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

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Finally had a call from my son as he waits for the bus to take him home. Here is his quote, "they had some really nice stuff but overall it sucked". First let me say that this was my son's second Jambo. He is no neophyte. Although I don't have all the details yet, it seems that the 2 1/2 days of scheduled time morphed into virtually everyday being scheduled. There was no time to just go out and explore. Additionally, the long walks to the Action Centers (or whatever they called them) created a situation where you basically committed most of your day to one activity, and when the weather shut things down your day became pretty much a loss. Apparently he and his buddies went to shooting sports, waited on line, got to the safety briefing and then had the place shutdown for lightening. Safety first, I'm all for it, but ultimately this left them with pretty much a wasted day. This seemed to be just one example. Each day had something that they HAD to do. Seems like a cub scout event where you have to point and direct their every move.

 

In my 6 years a Council Camping Chairman I learned that Program, (followed by staff, then facilities), is the number one item when it comes to a successful outcome. It seems that they put the cart before the horse. Much work still needs to be done in the Program area. From a distance this whole event seemed to be a giant district camporee. I'm not sure that I like that format for the Jamboree.

 

On a different note, I was told that some activities were restricted to Venturers. If this turns out to be true, someone will need to answer the question, why were all the activities not available to Boy Scouts at the Boy Scout National Jamboree?

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I've been trading texts with my oldest as he heads home. Throughout the week he seems to have had a great time. Didn't get to do everything he wanted but said every day was better than the last. Some days the food 'sucked'. Some days there wasn't near enough food for him. Talking to other parents from our Troop their boys have had a mixed bag. One boy in particular was complaining about adults line hoping for events to the point that despite waiting 4 hours on the last day he still couldn't get on the zip lines - major disappointment for him. I'm sure that sort of stuff happens.

 

Not to highjack your thread but what's bothered me is our council and their behavior and attitudes throughout the entire process. If I didn't have another boy 3 years younger already saying he wants to go to the next I'd never have anything to do with them again. As it is I've shut down all my involvement on the district and council level. I'll put my time and energy into the local unit from now on.

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The more I think about this, the more I’m inclined to think that the event has either lost or changed its focus. In the past it was billed as a gathering of scouts. That gathering was the prime focus. It was what all the advertising, reporting, and conversation were about. This time, it was all about the activities, and particularly about the grand facilities that have been built. Granted the facilities are grand, but the Jamboree should never be about the facilities, or even the activities! It’s about the scouts and it seems to me that to some extent the opportunity to mingle took a back seat. It seems to me that so much time and focus was spent in getting from here to there that mingling was distant bit of interference.

 

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My daughter loved it for the most part. I think the Venturing only items were more social events in the evening. She said someone stole her mess kit, but everything else she packed is coming home(except for traded patches, and food). Unpacking will confirm this. Having the menu ahead of time helped her/us plan with supplemental food items.

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On a different note' date=' I was told that some activities were restricted to Venturers. If this turns out to be true, someone will need to answer the question, why were all the activities not available to Boy Scouts at the Boy Scout National Jamboree?[/quote']

 

This (and the .pdf it leads to) should kinda explain the general mentality: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/Age-AppropriateGuidelines.aspx

 

Some of this comes off as "dirty pool" to try to get boy scouts and their leaders interested in venturing. (Why a 12-year-old-scout can't take handgun training defeats me. I fondly remember my Webelos DL taking us out to learn to shoot his .38 special.)

 

Some of it is the social aspect. Yes, some venturers want to come to Jambo -- their membership card is printed on the same stock as a boy from a troop-- but they are best served by having a percentage of activities to themselves. On camporees, I've had to herd older "distracted-by-venturers" boy scouts back to their troops because I definitely feel for their SM. As an ASM and crew advisor, I want boys in my troop to get to know my venturers in case they want to be part of the program, but I also want them to fulfill their responsibilities with the troop. I suspect we are going to be stuck with this mode of operation for as long as the majority of BSA remains male-only.

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Mentality noted, and thank you. But it doesn't explain why Boy Scouts should be excluded from anything at the Jamboree.

