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I know there are a couple of days left in the Jamboree but I figured I would go ahead and start a thread on how things went.

The Good: from everything I am hearing, the programming has been great. Both of my kids are having a great time. They are meeting people from around the world, making friends, trying new foods (that participants brought and at the country tents where they can purchase food). They are trading items and getting a few things. Both have been to events at the Summit before, so they were more focused on meeting people than hitting the activities. But the only complaint I have heard was that lighting cut short the activities at Mount Jack, which was out of anyone’s control and understandable, still frustrating when you consider hiking 14 miles for activities.

Overall I think I would give it an A, maybe even A+ based on current feedback from my youth and others I know.

The Bad:

I will start with what frustrates me most. 

Just short of half way into Jamboree, my son told me he had heard they had already consumed 70% of the food. I thought, surely it was a rumor, and even if it was not, the logistics team had time to recover. Then I saw Facebook post about rationing food. I asked my son about it this morning and he told me they were rationing for last few days. He has been purchasing food, not just for the experience, but out of being hungry. I offered to wire him some additional money since he was spending more on food and cutting back on souvenirs. He declined, he told me a Scout is thrifty and he already feels bad that he wasn’t able to raise enough money to cover the whole trip. 

There is no excuse for not getting the participants fed properly, particularly considering the Jamboree team should have the experience of past national Jamborees as a guide and this event was almost a $1000 more than the NSJ.

However, in hindsight I am not really surprised. There have been poor decisions and bad execution for sometime when it comes to logistics. It has been a mess from day one. 

There have been a  number if issues. The participants patches were supposed to be mailed were not received. The Jamboree store was opened to the public so some items were sold out before many participants were even emailed about the site. We were not told before the store opened that bags were being supplied (they were a separate purchase for NSJ unless Council purchased them), some parents went ahead and purchased them because of concerns they would run out. We had to go to multiple sites to purchase SWAG. Virtually every order was wrong, missing items, even included items not ordered, wrong sizes etc. Orders were canceled without explanation or notice even after card was charged. USA contingent items, including neckers, were available on site for anyone to purchase making the trade value nearly far less (kids had hard time trading neckers because there were for sale). Some USA contingent items were at trading post onsite but never on the internet, so USA kids missed out on getting them. 

Venturing units were setup regionally, not by council, so one of my kids units was shuffled 3 times, making communication with leaders difficult. At one time we were told the original unit was collapsed into another unit and there would be new leaders. It was weeks before we knew who those leaders were. 

Both of my kids received emails from leaders from units they were not assigned to, including my son, who is in our councils troop.

The SWAG issue is frustrating and disappointing,  but the food issue is intolerable. Particularly, since it has had a negative impact on my son enjoying the last few days ( he is SPL and had to spend extra time dealing with getting his troop fed and dealing with unhappy Scouts - something he should not have had to deal with)

I would give logistics a D-, maybe an F.

I am just sad that such a great program has been lessened because of poor logistical planning and food.

I will get more details when they return.

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Well this part was pretty cool!

11 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

Just short of half way into Jamboree, my son told me he had heard they had already consumed 70% of the food. I thought, surely it was a rumor, and even if it was not, the logistics team had time to recover. Then I saw Facebook post about rationing food. I asked my son about it this morning and he told me they were rationing for last few days. He has been purchasing food, not just for the experience, but out of being hungry. I offered to wire him some additional money since he was spending more on food and cutting back on souvenirs. He declined, he told me a Scout is thrifty and he already feels bad that he wasn’t able to raise enough money to cover the whole trip. 

 

 

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Logistics is always a challenge for most Scout events. One would think the largest jambo in history they'd figure it out, but I'm sure they are trying to avoid leftover inventory. Not sure what is on WOSM vs what's on the BSA. 

One if my buddies had a hard time getting swag he ordered and he is on staff. 

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I'm hearing reports that due to an insufficient number of buses, Western Region USA scouts are being bused out early, before or during Closing Ceremony, and will have to spend the night in the airport. This is a pretty stunning level of logistical incompetence.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/31/2019 at 9:56 AM, HelpfulTracks said:

The Jamboree store was opened to the public so some items were sold out before many participants were even emailed about the site. 

This happened to our family too with the 2010 National Jamboree.  All the really cool keepsakes were sold out before the event and before we ever heard about an on-line store.  It really upset me.  It felt like the "in-crowd" knew how things worked and us first-time families were hosed by those waiting to gobble up more than their fair share.  It set a bad tone before the event even started.

Edited by fred8033

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So my son's troop was supposed to be bused out and miss the show but at the last minute they changed the plans and let them preload the buses then board them immediately after the show.  I am happy they were able to come to a solution.

