could meet the fitness requirements. But there were others who were turned off by a sense that the new Jamboree approach left them on the outside looking in, even if what they were doing was a huge part of the Action Center's success at AP Hill.

      Personally, I thought the new site was a great idea, and eagerly awaited a way to sign on as soon as I saw the plans. Though a mixture of low finances and uncertain plans for this summer ultimately made it so there was no way I could return in '13, I was still surprised that I was never once contacted by National to volunteer again. Never heard a word. You'd think the previous volunteers would be the first people they'd approach.

      I get the impression that the new-look Jamboree scared off a lot of people, who bought in to a lot of the naysaying hype about an underdeveloped site and faulty program strategies, which weren't countered in the least by the Jamboree organizers. In scouting, word of mouth and hearsay tends to get a lot more sway than it should, and National has never found a way to really work around it. Some people still aren't convinced, even after the Jamboree turned out to be a relative success.

      Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves one question: Did the Jamboree achieve its goal, which is to bring scouts from all over the world to a single place and give them a venue to have new experiences and, more importantly, make new friends? All the griping and naysaying aside, the answer is "yes." It's about the scouts. Not about the temperatures of our showers and whether or not our tents have a power strip. We can all acknowledge that the first Jamboree in a new site always comes with growing pains. It only gets better from here. From talking to a lot of the old timers who were at the first few Jamborees at AP Hill, the same thing happened there, too. The next time around, things will be better. So what are we going to do to make that happen?

  • #17
    VS,

    I remain skeptical. I spent the first full day of program volunteering at the canopy. No one there was aware of any type of recruiting other than looking for the traditional scouter and hoping they had an extra month in their lives. The one exception were the WVU students who, if they took the course at school and came to the Jamboree, were the only volunteers not to have to also pay the $850. BSA being BSA, they were asked to pay for their own duffle.

    The first day that they held training programs and didn't have 800 plus folks signed up the problem of a volunteer shortage was evident and was never going to get any better. I was told that the training also isn't transferable, certification on Bonsai's equipment doesn't mean certification on other manufacturer's equipment, and vice versa.

    Both I and my scouts had a wonderful time, and I certainly don't doubt the goodwill and work ethic of the folks doing the planning.

    I will add that on the idea of adults line hopping I never saw that and never had a scout describe it to me. On the contrary, I did see adults volunteer to get out of line and give up their spots in things like whitewater if it was necessary to accommodate scouts.

    Comment


    • #18
      I didn’t receive any forms for providing feedback before I left the Jamboree. If anyone knows where I can get one please post.

      Both I and my scouts had a wonderful time over all. I have been thinking a lot about my experience and what I think could be done differently. In no particular order here are my reflections.
      The enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteer staff cannot be overstated.

      Every computer system I encountered was poor: the dashboard that remained stubbornly stuck at 50% from when I first registered until it dropped to 0% after I checked in, the activity registration that was often down, the payment system that I could never get to work, the medical system that lost all the info from my and both my sons’ accounts, the list of curriculum activities on site for my scouts that wasn’t correct. For a supposedly high tech jamboree there was no meaningful use of the bar coded credentials, and the $0.99 app was klugy and provided almost no functionality.

      Too many of my scouts spent too much time in line for activities, often not even getting to do the activity after all the waiting. Grin and bear it isn’t really the answer to this. A Scout is Thrifty, and that should apply to how to spend his/her time, hours in line is not thrifty.

      Staffing and staffing levels: I have about a dozen friends who were on staff, most of them veterans, between the cost, the time and effort spent getting to their areas, and the overall difficulty of the experience, I think they are going to need to better accommodate folks to get the numbers they need.

      Transportation: hiking up and down mountains as an activity is fun, hiking up and down campsites and gravel trails because that’s the only way to get there is the reason we have invented every mode of transport from the wheel to the jetliner. Some sort of shuttle system is needed both for the sake of thriftyness and for staffing.

      Over all a great experience, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

      Comment


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Son said the app was completely usless

      • gsdad
        gsdad commented
        Editing a comment
        Three different crew members said the app did nothing but drain their batteries.

      • SWScouter
        SWScouter commented
        Editing a comment
        The app had the schedule and a map. The map would turn on the phone's GPS and wouldn't turn it off. At least with the Android app. I had to shut down and restart my phone to turn it off. Phone GPS chips really suck the batteries.

    • #19
      A fourteen day course to run a zip line ? Pardon my ignorance but that seems like a lot for a relatively simple procedure. That has to be longest training course I have ever seen for the BSA. Why is the course so long ?

      Comment


      • #20
        14 Days for Zip Line training?1?!?!?!?!? NCS COPE Director certification, which covers Zip Lines, is 7 days and held all over the nation.

