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My Jamboree Stories

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I've applied for the Stamp Collecting merit badge staff for 2010 and have been verbally approved by the coordinator. Apparently there aren't a lot of qualified philatelists chomping at the bit to go. Just waiting for all the processing and to get that letter.


Under the heading of "the good old days" I was thinking of how I got to the 1969 Jamboree. About a week before the jambo, I was having lunch with a DE friend and we had to drop another staff member at the airport. He was going to Idaho to help set up the jambo. I mentioned to my friend that I really wished I had applied and he replied that they were a leader short due to a last minute change in troop arrangements.


We went to the scout office, got verbal okay from the SE and I went back to my office, talked to my commander about getting permissive TDY. He said okay, so I started getting my gear together and figuring out what I was supposed to do. Somehow, everything worked out and the first time I met my fellow leaders and Scouts was at the airport about 5 days later.


Also, in 1977, I was at loose ends for the summer, so about March I applied for the jamboree staff. Got accepted in short order and bought all the paraphernalia. Then the USAF decided to accept a long-delayed application for intel school that summer. So, I had to write another letter and cancel my jambo appointment. Intel school proved to be much better for my career and the jambo was pretty rainy, so I lucked out on that one, too.


Funny how much simpler things were in those days. The size of the jamborees and staffs haven't changed much in all that time, but the procedures are sure different. :)

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Well, keeping with stories along those lines.


My first time going to the Jamboree was as a youth in 1981. While my troop knew about the Jamboree, no one really pushed it or promoted it (ie talked it up to the kids, encouraged kids to go, that sort of thing). So I didn't really pursue it like I should have, but got on the waiting list.


2 weeks out, I was told I was going. We had to scramble to get my stuff, including 2 new 'oscar de la rente' uniforms, including shorts (up till then I never wore scout shorts of any kind) and a red poplin jacket. Had to put up with some silly stuff (patrol kept changing its name, and settled on rattlesnake). Overall, a lot of fun. First exposure to the concept of 'class a/class b' uniform. This would lead me to going to Philmont the next year (part of a council contigent, the first in many years in my council).


College prevented me going to the 1985 jamboree.


For the 1989 one, I put in for a position of one of the contingent leaders (was an active ASM at the time, and had just taken WB). I thought I had a good chance, but was turned out. Was a little upset/annoyed when I heard a big reason was the PTB thought I was 'too young'. I felt that was an asset, as did many of my scouting friends. I instead went on staff (Trading Post). Fun time, tho the job sucked. :) I attended the unofficial WB gathering (was a little annoyed that it was unofficial. I had just gotten my beads before Jambo, and was looking forward to it, having heard of it at previous jamborees.) Green Bar Bill was there, and beaded a couple of people, including one from my council!


Went back in 93. I wanted to be part of the OA Indian Village, as doing stuff in the area of southeastern native american culture has been a big interest of mine for years, and there aren't that many who do it in scouting. But got turned down and instead went as part of the Buckskin Games group. (again, there was an unofficial WB gathering. It was sad that GBB had passed away the previous year. AFAIK, they've never had another such gathering at Jambo).


Tried to go in 97. Tried and failed again for OA indian village. Got picked for Trading Post, but had to turn it down when my boss wouldn't give me the time off. Jerk.


Went back in 01, this time finally on OA Indian Village staff. Very exhausing. But lot of fun.


Went back again in 05. For various reasons, did not do OA Indian Village staff. Didn't even bother to apply for a position with them. In retrospect, in light of the weather conditions and such, it was probably a good idea I hadn't. This time I was part of the APO Info Booth staff. Lot of fun, despite some of the problems we had that year. IMO, 05 was less well run as compared to the previous Jamborees at APHill.


I plan on going back in '10. I've been told verbally I have a position on the APO Info Booth staff again (tho I wanted to be in charge this time. seems people forgot I commited to do that when no one else was interested. :\ ).


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  • 2 weeks later...

"IMO, 05 was less well run as compared to the previous Jamborees at APHill. "


Well thank God, my experience was a participant in 1977, and yes it did rain almost the entire time, but I will never forget my Jambo, and in 05 as a member of the Arts and Sciences Expo staff. As a youth participant you don't see the mechanics behind the event, but in 05 we got a real taste of BSA bureaucracy in action.


I'm attending 2010 as a contingent Scoutmaster. I'm very excited. I hope the powers that be will step up to the plate and make this the most incredible experience for the kids.





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Rain. Yeah, every Jamboree I've been at I'd had rain. It seems every Jamboree at AP Hill I've done its rained really hard a couple of days.


1981. I do recall some hard rains a couple of days. Made it a little miserable, but we survived.


1989. Again, some hard rains. I was in the GP tents at Trading Post C (near Longstreet). As we were on a slope, the rain came down the slop thru our tents. My tent was fairly ok, as we had gravel on the ground, and the water passed between the gravel. Other tents had it much worse. The brought in mulch to help. We also took advantage of the extra unused cots to put our stuff on to keep them out of the rain.


1993. Again, hard rains. This time I was in the GP tents at Longstreet. The rain flooded my tent (and some others). Our stuff was fine, as we had used unused cots to put our stuff on. The staff in the nearby barracks invited us in, and most of us moved our cots in for a couple of nights until things dried out.


2001. Again, hard rains. But as I was now in the barracks at Longstreet, I didn't care. I took advantage of the rain shutting down my work area to go see more of the Jamboree, and only came back when most places got shutdown. Then we just chilled in the barracks.


2005. I was actually looking forward to rain to cool things off. Again, I was in the barracks at Longstreet, so didn't worry about flooding, etc. But while we finally got some rain, it really didn't seem to help, as in past years.


2010, I expect to again be in the barracks at Longstreet.

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I was also in the barracks at Longstreet in 05. I cant tell you by compass which one, but suffice to say by the time the Jambo was done I considered it the best accommodations any staffers had by far.


Hot water in the showers, washer and drier (although lots of people using them all the time) and electricity for our personal fans...ahh luxury.



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Rain. I was 17 that summer. My ASM looked into the sky in our first hour on the ground at Asagiri Heights in 1971 and said, "It's gonna rain....that's all there is to it." A few days later Typhoon Olive came through and we were evacuated and spread out over shelters around Japan. So many stories...French, Mexican, US scouts held an impromptu indoor 'campfire' at our small shelter and performed skits for each other without many words, just a laugh and a handshake. The camp was flattened upon returning but we put it back together and carried on. I never smell anything moldy without being taken immediately back to the 13th World Jamboree with Mt Fuji looming over us......

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I was a youth at the 1981 Jamboree. Two things stand out:

#1) My parents receiving a letter from the National Office of the BSA after the Jamboree disclosing the incident of the leaking drum of dioxin that was stored immediately adjacent to the merit badge midway. I still have my button claiming "I Survived A.P. Hill's Spill"


#2) I served as the SPL and on the bus ride to Jamboree, my ASPL declared that he was going to take over as SPL. At our next stop, I dismissed the troop, including the adults, except for the ASPL and his cohort. Once everyone was off the bus, I carefully and pointedly explained that I was the SPL and he could remain ASPL and attend the Jamboree or he could go home. I didn't have any problems with him after that.

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