 

And on still another note, some of you may have seen a facebook post about the Day of Service Project that took a different direction. Here is the part that interests me, "Scouts were building picnic tables, an outdoor learning space and a gravel walkway at the school". I've had a problem with this Day of Service thing from the start, but I tempered my opinion thinking that the tens of thousands of service hours were going to be done inside The Summit. Now we find out that that was not the case. This is, in my opinion, an outrageously opportunistic act of selfishness by the National Council. If they want to be seen as do-gooders, then arrange with the OA to have local projects done by Service Corp. But to do it on the $1800 that I paid for my sons trip, is manipulative, abusive. and deceptive. I believe that this Day of Service thing was just another way to take the participants out of circulation for a day. National knew that it could not handle the volume or throughput on most of the big advertised activities, so they just came up with a mechanism to remove a significant number of participant from the mix.

 

To me the whole concept of this Day of Service at the Jambo is questionable. Scouts, all Scouts know what service is about. The Den, the Pact, the Troop, or even the Crew sends out a message that our activity for the day will be 'some service project'. You choose to go along or you choose to stay home. That's your choice. But either way, you haven't been asked to shell out thousands of dollars for the privilege of participating in the that service project without ever having the chance to decline. And the justification for declining would simply be, "my parents sent me here to participate in the Jamboree, not to build picnic tables".

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that the kids were able to help save the schools equipment and material. To me this is an issue of principle.

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Mentality noted, and thank you. But it doesn't explain why Boy Scouts should be excluded from anything at the Jamboree.

 

And on still another note, some of you may have seen a facebook post about the Day of Service Project that took a different direction. Here is the part that interests me, "Scouts were building picnic tables, an outdoor learning space and a gravel walkway at the school". I've had a problem with this Day of Service thing from the start, but I tempered my opinion thinking that the tens of thousands of service hours were going to be done inside The Summit. Now we find out that that was not the case. This is, in my opinion, an outrageously opportunistic act of selfishness by the National Council. If they want to be seen as do-gooders, then arrange with the OA to have local projects done by Service Corp. But to do it on the $1800 that I paid for my sons trip, is manipulative, abusive. and deceptive. I believe that this Day of Service thing was just another way to take the participants out of circulation for a day. National knew that it could not handle the volume or throughput on most of the big advertised activities, so they just came up with a mechanism to remove a significant number of participant from the mix.

 

To me the whole concept of this Day of Service at the Jambo is questionable. Scouts, all Scouts know what service is about. The Den, the Pact, the Troop, or even the Crew sends out a message that our activity for the day will be 'some service project'. You choose to go along or you choose to stay home. That's your choice. But either way, you haven't been asked to shell out thousands of dollars for the privilege of participating in the that service project without ever having the chance to decline. And the justification for declining would simply be, "my parents sent me here to participate in the Jamboree, not to build picnic tables".

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that the kids were able to help save the schools equipment and material. To me this is an issue of principle.

Guess you didn't get the memo? http://www.summitblog.org/40000-scouts-5-days-and-300000-hours-of-community-service/

 

None of my crew went to Jambo. Maybe it was because if they were going to pay $$ to serve, they would want to call the shots. Maybe pick a third-world country. I don't know. But it seems that it was made clear from the start that this day was part of the package.

 

Should it be? I don't know. When you move into town, it's always a good idea to lend a hand to the neighbors. That's good hunting land we just walled off! We want them to feel it was worth the exchange!

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But to do it on the $1800 that I paid for my sons trip, is manipulative, abusive. and deceptive. I believe that this Day of Service thing was just another way to take the participants out of circulation for a day. National knew that it could not handle the volume or throughput on most of the big advertised activities, so they just came up with a mechanism to remove a significant number of participant from the mix.

 

To me the whole concept of this Day of Service at the Jambo is questionable. Scouts, all Scouts know what service is about. The Den, the Pact, the Troop, or even the Crew sends out a message that our activity for the day will be 'some service project'. You choose to go along or you choose to stay home. That's your choice. But either way, you haven't been asked to shell out thousands of dollars for the privilege of participating in the that service project without ever having the chance to decline. And the justification for declining would simply be, "my parents sent me here to participate in the Jamboree, not to build picnic tables".

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that the kids were able to help save the schools equipment and material. To me this is an issue of principle.