        Comment


        • #21
          After a few days of questions and answers my son's experience boils down to this, " It was like the most crowded week ever at Disney World, except at Disney World there is always something to do as you walk from one attraction to another". Simply too much wasted time because the lines were too long and there was nothing to do as you hiked from one area to another.

          As for staffing, pardon my shouting, WHAT DID THEY EXPECT ! They excluded what I would think is 50% of the available volunteer resource when they implemented the weight restrictions.

          I do have to give them credit for the absolute brilliance they exhibited by scheduling significant numbers of Scouts out of the Jambo proper for huge blocks of time. The marketing gurus even got some to pay extra for some limited availability activities..............rather elitist I would think. But it did get even more Scouts away from the Jambo for additional time.

          Comment


          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            So you ship 10% of the boys off property everyday....So in theory decrease the lines by 10%.....

            hmmmm.

            Well it didn't work.

        • #22
          I got a few Simple Solutions
          1> Limit the Total number of Scouters from Each council to 10 ( 8 Youth 2 Adults)
          2> Extend the Number of Secessions of Jambo to 4..Limit each week to 10,000 Scouters
          3> Figure out a way to cut back on the Cost for Volunteers to work..I wanted to but could not come up with 850.00 and Cut Back on the Amount of Training Costs..I want to Be BSA Certified on Climbing and Other things i just can't afford it.

          Comment


          • #23
            like you tex...I wouldn't mind volunteering, But $800 is way too much. I never understood why they needed to make a profit off of the the staff......

            So how much did it cost to staff at ap hill????

            Comment


            • SWScouter
              SWScouter commented
              Editing a comment
              This year, to staff the whole jamboree it cost $850. One could also have staffed for a week instead for $425. If I remember right, the cost for the 2010 jamboree was $750.

            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              I have no problem paying for my meals........Which at about 3 bucks a piece for 10 days is what 90 bucks.....I don't mind paying for my t shirts.....another 90 bucks.....

              So why am I paying an extra $500?????

            • SSScout
              SSScout commented
              Editing a comment
              Extra $500... Tents, signs, cots, biiiig duffle you can use again, three days of really great entertainment (no fooling, Mark Rivera was great) ( and Third Door Down was pretty good too) (and the King of Sweden and Mike Rowe were no slouches either), Showers... well, scratch that..... various (volunteer staffed) exhibits and activities, hikes in the woods, a really grand fireworks display, time away from the usual stuff, lots of Scouts to smile at and to have smile back at you, (depending on your "duty") rewarding and new challenging solutions to find, camping out (even on such a grand scale), a bag of patches and pins to take home to remind you of all the mud and rain and ....

          • #24
            Just putting it out there: "It's the Economy, stupid.". The centennial was three years earlier. Usually volunteers for things like is have four years to recharge the wallets. In a good ecomonmy, most of us would have a little fat to burn. In this one ... most of us are just trying to stop the bleeding. Lots of us have done that by passing on the big ticket items.

            Comment


            • #25
              I don't believe the Economy BS any more....People complain about it....But generally they are the ones with the 4 smartphones, three SUV's and a Flat panel tv in every room, high speed internet and 800 channels of HD cable. It is about about priorities. Energy prices are up....My electric is up by a third from last year....My gas bill has nearly doubled. My families grocery bill has gone up by about $50 a month, of course son is eating everything that isn't nailed down currently.

              So how many years have we heard oh its the economy.....Way too many. Excuses and priorities. Scouting just isn't a priority for many folks any more.

              I am off for my third week of summer camp end of the week, Second adult on crew backpacking trip....should be fun.....Much cheaper than resident camp.

              Comment


              • Basementdweller
                Basementdweller commented
                Editing a comment
                Trying to talk the Leadership to going to the Dolly Sods for a long weekend trip.

            • #26
              Well send your feedback to Jamboree Director Larry Pritchard who supposedly is "conducting a detailed evaluation process to get feedback from those involved" for the 2017 Jamboree.

              He said they will plan to do the Day of Service next time and called it a good lesson learned this time around.

              Changing our whole food delivery system to the Scouts was a big change, a huge risk for us and it turned out okay,” he said.

              All in all, Pritchard said he was satisfied with how the Jamboree went and looks forward to hearing feedback from Scouts in the near future.

              http://wvmetronews.com/planning-alre...2017-jamboree/
              Last edited by RememberSchiff; 07-30-2013, 05:21 AM.

              Comment


              • Bando
                Bando commented
                Editing a comment
                A thought: Where does saying no to the Day of Service fit into the Scout Law? Not to mention if the scout is a member of the OA.

