The National Scout Jamboree
Scouting’s flagship event is one-of-a-kind. It’s a gathering of approximately 45,000 Scouts, leaders, and staff that showcases everything that is great about the BSA and its members. Over the course of 10 summer days, once every four years, the Boy Scouts of America comes together. The result is the national Scout jamboree.
As for the past xy years, the National Jewish Committee on Scouting will be heavily involved in the Jamboree. This include helping to coordinate a Shomer Shabbat troop (or two or three), conducting services, special programs for Jewish Scouts, and displays to introduce non-Jewish Scouts to Judaism. Whether attending as part of a Shomer Shabbat troop or integrated into a local council's troop, NJCoS will have plenty of activities in which all Jewish Scouts can be involved.
A New Venue: The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve
In 2009, the BSA purchased 10,600 acres of property adjacent to West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River area in order to create the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. The Summit is the new home of achievement, adventure, and innovation in Scouting. With world-class facilities and a focus on outdoor action sports, the Summit will welcome Scouts to a whole new jamboree experience in summer 2013.
Visiting the Mountains
There are incredible side trips that Scouts and families can take on their way to and from the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. A tour of Washington, D.C., is only a few hours’ drive away, and the entire region surrounding the Summit is filled with some of the most beautiful mountains in the country. The Blue Ridge is just to the south, and the Shenandoah Valley is a short drive to the east. That’s not to mention all of the incredibly scenic areas in West Virginia itself.
The excitement of the jamboree isn’t limited to Scouts. The Summit will feature a large visitor area, where day-users can try out some of the activities that the Scouts are dialing in around other parts of the Summit. Also, 2013 will be the first year that Venturers, a branch of the BSA that includes young women, will be part of the jamboree. Whitewater rafting and kayaking, rock climbing and bouldering, and mountain biking are just a few of the activities offered at the Summit. There’s also skateboarding, BMX, shooting sports, and zip-line challenge courses. And that’s just the beginning.
The first Boy Scouts of America national jamboree was scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., in 1935 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scouting in America. Unfortunately, the jamboree was canceled because of a polio outbreak in Washington. When the first jamboree was finally held in 1937, Dan Beard lit the opening campfire using flint and steel. Scouts from all 48 states brought the wood that was used in the campfire. There were some 27,232 Scouts camped on the National Mall under the Washington Monument. Since that time, 16 national jamborees have been held, the last in 2010.