I didn't hear much from my son, so I assume he had an awesome time.  The one complaint I heard that could have been solved IMHO is that they ended up with hamburgers for dinner all the time and the morning they had sausage patty's.  The complaint was really around the fact that they didn't have access to produce at all.  He missed having veggies and fruit.  He likes to eat healthy and didn't appreciate eating only pre-processed food at all times.  It seems that they could have figured out how to get produce to the youth.  I know it is more difficult but I think it is solvable for National Jambo.

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I am wiped out from partying 10 days straight with tens of thousands of the most awesome well-fed youth on the planet.

My bottom line: all of the negatives listed above amounted to net good.

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My son is back home, he had a good time and is looking forward to national jamboree.  It is fun listening to his retelling of the stories.  

On the negatives, all of which can be addressed(mostly with the troop leadership....):

  • no veggies at all (plenty of veggies that travel and stay well.  Carrots/celery/string beans/broccolli.  Healthy habits are taught to the youth and everything came from a box.
  • every dinner, they ended up with hamburgers, other troops from other countries had different food choices.
  • on the hike up Mount Jack with his troop, he was slower and his troop left him,  he got lost and ended up getting directed by an IST to the top of the mountain the hard route.  Had to walk down to his troop.  When he got there, the leader yelled at him....
  • On the way down from the mountain after waiting for "3 hours" from the rain with his troop....  (I am sure it wasn't 3 hours).  The bridge was closed and he got directed around the lake, rather than over it.  Leader again yelled at him when  he was late because he had to walk around, they didn't believe him or his buddy that it was closed.
  • When he went to get food when they were running out of food, the leaders told him it wasn't acceptable and he had to go back for more food.
  • He leader broke his camping chair he brought....  Apparently he sat in it more than my son.  
  • We sent him a replacement chair as a gift and that went missing when they packed up.
  • They had to leave the closing show early and ended up having to sleep on the ground outside the airport because it was closed when they arrived.  missed the show to sleep on the ground.....

Overall, he had an awesome time and said he is looking forward to going to National in two years as long as he has a different troop leader. 

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Would love to see some pundits try to execute an event with this many moving parts if they have never been in charge of a 50,000+ person event, largely driven by a volunteer committee composed of people from widely varying cultures.  It was an incredible event in every way, a true game changer for World Scouting.  Never before had there been a camp infrastructure combined with the activity options available at the beautiful Summit property.  Combine that, with the previous jamborees sharing of culture and in the words of every multiple Jamboree staffer and participant I met, this was the best jamboree of any kind ever seen in Scouting.  I visited every base camp, talked to hundreds if not thousands of Scouts and Scouters and I found no one who was hungry or had major problems that weren’t resolved quickly.  And those small problems paled in comparison to the positives.  We got lucky on weather overall, no major incidents, and it was a spectacular display of Scouting friendship.  These kids had their lives changed= as did many of us adults.  The BSA should be proud of the partnership with Scouts Canada, and Association de Scouts Mexico, they delivered a truly epic show.

 

But, for a few grumpy couch sitters here on Scouter.com, I’m sure the BSA still has totally incompetent leadership, is doomed, made all the wrong decisions, yada, yada, yada.  Thanks for staying home, we had 45,000 people together optimistic about a grand future for the BSA and World Scouting.  

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9 hours ago, Setonfan said:

Would love to see some pundits try to execute an event with this many moving parts if they have never been in charge of a 50,000+ person event, largely driven by a volunteer committee composed of people from widely varying cultures.  It was an incredible event in every way, a true game changer for World Scouting.  Never before had there been a camp infrastructure combined with the activity options available at the beautiful Summit property.  Combine that, with the previous jamborees sharing of culture and in the words of every multiple Jamboree staffer and participant I met, this was the best jamboree of any kind ever seen in Scouting.  I visited every base camp, talked to hundreds if not thousands of Scouts and Scouters and I found no one who was hungry or had major problems that weren’t resolved quickly.  And those small problems paled in comparison to the positives.  We got lucky on weather overall, no major incidents, and it was a spectacular display of Scouting friendship.  These kids had their lives changed= as did many of us adults.  The BSA should be proud of the partnership with Scouts Canada, and Association de Scouts Mexico, they delivered a truly epic show.

 

But, for a few grumpy couch sitters here on Scouter.com, I’m sure the BSA still has totally incompetent leadership, is doomed, made all the wrong decisions, yada, yada, yada.  Thanks for staying home, we had 45,000 people together optimistic about a grand future for the BSA and World Scouting.  

Of course they did everything right and couldn't possibly do anything better.....   After every event we do a Thorns, Roses, and buds.   Even after successful events there are lessons learned that we can try to be better.

I have planned events before for conferences, not 50,000 people but they can still learn and improve.  They knew how many people were coming, they knew how many were travelling and how.  So yes moving that many people is difficult but it could have been handled better.  Troops didn't know when they had to leave until the last day and many of those were to leave before the final show.  They wanted to have my sons troop leave for the airport a 6pm for a 1pm flight the next day.  Then they found out 2 hours before the departure time that they changed it again and they got to see some of the final show.  We all knew when the flight was and when the closing show was.  They knew that too.  Weeks/months ahead of time.