              • skeptic
                skeptic commented
                Editing a comment
                Bando; You have to understand that we are now dealing with "Me first" scouts and scouters in way too many instances. Their personal definitions of the law are contingent on what is the most enjoyable for them, unless something better comes along in the meantime. Ultimately, they make their choices; and the image they leave is not always one they might like later. We have similar attitudes at local levels, often having to expect about 20% fewer to turn out for things than said they would initially.

              • Bando
                Bando commented
                Editing a comment
                Of course, skeptic. Which is why I've been so fed up with the feedback around here about this Jamboree. The complaints seem so amazingly shallow and petty compared to the spirit of the Jamboree. The lines were too long. There was too much food. The showers were too cold. The phone app ate too much battery life. On and on and on and on.

                Frankly, I would have loved to have seen the look on my old Jamboree scoutmaster's face if one of his scouts, much less an Eagle Scout, had walked up to him and said they weren't going to do something like the Day of Service because they'd rather go trade patches or shoot guns. It would be something to behold.

            • #27
              As is well known here and elsewhere, I have been one of the harshest critics of the run up to this Jamboree. I'm not a naysayer, but I saw the staff issues coming when they made it impossible for a guy like myself (overweight, but can carry my weight around) to staff Stamp Collecting Merit Badge. Having said that, I have heard nothing but positive responses from the kids and leaders who attended. Yesterday, I had chat with supervisor who came out to check my new air conditioning system. He noticed my Scouting stuff and said his two sons, 12 and 15, had just returned from the Jambo. They were very pleased with the whole thing. Yeah, they had complaints. The younger one didn't like the food and was not understanding of being unable to fire on the pistol range. Long lines and didn't get to do everything they wanted, but woudl they do it again? In a heartbeat, he said. And he would happily pay the $1800 per boy to get them there. So, I've come around a lot on this issue. They now have four years to work on after-action from this one. One issue I was not wrong on was the cold showers. If they don't fix that or allow some way for staff to live off-site, I won't be at the next one except as a guest. Presumably, though, they will by that time find enough qualified people to staff everything. So, I've become something of a Summit booster. Even sent them a donation.

              Comment


              • Kahuna
                Kahuna commented
                Editing a comment
                Can't deny the over-hype. That was one of my concerns. They came a lot closer than I thought they would, but there was never any way any one Scout could get to do all that stuff in one Jambo.

              • Bando
                Bando commented
                Editing a comment
                Was there a way a scout could do everything at any other Jamboree? That's kind of the point, isn't it? So many options that there's no way you could fit it all in? Isn't that kind of true in life, too?

              • fotoscout
                fotoscout commented
                Editing a comment
                Last time around the kids in our troop did everything they wanted to do and yes some did everything. They invested the time, they worked at it, and they succeeded. It was very doable.

            • #28
              I'm not saying it's the same, but just think for a minute.....................what would happen if you took your family on vacation to a resort that offered all sorts of great activities. The brochures had great glossy pictures of people doing all sorts of great stuff. You wanted to do this, that, and everything. You expected to be able to do everything because no one told you otherwise. On the contrary, the day before you left you checked the website and everything was hunky-dory. Then when you got there, you couldn't do most the activities that were advertised. What would you do, how would you feel???

              One thing most of you would not be doing is touting the virtues of the resort and glossing over the shortcomings.

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                I have a pretty low bar for vacations. My scouting training has taught me to be content with the bare minimum!

              • SWScouter
                SWScouter commented
                Editing a comment
                Were you there? I'm asking because it seems you're completely overstating what the situation really was.

              • fotoscout
                fotoscout commented
                Editing a comment
                I was not there. The opinion I’ve formed and the comments I’ve made are the result of discussions with over a dozen Scouts, Venturers, and Leaders that were there. And I’ll admit some the bitterness comes from my original recognition that this thing was over hyped, and lacking hard information during the sales and buildup phases leading into the event.

                I, like some of the rest of you was able to see a problem evolving early enough for some action to have been taken. That action might have been distasteful. But it would have been honest. Instead they buried the problems.

                What’s been really interesting is that the story has been consistent. The youth, the adults, the Venturers, and the Boy Scouts have all said the basically the same things. If you’re wondering if I prompted them for similar answers I’ll tell you that I was very careful to just let them talk.
                Last edited by fotoscout; 08-01-2013, 05:02 PM.

            • #29
              Let me throw this out there as possibly another example of something that might have gone wrong…………….. As the story goes, between the skate parks and the BMX courses, there were some 40 broken arms per day. I’ve heard variations of the number but I suspect its close. Statistically I have no idea what that number should be, but anecdotally it suggests one of a number of things: 1- facilities that were too difficult for the target audience, 2- Inadequate training for the beginners, 3-Inadequate policing of the activity, or 4-Poor equipment selection for the target audience.

