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

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I was there for a week as staff, and my overall impression would be "some things sucked, but mostly nice stuff". :D 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. :D

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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.

NRA Training for RSO and/or Instructor takes 2 days for competent people. (RSO and Instructor Combo training is 3 days.) National Jamboree could easily have gotten NRA instructors to train on site to fill any open slots.

 

What Jambo couldn't do was convince over 21 year old practical folks that they should pay $850 for the privilege of working for free.

 

Wouldbadge Grads? Anyone?

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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??

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. :D

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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??

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.

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I was there for a week as staff, and my overall impression would be "some things sucked, but mostly nice stuff". :D 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. :D

And exactly why were you disappointed there wasn't something big go wrong? You were looking for catastrophic problems because.....?

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Ah say, that's a joke son. But it would have been fun to show that Scouts know how to deal with catastrophic problems. So if they forgot to order any food, a Scout is Cheerful, so someone picks up the phone and says: "Hello, McDonald's? We'd like 40,000 Happy Meals. We'll be there to pick them up in about an hour. Toys? 35,000 boys and 5,000 girls."

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All of our population statistics have been 25% inflated. We are actually talking about an event with 30,000 youth and adult leaders. That'd only be about 26,000 happy meals assuming that they probably wouldn't let you order them for your 19+y.o. venturers.

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All of our population statistics have been 25% inflated. We are actually talking about an event with 30,000 youth and adult leaders. That'd only be about 26,000 happy meals assuming that they probably wouldn't let you order them for your 19+y.o. venturers.
Good. Then nobody would notice if I took two happy meals (with two toys, of course).

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In no particular order, here are some of my thoughts on the Jamboree. I was on staff (high-power rifle range) the entire time and showered most days. I bought a solar shower at the trading post for $25 or so and filled it up and left it in the sun (and rain sometimes) during the day and showered at the end of the day. The first time I used the solar shower the water in the bag was 110 degrees (nifty little thermometer built into the bag) and it was a GREAT shower. I had several days where the water in the bag was 140 degrees. I had to hold the bag under the ambient water shower for a few minutes to cool it. I had great warm showers, great hot water with which to shave, and all and all had no complaints about my shower situation. It would have absolutely sucked to not have that solar shower. There was one day where it was super hot throughout the day and I did a shower sans the solar shower. It was brisk, for sure. I can see this being an issue for future Jamborees.

 

I was in Base Camp Echo and the food was good. Lunches sucked for the most part. I grabbed an apple or two and a banana at breakfast and brought them along for lunch - wish I had thought to grab a bagel or some bread or something. Breakfast and dinner was very good. Dining hall staff were great - good spirits, great job.

 

Staff tents? Not bad at all. So much I'm thinking about buying one or two of those wall tents they have for sale. Would be great for those "drive and camp" campouts we seem to do so much of back home. The cots? Discobeds. Surprisingly comfortable. Shoot, I'm thinking of buying one or two of them as well.

 

We had buses laid on for the shooting sports staff as it was a 90-120 minute walk each way to the range. I was disappointed that the participants had so much walking to do - not because of the physical fitness aspect of it but because of the time involved. I gotta believe this is going to have a huge impact on whether folks return. There was a lot of walking for everybody. I was pleased to see that the trading post sold baby powder. Or better put, my boys were pleased I could buy some baby powder. Pack a big container of it if you attend next time.

 

Speaking of trading posts? The thing I bought the most? Those Thorlo socks. I brought 5 pair down with me. And a bunch of the green BSA socks. I wore my first five pairs on the first five days. I tried the green socks for one day. Ah, no. Funny, as I use them on troop campouts all the time. But I don't walk that much on troop campouts. An estimate, but I figured I did ten miles of walking each day. As an aside, I lost 10 lbs at Jambo. I was too cheap to send my laundry to Granny's Laundry (really, that was the name of the local concession offering laundry service in Echo base camp). I did the old wash 'em in a bucket. I hung everything out to dry and it was a great sunny day the next day. I was feeling pretty smart until it poured down rain that afternoon while I was still at the rifle range. Damn. I ended up just buying a set of socks for each day. I guess it would have been cheaper to pay the $10 to Granny, but it was essentially a two-day turnaround. Anyhow, I bought new socks. I was a little disappointed that the socks in the trading post were a few dollars cheaper than the same thing they were selling online at ScoutingStuff.org - but only because I had bought five pairs beforehand. Ah, don't look a gift horse in the mouth I guess. I bought a jambo chair (even thought I had brought one of those really cool REI camp chairs portable camp chairs they were selling at the Scout store). The portable chair just wasn't comfortable after a long day on the range. I also bought a lightweight rain jacket and a nifty pair of Jambo shorts.

