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Philmont & National Jambo Vs Troop Program

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I've never attended a National Jamboree or Philmont. Doing council events like Woodbadge and Scout Camp and district events like camporees and Roundtables sums up my Scouting program experience outside of the unit.


My theory is I haven't missed that much. I value council and district events as examples of what the unit level Scouting experience ought to be --- well planned, brimming with experiences that teach participants Scouting skills and values.


My theory is that boys ought to be able to learn most of what is valuable about Scouting from a good troop experince. That said, district and council experiences add a good deal to the program any troop I've worked with could do by themselves. That suggests that Philmont and Jambo ought to be able to contribute to a good Scouting experience as well.


So I invite comments: just what do Scouts and Scouters gain from paticipation in events such as Jamboree or Philmont? How important are the experiences there compared with those that can be obtained from a good program at the local unit, district and council levels?




Seattle Pioneer

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I have attended 3 National Jamborees and been to Philmont 4 times. My son went to 1 National Jamboree and has been to Philmont 2 times as a youth and twice on Staff. I think the biggest benefit is the appreciation a Scout develops for the scope of Scouting. You can tell the boys that Scouting is an international movement, but Scouting alongside 40,000 fellow Scouts from 50 states and dozens of foreign countries is an experience that cannot be duplicated at a district camporee.

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Baden said it very well. Those programs are certainly not necessary to a good scouting experience, but they broaden the horizens of adults and boys alike. You also get to meet some really wonderful people that you wouldn't have at home. As a Scoutmaster I never pushed kids to attend either, but made sure they were aware of the opportunities. I attended one Jambo as an adult, one Philmont trek and two years on staff at Philmont. Wouldn't trade any of them.

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Aren't theories based on information? It seems so odd that you would develop the theory THEN ask for infomation.


There are many things that both Jamboree and Philmont add that cannot be gotten at the local level...


Scope: It is hard to picture just how big the scouting movement is until you experience activities such as these.


World Fellowship; Thes activities allw scouts from the BSA to meet and make friends with scouts from other countries face to face. A cultural exchange of scouting on this level is not possible locally for most scouts.


Memories; These events are exciting, challenging, fun, educational and often once in a lifetime for many scouts.


And of course there is the exposure to what scouting is capable of being, and sadly too often isn't" at the local level.


Then there is the beauty. For thousands of scouts Philmont is there first journey through the western mountain ranges. If you have never seen Philmont it is difficyalt to explian what a gorgeous place it is. You cannot turn a corner and not see something that will awe you.


Having never scouted beyond the unit it might be easy to form a theory that there is probably nothing beyond where you have been of any value. Like Aesop's fox whose theory was the grapes must be sour since he cannot reach them to get a taste.


Fortunate are those scouts and scouters willing to explore, excited but what lies beyond their own back yard, willing to step into new adventures, BEFORE deciding that there is probably nothing more out there for them.



(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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To me, whether a unit leverages Philmont depends a bit on where it lives. A Washington State based Troop can climb Mount Rainier one year, do the Snake River a second year, and hike the Pacific Crest Trail a third year. Frankly, when gas costs $3 a gallon, use the high adventure at your doorsteps.


My youth was in the old San Fernando Valley Council, now the Western Los Angeles Council. We had hands-on access to Death Valley, canoeing the lower Colorado River, hiking the John Muir Trail, and hiking from our own Council HA trail; the Silver Knapsack.


Now, I'm here in flyover country. Much as I love the H Roe Bartle and Theodore Naish Scout Reservations, they're fundamentally FLAT. Want mountains: Head to the Rockies!


BW has it right on the extended fellowship of Jamboree or NOAC. Think about all the times we want our youth to experience cultural diversity. Scouting has it right available.


My thoughts. Others will differ. That's ok.

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I have found the boys tend to get a little jaded after about the tird year at Summer Camp and need a boost - a new challenge. This is what the national programs (High Adventure and Jamboree) can add to your local program. It tends to keep boys in Scouting longer.


Bob White is right on the money about the beauty and memories you pick up along the way. Sitting in the bowl at AP Hill with 50,000+ Scouts and scouters with lit candles reciting the Scout Oath with "God Bless the USA" in the background brought me to tears. It's something I will never forget.

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I 100% agree that the Troop is where the action should be. All the important stuff happens in the Troop. The PLC and the SM in my book rule.

I'm sure that Summer Camp programs come in all shapes and sizes.

I love our Summer Camp site. Over the years we have invested mucho dinar do try each year to recruit and employ the best staff that we can. However it really saddens me when I hear Troops say that we are not offering anything for the older Scouts.

Sure after 3 or 4 years, Scouts have earned most of the Merit Badges offered at camp. But surely Summer Camp has to be more than just Merit Badges?

With a little planning and for a few extra dollars Troops could really be out and about enjoying all the other activities that the area has to offer. We have great hiking trails, canoeing, mountain biking, even white water rafting on our door step. But it seems that the Great Merit Badge Hunt over-rides everything.

I like Jamborees and Philmont.

I agree with everything that Bob White has said.

When I talk to Scouts about the Jamboree, I tell them it's like Disney Land for Boy Scouts. Sure there are really neat and interesting places to go and things to do at home, but the Jamboree and the programs offered are hard to get at home.

When I talk about Philmont, I tell them it's like Boy Scout Heaven. New Mexico is so different from Southwestern Pennsylvania. Experiencing the largest youth camp in the world is something that I know I would have hated to have missed.