              Any thoughts??

              Comment


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                We'll need Richard B to direct us to an after action report. And that, IMHO, means every "near miss" should be followed up this month. Many spiral fractures (like the one my daughter acquired to her wrist this spring) aren't diagnosed at the ER, but rather a couple of weeks after the fact.

                I know in recent years, I've had one boy with a sprained wrist backpacking. Estimate that at 1 per 1000 boy-days, multiply by 40, and you're pretty much right at the same #. :0 For my modest statistical consulting fee, I can compile the published research on skate park and BMX injuries and give you a probability of our event being something other than chance variation from those norms.

              • SWScouter
                SWScouter commented
                Editing a comment
                One dinner, I talked to a man that was managing the EMS. At that time, he said the number of incidences was statistically on par with a comparable sized city. He was not concerned with the injury rate at all. He did mention that early on there were some tweeks made to some of the BMX courses, such as flattening some of the whoop-de-doos.

            • #30
              I was there for a week as staff, and my overall impression would be "some things sucked, but mostly nice stuff". Actually, I went there with the expectation that something big would go wrong, and I was actually a little disappointed that it didn't. There did seem to be some glitches, such as the understaffed zip lines. But overall, I didn't see any major disasters. Again, I was expecting some major catastrophe (along the lines of, "oops, we forgot to order any food") but it never happened.

              I only saw a couple of casts on Scouts, and I assumed that most of them had arrived that way. There was a very well staffed medical area, which is to be expected if you have 40,000 kids engaging in outdoor activities. One of my tentmates had to see the dentist, and he reported that the dentist was very busy fixing kids' braces. There was an air ambulance on standby the whole time, and I only saw it take off once.

              My biggest complaint was the amount of walking involved. Because it was billed (rightly so) as being very strenuous, that kept a lot of volunteers away. Either they were flat out forbidden from going or, they just decided to stay home because it sounded too strenuous. (I was almost in that group myself.) I was there the second week, and on my second day there, they quietly started running buses for staff. I took full advantage of the buses, and I suspect I would have had a very different view of things if they hadn't brought them in. But more importantly, if the buses had been planned from the very beginning, I suspect that there would have been a lot more volunteers. Once the buses started running, there were still a few somewhat strenuous walks involved, but most of the potential volunteers who stayed home would have been able to participate. Obviously, some staff needs to be physically fit to do their job. But most of them don't have to be, and if you can get competent staff there on the bus to fill those positions, I don't see why the BSA rejected this option.

              In fact, I think there would be something to be said for having buses for the Scouts as well. I think just about any scout, even one who was not in very good shape, would have been able to handle the hikes. But as noted above, there was also a serious time factor. Things were very spread out, and it could easily be an hour hike from one activity to another. And that would really limit the number of things that a Scout could do, especially if they also had to wait in line. Having a bus route that ran in a circle wouldn't give them door-to-door service, but it would really cut down on the transit time.

              I did get an e-mail asking me to provide feedback, and my main comment was that if there are buses, I'll probably be back in 2017. If there aren't buses, I probably won't be. Most of the buses seemed to be from local school districts, which seemed like a win-win situation. They were probably reasonably priced, and I'm sure the school districts could use the extra revenue. There were also deluxe air-conditioned motor coaches in use, but I was just as happy to see an old school bus, as long as it could get me up and down the hills.

              I really can't think of any major complaints. I didn't take one second longer than I needed to take a shower, but the cold water wasn't a deal breaker. If it was for others, that would be relatively easy to remedy. The restroom buildings did have power, so an on-demand electric heater could easily be added to the lines feeding the showers, to at least get them up to room temperature. I saw quite a few people who had lugged in a solar shower from home, since they were sitting next to many tents soaking up the sun. But I don't recall seeing anyone actually getting ready to use one. If I had been in charge of the food service, I probably would have done a few things differently, but I don't have any real complaints.

              I'm sure I could think of a bunch of nitpicks. Let's see--the drains on the sinks in the restrooms were poorly designed and didn't drain properly. The tent that I was working in really should have had a floor. It would have been nice if they had a few more spots to recharge electronics. I'm guessing they'll have most of those bugs worked out in time for the next event. Even if they don't, I'll probably be back, as long as there's a bus.

              Comment


              • dcsimmons
                dcsimmons commented
                Editing a comment
                And exactly why were you disappointed there wasn't something big go wrong? You were looking for catastrophic problems because.....?
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