They ran out of food towards the end.  and the food they provided was sub-par.  That is a solvable and plannable problem when you know exactly how many people will be at an event.

Yes they had a good time, everyone says that.   We are being respectful about the event, but you are being disrespectful to those that couldn't go to the event.  Congratulations that you got to go , please remember in your optimism to be respectful as well of those that didn't go and those that are interested in improving future jamboree's.   

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@mashmaster, props to your son for embracing the suck. Our boys saw some other SM's and how they operated, and thanked for giving them a long leash.

But it wasn't automatic. 

Our SM got reamed out by jamboree management staff over scouts who got "lost" on two spear the occasions. Each time the scout knew where he were going, but misplaced his buddy.

After trying to explain that we were being tasked with the impossible.  They emphasized that they would return a stray scout to camp HQ -- not our campsite ... Not even our subcamp. And we would have to come retrieve the scout. As it became clear that he was only going to get more flack, the SM responded with, "Yes sir. Thank you sir."  I wasn't present ... probably a good thing.

He simply came back to camp. Waited until dinner, and told our boys what went on: that we were blindsided by this procedure, and that we would like them to respect the fact that our day (or night) could get derailed if they were found alone walking the roads between subcamps.

I could imagine some other SM going all command-control on their scouts.

 @Setonfan, I am no "grumpy couch-sitter." I have the blisters to prove it.

We participants were the ones quickly solving the problems. We told members of foreign contingents how to work around HQ mismanagement.  I made it quite clear to every duty officer who stopped for a cup of coffee that the real HQ was not in those white tents on the hill above us. It was on the road between our site and the site of the next US contingent. If you had actually visited our section of subcamp C, there is no way you would describe any problem as being "solved quickly." We had some that took two days to clear up.

We bailed the staff out at many turns. And, it was our pleasure to do so. Our boys' enthusiasm for taking care of our neighboring troops when HQ was faltering made the experience.

On behalf of our scouts, you're welcome.

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Somewhere along the way I learned that it takes 10 good experiences to offset one bad experience.  With that said, I am sure this was an amazing event that will long be remembered very positively.  

@Setonfan - I get your point.  It sure does feel like we spend a lot of time hashing out the negative things that happen.  I'm sure if it hadn't been the busing or food, something else would have gone wrong and we'd be analyzing that.  I wasn't there, but from what I can piece together, it sure sounds like a great many things went well.

Specifically, on the points listed so far, I don't give the BSA a pass on any of these:

  • busing scouts out before the final show is inexcusable.  What an awful, awful idea.  
  • lack of food.  This is a basic task that should have easily been covered.  I have to imagine there's a bigger story here.
  • lack of keepsakes to purchase.  I include this one here because this is a shortsighted planning.  Bringing something tangible home is important for people.  This is the third summit jamboree - you'd think they have this down by now.

These all seem like key items that BSA professional staff should have had covered.  I sure hope they are learning from these.

On 8/3/2019 at 9:23 AM, Setonfan said:

Would love to see some pundits try to execute an event with this many moving parts if they have never been in charge of a 50,000+ person event, largely driven by a volunteer committee composed of people from widely varying cultures.  

I wonder if the BSA enlists the help of any professional event companies to organize this.  There are companies out there that are great at large scale logistics and I'm sure could have guided the BSA to the right solutions - even if much of the labor was volunteer.  For example, I think of a place like Disney World.  Sure, the challenges are a little different - but even there, they have to manage the logistics to move thousands of people a day from the airport to the resort.  They need to have enough food to feed many thousands a days.  Merchandising, same thing.  I'm not suggesting that Disney plan the next world Jamboree - but I've got to think planning a Jamboree is a great place for some outside assistance.

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Posted (edited)

I thought the 2017 National Jamboree at Summit which had 30,000? in attendance was training for a World Jamboree (40,000) two years later there.  Summit was designed for 70-80,000.

 

 :confused:

Edited by RememberSchiff

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

Specifically, on the points listed so far, I don't give the BSA a pass on any of these:

  • busing scouts out before the final show is inexcusable.  What an awful, awful idea.  
  • lack of food.  This is a basic task that should have easily been covered.  I have to imagine there's a bigger story here.
  • lack of keepsakes to purchase.  I include this one here because this is a shortsighted planning.  Bringing something tangible home is important for people.  This is the third summit jamboree - you'd think they have this down by now.

These all seem like key items that BSA professional staff should have had covered.  I sure hope they are learning from these.

 

I'm not sure what the BSA was responsible for vs what WOSM was responsible for. 

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Sounds like the airport exit was a complete mess.   There is a FB post that one small group of scouts were still stuck there this morning with only a 18 year old ASM responsible.   

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