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Experts: Scouts unprepared for Jamboree

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Well, I guess it all goes to say, unless you were there your only an opinion which is worthless. We were there for 4 days. We arrived on Wednesday, and left on Sunday. We were not there for the electricution of the 4 leaders, (thank the Lord). But what we seen in those 4 days was a disgrace for BSA National! We camped at a site some 65 mile away with 24 other troops who came to see the National Jamboree, some as far away as New Mexico, and California. On Saturday night before we all left, we had a huge cracker barrel and the topic was, ("we will never come back".)


Every single Scout Troop there was to be admired for their devotion to the program, they all were there in heart and soul. National BSA however, was there for one reason, and one reason only! PROFIT AT ANY COST! A half liter bottle of water, $3.00. No Exceptions! Unless of course the President is coming and 300 Scouts fall out due to heat exhaustion. Then they called in the press and backed the truck up to show they were throwing bottled water out to the Scouts. YEAH RIGHT!


Our personal experiences were that we brought our Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop down to see the ULTIMATE Scouting experience! Our Cub Master brought his three children, one little girl a year and a half old, his son, 3 years old, and his Cub Scout, 8 years old. We all went to the Northeast Region area because that is where we are from and we had to take several busses to get there. A Red bus, a Yellow Bus and a Green bus. We arrived on Saturday at 8:20 AM. We checked in and stood in line for the first bus. The wait for the first bus was 2/12 hours. We finally arrived at our destination at 2:00 pm that afternoon after several hours of standing in line for busses. We could have walked the 8 miles around the perimmiter of Fort A.P. Hill to get there, but in that heat with infants, it was not an option.


So, we arrive at our detination, Northeast Region at 2:00 pm. Keep in mind, you are not allowed to bring folding chairs in to Jamboree, and there is no place anywhere to sit down. Or bottled water. So, we stay at Northeast Region area for an hour and we all decide that's it, we are leaving. We stand in line for another 2 hours to catch the bus to get back to the parking lot to return to our camp, and guess what?!?! The bus driver will not allow a stroller on the bus! After 6 hours of busses and transfers to get where we are going and the infants just short of heat stroke, NOW the bus will not let us bring a stroller on the bus. WE HAVE TO WALK BACK! Well, on that walk back, the year and a half year old girl suffers heat stroke and the 3 year year old follows suit by passing out and pissing himself. We are in serious need of medical assistance at this point! The next bus that comes by, I stand in the middle of the road and try to flag him down, he did not even slow down and I had to jump to keep from being hit! At this point we all have had just about enough and we walked straight to the MP station and requested help. We got it immediately! The MP's packed us in an air conditioned Suburban, gave the children water and took us to the infirmary.


When the children were stable, they drove us to our vehiches and helped us get through the traffic to the exit. That experience will never be forgotten by me, and more importantly, by our Scouts who were there to see it all. Our units will NEVER again go to another Jamboree! And you can take that to the bank. And before all you never been there's start bashing me for my opinion, just remember, I am a 37 year veteran of Scouting, a Commissioner, and a father of 2 Eagle Scouts. National BSA did not drop the ball, the never had the ball!



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As you can see by my posting in this thread, I am no big fan of how National has handled some aspects of the Jamboree. However I do think that you're way off base with your condemnations.


First off, you should have known better than to take such young children to the Jamboree. I spoke to many people before I decided to go as a visitor. All of those people told me the same things; 1 -the place is very large be prepared to walk: 2 -don't plan on taking the buses, be prepared to walk; and 3 -The weather can be a very variable be prepared with boots, rain gear and water bottles.


I certainly did not pay $3.00 for any bottled water. There was water available EVERYWHERE. All I did was fill my water bottles as I emptied them.


I only took the bus once. I boarded the bus at around 2:30PM. Yes it was crowded, but I did not have to wait very long for it.


As a visitor, I was surprised that the day cost me so little. Souvenirs, available only from the Supply Division, do I need to say more.... The food was a little pricey, but the $4 Hamburger was enormous. Let me put it this way... the food was no more expensive than at Yankee Stadium, probably cheaper.


I arrived at 9am, walked right in and spent the day. My son had plenty of time to participate in the activities that were available to us. We made our way to Sub Camp 3 and spent about 45 minutes before heading back toward the parking lot. All in all we left the grounds at around 5pm and saw only about 50-60% of the site.