 

My wife said the same thing about doing it on the money we paid to send him there. I explained that our other scout did a service project at summer camp and that our Troop performs service projects every year at camp. The more I thought about it - the more I'm inclined to agree with both of you...

 

My guy is home now - I just have to wait 2 hours to leave work and go home to see him and hear the stories. I went in 1985 as a scout and I'm glad he got this opportunity warts and all.

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From a principled standpoint, I see nothing wrong with Scouts taking time to include some aspect of community service during their time at jamboree. I have more of an issue with parents who have the mindset that they've paid a lot of money to send their kid to jamboree and it dang-well better be amazing. (And this is coming from a guy who has paid a total of six jamboree fees over the years.) This is what's driving the Jambo Disney trend -- Bigger! Higher! More Expensive! My experience is the kids are pretty content to trade patches, explore with their buddies, hang out with new Scout friends or pick up a couple odd merit badges not available at home. Which is why I thought the initial plan for the Summit program (which was eventually scrapped) to ban patch trading and the MB Midway was so stupid).

 

Keep in mind this jambo was built on the model of the 2007 World Jamboree, which is where the day of service idea originated. And it pretty much worked the same way there. The number of Scouts overwhelmed the needs of the local community and the ability of the jamboree to handle the logistics. My Scouts ended up picking up trash for an hour or so, then spent the day hanging out with a bunch of UK Scouts exploring the town they were supposed to be working and climbing on old castle ruins. Being world jamboree, that was pretty cool.

 

Generally, BSA is pretty bad about hyping a few really cool activities on which they can't deliver. Last time it was the skate board demonstration from the kid who looked like Carrot Top -- Sean something?. Half the jamboree showed up and our guys couldn't get within a half-mile of the show. Then there was the big OA "experience" which they hyped for months. But at jamboree someone finally took their shoes and socks of to do the math and discovered the venue could only accommodate a fraction the number of participants. The solution? Short change the troops on the number of tickets they received and let the troops decide who got stiffed.

 

A bigger problem, which Bronco mentioned, was and apparently is the number of adults taking slots at activities from youth participants. I don't give a damn how much you paid to be here or how many hours you worked, that's what you volunteered for. And presumably you volunteered to serve the Scouts, not to take their turn in line. My troop was essentially shut out of the main arena show last time because of the number of staff members who bypassed us in line and took our space. We had our boys buddy-up and go find a spot in the arena as best they could. Some grey-beard regional twit bellowed at us "YOU CAN"T DO THAT!" To which I replied, "we just did!" My ASM made a suggestion which I don't think would have been anatomically possible.

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The day of service has been known from the outset. I sat on our Jambo committee and attended the previous two as an ASM. I too questioned whether it is a good thing or not. Considering that there was some push back from locals concerned about a chunk of land in their rural area being turned into an encampment with 40,000 people, providing service to that community goes a long way them wanting this in their backyard. Plus, given the scout oath and law, doing service anywhere you are at just fits. I know it costs a pretty penny. I spent close to $10K for my son and I both to go to Jambo in 2005 and 2010. You certainly want to get as much bang for your buck as possible. That is why when I was ASM, we would run them out of sitting around camp all day or setting up right outside of camp and patch trading. Their parents had spent $3k for them to go. They could sit on their butts for free when they got back home. I also have to take into consideration that those who chose to staff Jamboree, have to pay the Jambo fee, provide their own transportation and use their vacation time. They are paying to go do a job with long, hot hours without many creature comforts. I'm torn. On one hand, people paid to play and doing service isn't playing. On the other, service is what Boy Scouts do. As to using the OA to do it, the OA's service function is primarily to their camps where a scouts service is to the community.

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I certainly hope I didn't sound like my expectation was that the Jambo should be "Amazing" in a Disney like way. I think it should be anything but ,disappointing. Council OA does service in the council camp. But my understanding is that Service Core and Trail Crew do service anywhere.

 

I didn't miss the memo.........I knew that the Day of Servie was scheduled from the outset. But what really gets me is this report of off site service being done. I think it compounds the insult. BSA doesn't need to curry favor with the locals. Locating there was more than enough. The community should be more than grateful. Job, Jobs and more Jobs. A local year round staff, summers full of campers, and still more staff. That's without knowing what National, the State of WV and the Bechtel family has done for the community. Any rural community would be thrilled to have this facility.