 

I traded my Shooting Sports hat for a freaken' awesome hat from an adult Scouter from North Carolina. Thanks man! You know who you are. I'm groovin' to your hat.

 

The phone charging stations were all solar - in case you wondered why you got a 10th of a charge after 2 or 3 hours on the charging station. Everybody plugged their devices into the outlets in the shower house... ummm... 15 or 20 amps for 20 devices all daisy chained together? Do the math - that didn't work out well either. In Base Camp Echo they had a few real charging stations across from the trading post that had portable batteries with 650 or 850 amp batteries and those did the trick. I don't think that many people even realized they were there.

 

Broken bones? No idea how factual this is, but I heard there were 800 broken bones at the Jamboree - many at the BMX site, with a significant percentage at the same place on the course. I get you'll have broken bones at something like this but do wonder if course design had something to do with it. It would have been nice to have somebody step forward and say "um, yeah, lots of broken bones at this part in the course - we're going to change it or close down this part of the course." Now I got no idea whether that would be a realistic thing to do or not, but as both a parent and a Scouter, I'd like to think there was somebody thinking about this. There were also two fatalities at the Jamboree - both older Scouters. One a few days before the Scouts arrived and one during the second week. My understanding is that they were adults with a history of heart problems. Again, no real specific information on these, all rumor, but fairly certain there were two guys that didn't come home. Sympathies and prayers go out to those two guys and their families. I mention this because I've seen some threads that talked about the BMI and weight and health history and all that. Again, no idea whether these were factors in the two deaths, but I think it safe to assume it likely.

 

We closed the rifle range once or twice when there was nearby lightning. We had one group that had waited in line for an hour or two and had just completed the safety briefing and were put on the line. I was the RSO and had just given the command to "aim and align rifles" (just prior to "load and fire") when we had to call a cease fire. The operations folks told us the kids had to clear the hill and boogie down the hill. No idea where they were supposed to go to seek shelter, perhaps the big tents at the bottom of the hill. The hill, by the way? We all called it cardiac hill because it was a hump to get from the bottom of the hill to the rifle ranges. I could easily see a kid humping to the top of the hill, waiting in line, getting on the range, having the range closed & sent to the bottom of the hill saying "i'm not walking back up there". Unfortunate. Having said that, we sent probably 7500 kids through the high-power range - .223 and .308 rifles. The boys that made the hump early and got there first thing in the morning got to shoot lots. I told the boys that the early bird got the ammo and if there was no line, they were welcome to stay on the line. One kid in particular stands out - he was on the range at least three different days. I did wonder what he was giving up to be there, but he was passionate about shooting. I bet that kid easily shot 500-600 rounds of .308. That's saying a lot since it was in increments of 10 rounds. I did give some thought to saying "come on kid, hit the road, go see the rest of the Jamboree", but at the end of the day, it was his Jamboree and that's what he wanted to do. We had Scouters from around the world - I had boys (and girls) from Australia, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and a bunch of other countries I can't recall.

 

 

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All of our population statistics have been 25% inflated. We are actually talking about an event with 30,000 youth and adult leaders. That'd only be about 26,000 happy meals assuming that they probably wouldn't let you order them for your 19+y.o. venturers.
Beyond happy meals ... one could estimate the number of plaster casts. Given a nationwide incidence of .2% per year (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2856220/), treating all 10 day periods as equal, divide that by 36, multiply by 30,000 and you'd have at least 20 kids break a bone. Assuming that Jambo would be the peak activity time for youth, we could expect about 600 fractures - estimating on the high side.

 

So 40 would be quite reasonable. 800 would be higher than the national average. But, then again, very few kids in the country go to skate parks.

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All of our population statistics have been 25% inflated. We are actually talking about an event with 30,000 youth and adult leaders. That'd only be about 26,000 happy meals assuming that they probably wouldn't let you order them for your 19+y.o. venturers.
Again I'm not sure what this number should be, but it's not based on 30,000. It's based on the number of kids that participated in primarily two activities (skateboarding and BMX), and we know that for multiple reasons not everyone participated in those activities.