Additionally, it appears that you didn't quite follow directions. If you parked in the Visitors parking lot, you should have only needed to take one bus up to Sub Camp 3.


It's been said many times that the Jambo experience cannot be had as a visitor. I apologize for being naive, but what did all those scouts and leaders expect to achieve by camping 65 miles away for 4 days? If they wanted to go to the jamboree, they should have signed up.


(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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My wife and I visited the Jamboree on Wednesday. We have been there in the past also. There is always a lot of walking. You take it easy and stop and rest if necessary.

I have riden the buses many times. The buses are so full that there is no room for strollers. But remember that the buses are really there for those attending, not the visitors!

Wednesday was hot and humid. We did not go every place we might have normally due to this. When we felt the need we sat down and rested. All the while we were drinking lots of water. Not because we were thirsty. If you wait until you are thirsty, it's too late.

We were allowed to take water bottles into the arena and they were handing out more bottles there.

What I noticed was this:

1 - Many visitors were not dressed for the weather and were not prepared to walk. Also, many did not have any type of water container.

2 - Most of those affected by heat related problems had not been drinking water. Even when they were constantly told to drink, many would not. This was both youth and adults.

Were there things that Nationsl could have done differently? Probably, but then that's being a Monday morning quaterback. I did notice that at the Sunday show, many of the suggestions that were given about Wednesday were being used on Sunday.

Don't blame National so much. Those that had problems need to take some personal responsibility. National could only tell people to drink plenty of water. They could not force it in them.

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Participation in jamboree requires a high adventure physical for a reason. It can be a tough environment. The heat index for most of the last 7 days prior to the arena show was in excess of 100 degrees.


Anyone who brought a 3 year old child into that environment should be criminally prosecuted in my opinion.


While there were some problems at jamboree there were also some truly wonderful times. You cannot operate a town of that size and not have some problems. In talking to many of the Jamboree directors personally I feel that that have learned a lot from those problems and have already taken positive steps to correct them in the future.


But let's use our head folks and not bring the elderly or the very young into such a hostile weather environment in or out of a jamboree setting.


BW(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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There's a need for some common sense all around. Given the weather leading up to the event, and the forecast for the event, this should have given people pause to reconsider bringing small children or the elderly to such an event. Those are truly dangersous conditions to be outside for many people, and while the knowledgeable can manage, it is still a hostile environment. That should have sunk into the event leaders as well. I look at the 2 most mentioned tragic events and think the following. The deaths were avoidable, but in an event that size, it's really hard to watch what every person is doing. Some responsibility has to go the leaders that were closest by. Didn't anyone think putting a 20 foot metal pole near some power lines was a bad idea? The 300 hundred Scouts who had heat problems waiting for the President is a bit more problematic. You'd think the event leaders would have shown some judgement and just decided that they couldn't leave the Scouts out in the heat for hours waiting for a few minutes with the President. A thrill for them? Sure, but not worth the risk. It's all 20/20 hindsight at this point. I'm sure they did the best they could under the conditions, and agree with Bob that I hope they've learned something for the next Jambo.


I'm sure, tho, that there are thousands of Scouts who had an entirely great time.(This message has been edited by Prairie_Scouter)

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First, I attended the Jamboree as a contingent Scoutmaster. I also toured DC on Friday-Sunday and walked around extensively outside on those days.


The US Army told the BSA leadership that the opening arena show should not take place the way the BSA planned it on SATURDAY - four days before the event was to take place. The weather forecast was accurate and the heat and humidity were NOT a surprise on Saturday. Reports of not enough water were bogus. Water was available everywhere. Yes, Scouts were told that they would have to empty out their water containers once they reached the arena sight but once there, would receive bottled water. All Scouts/Scouters needed to pass through a magnetometer for security - a major choke point that was the cause for taking up to four hours to "load" everyone into the arena. Scouts were "required" to wear their field uniform (a term never used at AP Hill, much to my chagrin) to the arena show. Around 6:00 PM they were told they could remove their field uniform shirts. About ten minutes later the event was canceled. The reason (publicly) for the cancellation was not the heat but a impending storm (lightning). The head index was 118 deg on Wednesday, 112 on Tues, over 100 on Monday.


Personally, I drank more water than I ever had before. I wore a hat. I wore sun screen (I'm a red head and don't take the sun very well). My legs were bright red - not due to sunburn but due to heat rash. I'm almost 50 years old, sit at a desk most of the day, overweight by about 45 lbs and survived the Jambo fine. I rarely sat in camp but did walk around extensively.