 

Again, this idea of service at the Jambo is my opinion. I think its wrong in this situation.

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I certainly hope I didn't sound like my expectation was that the Jambo should be "Amazing" in a Disney like way. I think it should be anything but ,disappointing. Council OA does service in the council camp. But my understanding is that Service Core and Trail Crew do service anywhere.

 

I didn't miss the memo.........I knew that the Day of Servie was scheduled from the outset. But what really gets me is this report of off site service being done. I think it compounds the insult. BSA doesn't need to curry favor with the locals. Locating there was more than enough. The community should be more than grateful. Job, Jobs and more Jobs. A local year round staff, summers full of campers, and still more staff. That's without knowing what National, the State of WV and the Bechtel family has done for the community. Any rural community would be thrilled to have this facility.

 

Again, this idea of service at the Jambo is my opinion. I think its wrong in this situation.

Think of it this way, all those years at AP Hill our boys were helping our servicemen learn crowd control and logistics. Something they wound up doing a lot of on deployment.

 

I understand your misgivings ... Sounds way too much like a "land for peace" deal.

 

Here's hoping that the boys come home with some better ideas for service in their neck of the woods.

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I certainly hope I didn't sound like my expectation was that the Jambo should be "Amazing" in a Disney like way. I think it should be anything but ,disappointing. Council OA does service in the council camp. But my understanding is that Service Core and Trail Crew do service anywhere.

 

I didn't miss the memo.........I knew that the Day of Servie was scheduled from the outset. But what really gets me is this report of off site service being done. I think it compounds the insult. BSA doesn't need to curry favor with the locals. Locating there was more than enough. The community should be more than grateful. Job, Jobs and more Jobs. A local year round staff, summers full of campers, and still more staff. That's without knowing what National, the State of WV and the Bechtel family has done for the community. Any rural community would be thrilled to have this facility.

 

Again, this idea of service at the Jambo is my opinion. I think its wrong in this situation.

"BSA doesn't need to curry favor with the locals. Locating there was more than enough."

 

Besides being a scout and good neighbor, the BSA needs to curry political favor with the locals for financial reasons (as in pay for Summit)

 

Last summer, the BSA assumed that they as a non-profit could surely rent out, tax-free (local and state taxes) the Summit to for-profit groups such as concert promoters etc. The BSA was wrong in that assumption. So for the past year, the BSA has hoped to amend the West Virginia constitution to allow the BSA an exemption but the BSA has been vague on the extent of outside leases and other non-profits stepped in wanting an exemption too.

 

http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201208140245

http://old.scouter.com/Forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=363719&p=1

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I certainly hope I didn't sound like my expectation was that the Jambo should be "Amazing" in a Disney like way. I think it should be anything but ,disappointing. Council OA does service in the council camp. But my understanding is that Service Core and Trail Crew do service anywhere.

 

I didn't miss the memo.........I knew that the Day of Servie was scheduled from the outset. But what really gets me is this report of off site service being done. I think it compounds the insult. BSA doesn't need to curry favor with the locals. Locating there was more than enough. The community should be more than grateful. Job, Jobs and more Jobs. A local year round staff, summers full of campers, and still more staff. That's without knowing what National, the State of WV and the Bechtel family has done for the community. Any rural community would be thrilled to have this facility.

 

Again, this idea of service at the Jambo is my opinion. I think its wrong in this situation.

Sorry, I still believe that there is enough support for the neighborhood by virtue of just being there with everything that comes with it.

 

As for BSA's assumption, it was a very poor assumption! It seems that the scenario that you've laid out basically allows the non-profit to compete with the local for profit operations. That's a long term kiss of death for whichever side of the argument you take. If they really want to be good neighbors, maybe they should start by not taking the bread and butter away from the locals.

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I find the adult line hopping curious. I'd be interested to know where it happed as the only place adults were allowed to participate was in the Summit Center. The outlying activity areas were youth only. Early in the first week all the canopy tour lines were limited to curriculum ticket holders both in the action area and in the Summit Center. The zip lines in the center were jammed as much due to lightning and weather as anything.

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