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All of our population statistics have been 25% inflated. We are actually talking about an event with 30,000 youth and adult leaders. That'd only be about 26,000 happy meals assuming that they probably wouldn't let you order them for your 19+y.o. venturers.
I think if you also controlled for the risk appetite of the parents that let their kid attend Jambo and the risk appetite of the kids willing to strike out across the country to attend a Jambo and that .2%/year might be a little low :).

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In no particular order, here are some of my thoughts on the Jamboree. I was on staff (high-power rifle range) the entire time and showered most days. I bought a solar shower at the trading post for $25 or so and filled it up and left it in the sun (and rain sometimes) during the day and showered at the end of the day. The first time I used the solar shower the water in the bag was 110 degrees (nifty little thermometer built into the bag) and it was a GREAT shower. I had several days where the water in the bag was 140 degrees. I had to hold the bag under the ambient water shower for a few minutes to cool it. I had great warm showers, great hot water with which to shave, and all and all had no complaints about my shower situation. It would have absolutely sucked to not have that solar shower. There was one day where it was super hot throughout the day and I did a shower sans the solar shower. It was brisk, for sure. I can see this being an issue for future Jamborees.

 

I was in Base Camp Echo and the food was good. Lunches sucked for the most part. I grabbed an apple or two and a banana at breakfast and brought them along for lunch - wish I had thought to grab a bagel or some bread or something. Breakfast and dinner was very good. Dining hall staff were great - good spirits, great job.

 

Staff tents? Not bad at all. So much I'm thinking about buying one or two of those wall tents they have for sale. Would be great for those "drive and camp" campouts we seem to do so much of back home. The cots? Discobeds. Surprisingly comfortable. Shoot, I'm thinking of buying one or two of them as well.

 

We had buses laid on for the shooting sports staff as it was a 90-120 minute walk each way to the range. I was disappointed that the participants had so much walking to do - not because of the physical fitness aspect of it but because of the time involved. I gotta believe this is going to have a huge impact on whether folks return. There was a lot of walking for everybody. I was pleased to see that the trading post sold baby powder. Or better put, my boys were pleased I could buy some baby powder. Pack a big container of it if you attend next time.

 

Speaking of trading posts? The thing I bought the most? Those Thorlo socks. I brought 5 pair down with me. And a bunch of the green BSA socks. I wore my first five pairs on the first five days. I tried the green socks for one day. Ah, no. Funny, as I use them on troop campouts all the time. But I don't walk that much on troop campouts. An estimate, but I figured I did ten miles of walking each day. As an aside, I lost 10 lbs at Jambo. I was too cheap to send my laundry to Granny's Laundry (really, that was the name of the local concession offering laundry service in Echo base camp). I did the old wash 'em in a bucket. I hung everything out to dry and it was a great sunny day the next day. I was feeling pretty smart until it poured down rain that afternoon while I was still at the rifle range. Damn. I ended up just buying a set of socks for each day. I guess it would have been cheaper to pay the $10 to Granny, but it was essentially a two-day turnaround. Anyhow, I bought new socks. I was a little disappointed that the socks in the trading post were a few dollars cheaper than the same thing they were selling online at ScoutingStuff.org - but only because I had bought five pairs beforehand. Ah, don't look a gift horse in the mouth I guess. I bought a jambo chair (even thought I had brought one of those really cool REI camp chairs portable camp chairs they were selling at the Scout store). The portable chair just wasn't comfortable after a long day on the range. I also bought a lightweight rain jacket and a nifty pair of Jambo shorts.

 

I traded my Shooting Sports hat for a freaken' awesome hat from an adult Scouter from North Carolina. Thanks man! You know who you are. I'm groovin' to your hat.

 

The phone charging stations were all solar - in case you wondered why you got a 10th of a charge after 2 or 3 hours on the charging station. Everybody plugged their devices into the outlets in the shower house... ummm... 15 or 20 amps for 20 devices all daisy chained together? Do the math - that didn't work out well either. In Base Camp Echo they had a few real charging stations across from the trading post that had portable batteries with 650 or 850 amp batteries and those did the trick. I don't think that many people even realized they were there.

