Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Boy Scouts of America Centennial Jamboree Now History by Joshua Moore

On Aug. 4, the Boy Scouts of America closed their 100th Anniversary Jamboree held in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, after 10 days of scouting activities involving some 45,000 Boy Scouts from every state and possession of the U.S. and 29 countries from all over the world. There were also thousands of scout leaders, invited guests, families and visitors attending. On the first day, July 26, in a matter of hours, these scouts assembled a myriad of tents, lean-tos and prefab flats erecting a city for over 50,000 people. It was awesome.

I had some anxiety prior to our departure from N.Y., but now I am thrilled that I took part --an exciting, fun, adventurous, friendly and daring 10 days.

Our New York contingent toured Washington, D.C. for 2 days before the Jamboree opening: we viewed the major buildings and monuments, the Air & Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Art Gallery, etc. Over 10,000 scouts and supporters marched through our capital to celebrate 100 years of scouting -- vintage cars and trucks, hot air balloons, bands, floats and the works. Afterward a bunch of us got caught in a squall and ended up soaked to the bone.

A highlight of the Jamboree was the Mysterium Compass, a scouts-only hands-on exhibit presented by the Order of the Arrow, a national fraternity within the Boy Scouts of America that focuses on the philosophy, basic activities and core values of scouting.

A 44 cent commemorative scouting stamp was unveiled on July 27: it was a very hot item to obtain, as the lines for those stamps and first day covers were extremely long. They are now available across the country.

Another memorable aspect was the involvement of our armed forces. They had very interesting displays and activities. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, was a keynote speaker.

The Saturday night arena show,"A Shining Light," which included 70,000 spectators, was truly inspiring. There was disappointment that the president did not appear; however, the paratroopers, the speakers and the music were all great.

I celebrated my 14th birthday at the campsite on Thursday -- I got a few surprise presents and umpteen flurries of birthday punches. (Ouch!) I participated in a successful effort to set a new Guinness World Record for most CPR certifications in one day -- more than 4,500 -- but more importantly for me, I am now a certified first responder in an emergency.

Earning merit badges is a central aspect of scouting, and for which patches are awarded. Attractive patches are also used to signify troop identification, areas, and special events, such as this 2010 national jamboree. Trading patches with scouts from other states and countries becomes a major pursuit of jamboree life, and can be quite addictive. Some scouts spent several days doing it.

The 5K fun was a major event of the jamboree. I and most of our troop participated, at 6 A.M., to avoid the heat of the day -- every day was hot and humid -- but I felt upbeat and strong during the run. It was the longest distance I had ever run, so I am glad that I finished.

The final morning was quite wet; however, with the cooperation of tired but determined scouts and leaders, we dismantled the jamboree city, packed the truck, and set off for New York City in short order. The next Jamboree is scheduled for summer, 2013, at the B.S.A. brand new, almost 10,000 acre camp grounds at New Gorge River, West Virginia. I hope that you will visit... and I hope that I will be there, too.

Joshua Moore, hometown correspondent, is a 13 year old Boy Scout from Troop 96, Cypress Hills. He is a Life Scout as well as a member of the Order of the Arrow, an elite fraternity within the Boy Scouts, who not only further scouting, but also engage in public service projects. Joshua was one of the youngest scouts selected to represent N.Y.C. at the National Centennial Boy Scout Jamboree.

Photo credits: Kent Woo, Assistant Scoutmaster, Jamboree Troop 340