Boy Scout Jamboree 101

Overview of the Boy Scout Jamboree

The National Scout Jamboree is a huge gathering of the Boy Scouts of America from across the country held every four years over a 10-day time period in the summer, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to build friendships and strengthen brotherhood among Scouts. The word jamboree means “a large celebration or party, typically a boisterous one,” so it’s a perfect fit to describe this gathering of Boy Scouts!

·         History of the Jamboree

  • Changes to the Jamboree
  • Activities at the Jamboree
  • Preparation Guide for the Jamboree
  • History of the Boy Scout Jamboree

At the first BSA Jamboree in 1937, Scouts from every state brought wood that was used in the opening campfire, which was lit with flint and steel. Nearly 30,000 Scouts were camped under the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. for 10 summer days and over 600 reporters covered the event. Aside from the typical Scouting-related Jamboree activities, Scouts were able to attend a three-game series between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Senators. Since 1950, the Jamboree has been held approximately every four years, and 15 Jamborees have been held.

Changes to the National Jamboree

Today the National Jamboree enables Scouts from across the country to gather together and develop skills, build friendships, trade patches, and embark on high adventures. The Boy Scouts of America bought over 10,000 acres in West Virginia in 2009 as a permanent home for the Jamboree, which had previously been held in Fort A.P. Hill near Washington D.C. The site was chosen from over 80 sites across the country and was purchased using a $50 million donation, the largest in history of the Boy Scouts of America. In honor of the donor, the site was named “Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve,” which is commonly referred to as “the Summit.”

What Do Scouts Do at the National Scout Jamboree?

In 2013, Scouts at the Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit could enjoy over 36 miles of different biking trails, more than 10 acres of shooting sports, and over five miles worth of zip line courses. Other sports activities included skateboarding, rock climbing, and kayaking, and Scout training courses and patch trading booths were also offered. Scouts also engaged in community service projects, completing over 300,000 hours in more than 300 service projects like painting, planting, and pouring concrete.

Getting Yourself Prepared for the Jamboree

Preparing for the National Jamboree takes serious planning and usually some fundraising. Don’t worry though, you’ve got some time: the next National Scout Jamboree takes place in 2017. Because the Jamboree is a national event with one location (West Virginia), travel is likely to be the biggest of your expenses. Other expenses include registration, food, equipment, and any tour activities. One of the best ways to make sure your Scouts have the funds to attend the next Jamboree is to start saving money by fundraising early. If your Scout or Scout unit has all of the funds to attend the Jamboree then a large part of your preparation is done.

Can’t wait to get to the next Jamboree? Take a look at our Jamboree memorabilia and trading items in our Jamboree store!