 

Broken bones? No idea how factual this is, but I heard there were 800 broken bones at the Jamboree - many at the BMX site, with a significant percentage at the same place on the course. I get you'll have broken bones at something like this but do wonder if course design had something to do with it. It would have been nice to have somebody step forward and say "um, yeah, lots of broken bones at this part in the course - we're going to change it or close down this part of the course." Now I got no idea whether that would be a realistic thing to do or not, but as both a parent and a Scouter, I'd like to think there was somebody thinking about this. There were also two fatalities at the Jamboree - both older Scouters. One a few days before the Scouts arrived and one during the second week. My understanding is that they were adults with a history of heart problems. Again, no real specific information on these, all rumor, but fairly certain there were two guys that didn't come home. Sympathies and prayers go out to those two guys and their families. I mention this because I've seen some threads that talked about the BMI and weight and health history and all that. Again, no idea whether these were factors in the two deaths, but I think it safe to assume it likely.

 

We closed the rifle range once or twice when there was nearby lightning. We had one group that had waited in line for an hour or two and had just completed the safety briefing and were put on the line. I was the RSO and had just given the command to "aim and align rifles" (just prior to "load and fire") when we had to call a cease fire. The operations folks told us the kids had to clear the hill and boogie down the hill. No idea where they were supposed to go to seek shelter, perhaps the big tents at the bottom of the hill. The hill, by the way? We all called it cardiac hill because it was a hump to get from the bottom of the hill to the rifle ranges. I could easily see a kid humping to the top of the hill, waiting in line, getting on the range, having the range closed & sent to the bottom of the hill saying "i'm not walking back up there". Unfortunate. Having said that, we sent probably 7500 kids through the high-power range - .223 and .308 rifles. The boys that made the hump early and got there first thing in the morning got to shoot lots. I told the boys that the early bird got the ammo and if there was no line, they were welcome to stay on the line. One kid in particular stands out - he was on the range at least three different days. I did wonder what he was giving up to be there, but he was passionate about shooting. I bet that kid easily shot 500-600 rounds of .308. That's saying a lot since it was in increments of 10 rounds. I did give some thought to saying "come on kid, hit the road, go see the rest of the Jamboree", but at the end of the day, it was his Jamboree and that's what he wanted to do. We had Scouters from around the world - I had boys (and girls) from Australia, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and a bunch of other countries I can't recall.

 

Dan, thanks for the great feedback. I hadn't heard that the issues at the bmx track were at the same point on the track. That would be a point of concern though. I did have one of the staffers from the A basecamp medical tell me they were seeing more issues from the skateboard park than the bmx track.

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All of our population statistics have been 25% inflated. We are actually talking about an event with 30,000 youth and adult leaders. That'd only be about 26,000 happy meals assuming that they probably wouldn't let you order them for your 19+y.o. venturers.
So Scout attendance by youth participant was 75% of anticipation and still the greatest complaint was with long lines? Makes you wonder what the financials will look like.

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In no particular order, here are some of my thoughts on the Jamboree. I was on staff (high-power rifle range) the entire time and showered most days. I bought a solar shower at the trading post for $25 or so and filled it up and left it in the sun (and rain sometimes) during the day and showered at the end of the day. The first time I used the solar shower the water in the bag was 110 degrees (nifty little thermometer built into the bag) and it was a GREAT shower. I had several days where the water in the bag was 140 degrees. I had to hold the bag under the ambient water shower for a few minutes to cool it. I had great warm showers, great hot water with which to shave, and all and all had no complaints about my shower situation. It would have absolutely sucked to not have that solar shower. There was one day where it was super hot throughout the day and I did a shower sans the solar shower. It was brisk, for sure. I can see this being an issue for future Jamborees.

 

I was in Base Camp Echo and the food was good. Lunches sucked for the most part. I grabbed an apple or two and a banana at breakfast and brought them along for lunch - wish I had thought to grab a bagel or some bread or something. Breakfast and dinner was very good. Dining hall staff were great - good spirits, great job.

 

Staff tents? Not bad at all. So much I'm thinking about buying one or two of those wall tents they have for sale. Would be great for those "drive and camp" campouts we seem to do so much of back home. The cots? Discobeds. Surprisingly comfortable. Shoot, I'm thinking of buying one or two of them as well.

 

We had buses laid on for the shooting sports staff as it was a 90-120 minute walk each way to the range. I was disappointed that the participants had so much walking to do - not because of the physical fitness aspect of it but because of the time involved. I gotta believe this is going to have a huge impact on whether folks return. There was a lot of walking for everybody. I was pleased to see that the trading post sold baby powder. Or better put, my boys were pleased I could buy some baby powder. Pack a big container of it if you attend next time.