ASM1, I'm sorry to say that I had a big problem with visitors at the Jamboree. I wish in all future Jamborees that the BSA would either charge an admittance fee or not allow visitors. Why for the arena show, with 75,000 in attendance, should the Scouts and their leaders who paid to attend (under 45,000) have to sit in the back? Every Jamboree the BSA states that the participants have priority over visitors but it does not occur. Our boys had to wait hours in line for scuba, exhibits, action centers, etc. due to long lines - many containing visiting Scouts. The BSA needs to correct this problem.


Reveille was at 6:00 AM every morning. The "advertised" time in the Jamboree leaders guide was 7:00 AM. The arena show attendees were not able to get back to their sub-camps until midnight at the earliest, many not until between 1:00 - 2:00 AM. Providing the kids with six (max) to four hours of sleep borders on abuse.


I agree with NWScouter, the Scouts were told what they should do but did they follow? I know the military was aghast at some of our behavior. Adults and kids alike seemed to refuse to walk on the proper side of the road and repeatedly blocked traffic including emergency vehicles. The MPs got in the face of a few Scouts and Scouters and I'm glad they did.


The trash that was dropped on the ground by the Scouts and Scouters was massive. I spent 20% of my time picking up trash everywhere I went. There were plenty of receptacles. Shameful.


The behavior of the Scouts at the closing show was horrible. I was stepped on, had full water bottles hit me, heard constant cursing, talking, etc. The show was not the best (the BSA tried to cram the opening stuff into the closing show and many of the Scouts "revolted") but that was no excuse for their behavior.


However, overall I had a great experience. The military were great hosts. The staff performed well. Our sub-camp commissioners and chaplains were great. I thought the food was superb. The heat was a problem but I was told that it was the warmest stretch since 1935. The events were first class. I surveyed the boys in our troop and all enjoyed their stay.



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"ASM1, I'm sorry to say that I had a big problem with visitors at the Jamboree. I wish in all future Jamborees that the BSA would either charge an admittance fee or not allow visitors. Why for the arena show, with 75,000 in attendance, should the Scouts and their leaders who paid to attend (under 45,000) have to sit in the back? Every Jamboree the BSA states that the participants have priority over visitors but it does not occur. Our boys had to wait hours in line for scuba, exhibits, action centers, etc. due to long lines - many containing visiting Scouts. The BSA needs to correct this problem."


I agree completely. Myself, my husband and my two younger children visited my son on Wednesday. I did not get much of an opportunity to see the activities since the entire visit was spent just walking to his subcamp and back LOL. I think ONLY paid jamboree attendants should be able to participate in the Jamboree activites. When my son returned home last night, I was able to get only fuzzy details since he was so exhausted. He did mention though that there were many things he would have liked to have done but did not get a chance. I attributed most of this to the excessive temperatures and figured things were just at a much slower pace. However, if some these activites did not get accomplished because he was standing in line behind visiting scouts I am upset with that. I am not sure if charging the visitors is the answer...there is already 40,000+ paid scouts accessing these facilities. Visiting scouts can maybe watch and decide if it's somthing they would like to do next time!


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First let me say that I have not read all of the previous posts. Second let me say that I had the honor to participate in what was known throughout the Jamboree as the "death march". I'm no expert and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I was smart enough to know that the arena show mobilization was one of the most stupid events I have ever personally witnessed in my entire life. In my opinion, the only reason it happened was because of all the planning and effort that had gone into it and because the President was coming. Someone, somewhere in an air-conditioned office made the decision to go forward. Then someone, somewhere in an air-conditioned office was forced to cancel it because of the approaching storm. Someone, somewhere needs to be held accountable and raked over the coals. I knew a number of people on the medical staff and commissioner staff at Jamboree and was told that the head medical people repeatedely told officials NOT to hold the arena show and were overruled. I was one of the fortunate ones. I stopped twice on the way to the show and downed several liters of water in a shady place and even "borrowed" the fan in a Medic tent for a few minutes before mushing on and catching up to my troop. We had been seated for about five minutes when the announced that the program was cancelled. To say I was peeved is a major understatement. Livid might better describe my feelings.....even today. Like Bob White said in an earlier post, there was much good about Jambo. This is one of the things that was not. It was foolish. It will take a while before I'll be able to smile or laugh about it. It was a totally preventable disaster.

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