Sure a Scout doesn't need to go to Philmont or a Jamboree, but those that do come back in awe of how great Scouting and the BSA really is.



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Unfortunately not every scout will have the opportunities to attend Philmont or a National Jamboree ,let alone a World Jamboree; but these experiences are there ,along with other High Adventure Bases and activities. How about serving on staff at scout camp oversea, or traveling to a foreign country. The local scouting experience is just as important; as the basic program of the patrol, starts at unit level. To be able to expand the program, to be able to offer new experiences, memories and activities away from the unit to be able to reach out to other units at district and council levels, then to be able to reach farther out to other councils and regions; and even farther to other scouting organizations, the cultural exchange, the friends,memories,challenging,fun, educational are unbelievable.

For a scout whom only wildlife he see is a squirrel or rabbit, seeing a grizzly or a moose has something to say, just as seeing the ocean for the first time, how can you explain.

It is true that you can see more with your eyes open in your own back yard than traveling around the world with them closes, but wow if they where open!

Yes the skills start at home, but why stop there



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Just my 2 cents worth:


I think that Baden said it best, and many others have added to it.


National events and Philmont definately add to the scope. They do not replace district or council events, they add to them.


Both of my sons have loved and participated in our district and council events. Those events have added to their scouting experience and "scope".


I confess that probably my "military brat" up bringing causes me to encourage such participation. It is the over-view and scope.


A few years ago, while serving as DC, I was invited to a pack's B&G. My sons accompanied me. It was a very pleasant B&G. But it was interesting to realize (one of my sons pointed this out) that for most of the families, their scouting world ended at the pack. There was no awareness of the existence of a district, let alone the existence of the council. That's ok. When my oldest was still in cubs, our understanding of district was limited to a two-district Scout-a-Rama and a wonderfully dedicated DE.


Both of my sons are out going individuals and have thrived with their expanded experiences in scouting.


Our ex-SM's oldest chose to follow his summer camp director out of state to a beautiful, rugged BSA summer camp. It's not Jamboree or Philmont, but it has definately added to his "scope" in scouting (and life).


I think that it is wonderful that scouting has many layers to it, and that all are helpful, beneficial and often enlightening.

And, most importantly, the foundation at pack or troop level is just as beneficial.


"Just a mom's" view point of view.

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A contingent troop is just as much as a troop as your COs troop. Not all troops are run the same way. Getting a different perspective sometimes helps.


I believe when I went to Philmont I was told that just like your council probably has a local Scout camp, Philmont also is a "local" Scout camp for those in the northern New Mexico area. Regardless, one may experience Philmont with one's own troop or with a contingent troop/patrol.


From my judgement, you've missed much! The National Jamboree is hard to explain. The plain size of the event is a sight to behold. I'll admit, I was somewhat disappointed in the behavior of many of the Scouts (trash, attitude, behavior -but maybe my expectations were too high) but I had a great time and so did the boys in the troop. The experience of Washington DC, military base, huge crowds, special events, etc. all added to the experience for the boys.


When I attended Philmont Training Center I brought along my family (wife, two boys and daughter). The program they ran for them was a once in a lifetime experience. They made friends that they still stay in contact with (curse those phone bills!) and will cherish those childhood memories forever. If given a choice between Philmont and Jambo - in my book, Philmont wins hands down.


You mentioned that you attended Wood Badge and Roundtable. My Wood Badge patrol (Go Bears!) consisted of folks from another district plus myself. Traditionally, their district hold a Wood Badge "beading" ceremony at their monthly Roundtable. Ours does not. When I attended the ceremony for one of my patrol mates I noticed that just by going to another district, their Roundtables were very different that the way our were conducted. Not really better or worse, just different. Another persepctive was great.


Think of it this way. If the only city you ever experienced was Seattle, would there be any benefit from visiting another city?(This message has been edited by acco40)

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I am going to answer your question about what we get from Philmont and Jambo with a question.


If I told you how to have a troop have 27 Eagle Scouts in it's first 7 years of existence, would you like to copy the program? Or how about having 10 under 21 year old ASMs, would you like that? Would you like to have the boys that graduate out (at age 18 of course) that are away at school drop in on your troop meetings when they are in town? Maybe you'd like to have those young men that make Eagle before they turn 18 to work on palms and serve as Leaders of YOUR troop? Do I have your attention yet?


Our older boy program is a rotation of High Adventure activities. We go to Philmont, Northern Tier, Sea Base, and Jambo. We just include it on our calendars. You qualify by holding a position of leadership during the previous year, passing the same Scout Spirit requirements you had for rank advancement, and get the next rank (even if your're an Eagle, you can get a palm). Our boys love it, they work with the younger ones, and so far, we've only had one young man that made Eagle, and then disappeared. I think we've stubbled onto something that helps the boys as was previously mentioned (by lots of people, and done very well), and also it helps the troop.


Just my two cents worth, I'm sure others will have other things to say, it just works for us.

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This year I had the opportunity to attend the 2005 National Scout Jamboree as a member of the Action Center D Rapelling Tower youth staff. Some of the stuff I learned there is stuff I will never forget. Friendships were made; rewarding experiences had. Trust was an absolute must on our tower and I definitely felt its presence. Also, our participants (450+ average daily) had to trust each instructor on the tower. Apparently they did:)


I havent been home for more than a month and I'm already ready to head back. 5 years and waiting...

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I think the fact that Action Center D used ropes on the tower, helped people trust the staff there a little more.

A good number of the people working on the tower come from the same Council as myself. They are a great group of guys. I had several of them join us in the Duck Dance!!


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