 

Speaking of trading posts? The thing I bought the most? Those Thorlo socks. I brought 5 pair down with me. And a bunch of the green BSA socks. I wore my first five pairs on the first five days. I tried the green socks for one day. Ah, no. Funny, as I use them on troop campouts all the time. But I don't walk that much on troop campouts. An estimate, but I figured I did ten miles of walking each day. As an aside, I lost 10 lbs at Jambo. I was too cheap to send my laundry to Granny's Laundry (really, that was the name of the local concession offering laundry service in Echo base camp). I did the old wash 'em in a bucket. I hung everything out to dry and it was a great sunny day the next day. I was feeling pretty smart until it poured down rain that afternoon while I was still at the rifle range. Damn. I ended up just buying a set of socks for each day. I guess it would have been cheaper to pay the $10 to Granny, but it was essentially a two-day turnaround. Anyhow, I bought new socks. I was a little disappointed that the socks in the trading post were a few dollars cheaper than the same thing they were selling online at ScoutingStuff.org - but only because I had bought five pairs beforehand. Ah, don't look a gift horse in the mouth I guess. I bought a jambo chair (even thought I had brought one of those really cool REI camp chairs portable camp chairs they were selling at the Scout store). The portable chair just wasn't comfortable after a long day on the range. I also bought a lightweight rain jacket and a nifty pair of Jambo shorts.

 

I traded my Shooting Sports hat for a freaken' awesome hat from an adult Scouter from North Carolina. Thanks man! You know who you are. I'm groovin' to your hat.

 

The phone charging stations were all solar - in case you wondered why you got a 10th of a charge after 2 or 3 hours on the charging station. Everybody plugged their devices into the outlets in the shower house... ummm... 15 or 20 amps for 20 devices all daisy chained together? Do the math - that didn't work out well either. In Base Camp Echo they had a few real charging stations across from the trading post that had portable batteries with 650 or 850 amp batteries and those did the trick. I don't think that many people even realized they were there.

 

Broken bones? No idea how factual this is, but I heard there were 800 broken bones at the Jamboree - many at the BMX site, with a significant percentage at the same place on the course. I get you'll have broken bones at something like this but do wonder if course design had something to do with it. It would have been nice to have somebody step forward and say "um, yeah, lots of broken bones at this part in the course - we're going to change it or close down this part of the course." Now I got no idea whether that would be a realistic thing to do or not, but as both a parent and a Scouter, I'd like to think there was somebody thinking about this. There were also two fatalities at the Jamboree - both older Scouters. One a few days before the Scouts arrived and one during the second week. My understanding is that they were adults with a history of heart problems. Again, no real specific information on these, all rumor, but fairly certain there were two guys that didn't come home. Sympathies and prayers go out to those two guys and their families. I mention this because I've seen some threads that talked about the BMI and weight and health history and all that. Again, no idea whether these were factors in the two deaths, but I think it safe to assume it likely.

 

We closed the rifle range once or twice when there was nearby lightning. We had one group that had waited in line for an hour or two and had just completed the safety briefing and were put on the line. I was the RSO and had just given the command to "aim and align rifles" (just prior to "load and fire") when we had to call a cease fire. The operations folks told us the kids had to clear the hill and boogie down the hill. No idea where they were supposed to go to seek shelter, perhaps the big tents at the bottom of the hill. The hill, by the way? We all called it cardiac hill because it was a hump to get from the bottom of the hill to the rifle ranges. I could easily see a kid humping to the top of the hill, waiting in line, getting on the range, having the range closed & sent to the bottom of the hill saying "i'm not walking back up there". Unfortunate. Having said that, we sent probably 7500 kids through the high-power range - .223 and .308 rifles. The boys that made the hump early and got there first thing in the morning got to shoot lots. I told the boys that the early bird got the ammo and if there was no line, they were welcome to stay on the line. One kid in particular stands out - he was on the range at least three different days. I did wonder what he was giving up to be there, but he was passionate about shooting. I bet that kid easily shot 500-600 rounds of .308. That's saying a lot since it was in increments of 10 rounds. I did give some thought to saying "come on kid, hit the road, go see the rest of the Jamboree", but at the end of the day, it was his Jamboree and that's what he wanted to do. We had Scouters from around the world - I had boys (and girls) from Australia, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan, Bangladesh, and a bunch of other countries I can't recall.

 

Great reporting!

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