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

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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.

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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.

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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 ?

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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.

I thought the same thing Basementdweller! I looked through most of the photos and the postings on social media and I agree, the Venturers seemed to be overly represented compared to Boys Scouts.

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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.
I think it was wonderful that Scouts were able to give back to the community. My problem however is the automatic issuance of the Messenger of Peace award. I am not that familiar with it, but after a quick review creating a flower bed for a Community College does not seem to fit the bill. Am I alone?

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The problem with inadequate staffing, especially in areas that required specialized skills, was a very real problem, and one that must have been obvious a long time before the Jamboree, probably a year out.

 

The BSA did really continue to hype things like zip line when it was eminently clear that that very few scouts were going to experience it. Frankly the idea that they were going to find 800 plus volunteers (the number necessary to open all the zips) who would be able to spend two weeks training and then two more weeks at the Jamboree was beyond wishful thinking. The better choice would have been to hire that many college students for a month to provide the necessary staffing levels. The BSA does have a habit of getting one idea in its head and not being able to adjust to reality.

I don't know about that. From the beginning when we signed up the information said "BIG ZIP ELECTIVE (THE ZIP): Experience a ride on one of five parallel lines each 3200 feet long over Adventure Valley and the Kayak Lake. NOTE: Due to the limited capacity of this venue a finite number of elective tickets will be distributed to each jamboree unit to be divided amongst the members of that unit as they so choose".

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

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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.

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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.
I second basementdweller. I volunteer all the time for local camps & council events. Not for national where I get charged for the "privilege".

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Basementdweller,

 

I was on staff as well and what you say is simply not true. The largest problems in staffing was getting trained people. The Jamboree even offered to pay for zip line certification training that was about a 14 day course and physically very demanding and expensive. There were still too few to operate the zip lines to capacity. The shooting sports required NRA instructors, not just anyone. The planners did not anticipate the poor response for staff. The reasons are not fully known but in my personal opinion is a function of the new weight requirements and the terrible economy that made the cost prohibitive to some that would have gone in other years. When the staffing levels were determined to be too few, it was too late to decrease the number attending. How would you propose to do that? Which boys and girls would you cut? They made the only reasonable decision and that was to proceed with fewer getting through the various venues.

 

As said elsewhere, adults were not allowed to participate in most activities. ALL of the youth with whom that I spoke were having a great time. The site and facilities are really first rate and should only improve with time. I do have some concern about the camp being able to pay for itself in the non-Jamboree years.

 

Jamboree was a great success and the Venturing youth only added to the experience.

I never said my son complained about adults cutting line.

 

So what your saying is that the boys weren't turned away from zip lining???? NONE of my son's patrol got to use the zip lines. Call my son a liar I am good with it. according to him he stood in line for hours to be turned away when the venue closed in the evening....

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The problem with inadequate staffing, especially in areas that required specialized skills, was a very real problem, and one that must have been obvious a long time before the Jamboree, probably a year out.

 

The BSA did really continue to hype things like zip line when it was eminently clear that that very few scouts were going to experience it. Frankly the idea that they were going to find 800 plus volunteers (the number necessary to open all the zips) who would be able to spend two weeks training and then two more weeks at the Jamboree was beyond wishful thinking. The better choice would have been to hire that many college students for a month to provide the necessary staffing levels. The BSA does have a habit of getting one idea in its head and not being able to adjust to reality.

That is not what was initially sold. Only last fall did it come out that not everyone was going to be able to do the big zip.....And this spring it we heard that only a few golden tickets would be given to each unit.

 

When the troop returned I asked the SM who used the troops allotment.......I already knew it was his son and his best friend.

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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.

So you ship 10% of the boys off property everyday....So in theory decrease the lines by 10%.....

 

hmmmm.

 

Well it didn't work.

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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.

Son said the app was completely usless

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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.

Three different crew members said the app did nothing but drain their batteries.

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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.

No need to wonder BD, it's been coming for a while I fear.

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