Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Final Journey Entry

Randy Fair, Rob Schick, John Bowman and I wish to express our appreciation of the trust you placed in us in leading your sons on Scouting's greatest adventure, a National Jamboree.

No matter what Jamboree troop your son is placed he is an elite participant at the Olympics of Scouting - a Jamboree. They are the Last Frontier Council's "Dream Team." A Jamboree is more than a 10 day campout, more than a Summer Camp. It's the ultimate Scouting experience. I pretty sure their experiences will be remembered with fondness years from now.

There is a dynamic sense of energy at a Jamboree. There is optimism, spontaneity, cheerfulness, and teamwork that spontaneously combusts into a flame we call "Scout Spirit." You'll see this on the videos, from the Scouts holding up an improvised sign alongside the road saying "Free High Fives" to the ad lib dancing well after the arena show was over. It's a phenonema that's concentrated at a Jamboree and something your sons can share with their home troop. A Jamboree Troop offers experiences of how an ideal troop could operate.

We had fun and excitement and we witnessed loss and grief. On both of ends of this spectrum of experience, I think Scouting has helped build fitness, citizenship and character as your sons grow into honorable manhood. It is my hope they will come back with a more mature outlook - a wider perspective on the brotherhood of not just Scouting but as a citizen of the world and stay better equipped with the tools to "Be Prepared".


AA 1627 successfully departed at 5:17xt pm on schedule. ETA at Will Rogers is 6:14 PM.


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AA 1277 landed @ DFW @ 4:00 pm


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Successfully boarded AA 1277 @ Baltimore BWI. Delayed departure now 2:15 to DFW. Hopefully should not affect our DFW - OKC flight


Signing the Jamboree Troop Flag

Its a Jamboree tradition to sign the troop flag and a few leader neckerchiefs. Here they are at BWI waiting for our flight.


We are Rollin'

We just completed our head count (36 - I didn't lose anyone) are we are in route to Baltimore Intl' Airport at 8:05 am EDT.

Final Jamboree Odometer: 58.5 miles walking

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Breaking Down Camp


Care Package from Home

A picture drawn by my 3 year old daughter, Shelby.


Venturing Mine Control Room

As a follow-up to the Venturing Rain Forest at the last Jamboree this time the Venturing exhibit is a simulation of an underground mine.

A dozen infra-red cameras monitor all activty in the mine from this control room. Adult Advisors watch youth and supervise staff remotely.

Sound effects start from the outside and simulate the atmosphere of a Western mine of the late 1800's.
The special effects extend inside throughout the mine. The entire attraction is air-conditioned which simulates the cool atmosphere of a mine and made for the most comfortable place to work prior and during the Jamboree.

Venturer youth staff age requirements were the same as the Venturing Program requirements - age 14 through 20.

Venturer staff reported 5 days before the Jamboree and built all of this in time. They will need to take it down for storage in just a few hours. Fortunately the military has allowed the building to stand until the next Jamboree in 2010.

They have plans to expand and build an old west town with more activities and displays. The Sea Scouting exhibit next door will be incorporated as well as the new Quest program in the next display which are currenty separate displays.


Venturing Mine

Patrol size groups are taken inside for a trip through the Venturing Mine. The begin with a briefing and hardhat sizing.

They next go into room which simulates an elevater ride with a spring loaded floor. Upon exiting they go down a slide and learn about a cave environment via sound-isolating stereo headphones. Each Scout listens to a narrated audio program of cave sounds, cave wildlife, water drips etc. in a completey darkened room. Next comes an indoor air rifle range.

After plinking a few varmits, they move on but an earthquake begins thanks to a shaking floor surface.

The only way out is a small 4' x 4' escape tunnel which has a rope driven trolley for about 20' in darkness. The tunnel segment is similar to the scene in "The Great Escape" with Steve McQueen.

Once out of the tunnel, They discovered an injured Venturer miner. A cave collapse has him/her trapped with a broken leg. The patrol must survey the scene, assess the patient and treat his/her injuries.

Once rescued, the patrol must navigate a completely darkened cave. About halfway the group triggers a sensor and a railroad locomotive light and sound begins at the end of the tunnel to give a scare before they exit.

Monday, August 01, 2005


K2BSA Station Contact

Logan H. talks to his dad and fellow Scouts back at his home troop (Troop 850 WB5BSA) in Guthrie, OK via the Jamboree amateur radio station.


Checking the Odometer

I've carried a GPS all this trip saving daily track logs and resetting the odometer (@ bottom) on the first official day of the Jamboree after our tour. Not included are two 5-mile round trips to the arena show and back because the GPS was at risk of being confiscated on the security check. Including this distance puts the odometer over 50 miles. The odometer is not counting bus mileage either.

This event won't qualify for the 50-miler award because a Jamboree isn't a trail-based wilderness experience taking gear along and no one had time to complete a 10 hour conservation service project.

Its still a lot of walking.


President Bush

The keynote speaker.


The Hike to the Arena Show

We started an hour later than the first show but arrived at the same time in the evening - probably due to better crowd control. No hot weather issues and lots of Scout Spirit.


Candlelight Ceremony

At the end of the show, a candlelight ceremony rededicating one self to the values of Scouting occurred. Attendance broke a Jamboree Arena record at 75,000.

The show ended at 11:30 with a jamboree fireworks show that was probably the biggest these guys have ever seen. Our section was held until midnight before walking 2.5 miles and arriving tired and hungry at 1:00.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Off to the closing arena show. Cell phones aren't allowed again so I'll be out of touch up to perhaps 11:00 pm EDT. The weather is in the low 80's compared to 97 last time.



For those that know me in my home troop, What's the best thing to have near your campsite at the NSJ? A Pepsi machine that has Code Red Mountian Dew within a few paces of your campsite (background upper right).


Wash Day

Ken A. and Landon J. do some very necessary washing. Our washing machine is a 5 gallon bucket with a plumber's helper which you pump up and down like a butter churn.

I wish I brought some biohazard labels. That bucket probably needs one now ;-).

The scouts do have access to showers and they take advantage of them as a quick way to cool off (no hot water) and freshen up.

We are telling them to wash and keep one fresh uniform unworn until Wednesday when we fly back.


Troop 1721 Champions

Brandon B. won an Exceptional blue Ribbon for one of his two science project entries. See Sunday's "Jamboree Today" online at the Jamboree website ( - he made the news!

Our washer toss team of Chris H. and Anthony B. won the Southern Region Championship but like good sportsman agreed to 2 out of 3 and lost both the next games. The winning team came by camp and congratulated Anthony and Chris on their sportsmanship. The Scout Spirit is infectious all around.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


A Scout is Clean - Version 2

Handwashing is important to disease prevention. This is a portable wash station to help prevent gastrointestinal illness - something I prefer to call "The Jamboree Green Apple Rapid Step."

No I don't think that was Napolean Dynamite.


12 Cubed - Part 2

Twelve Cubed stands for putting the 12 points of the Scout Law and the 3 Duties from the Scout Oath into your daily life.

This production is equivalent to a Vegas style show in terms of the theatric performance while teaching the moral message of making the right choices in today's teenage environment. "Cirque du Soleil" style costuming of OA performers gave a chic, modern edge to the presentation.

Dalton M., Anthony B. and Daniel S. had audience cameos during the show.


12 Cubed

This event requires a ticket given to each Scout upon troop check-in. It's a joint production of the Order of the Arrow and the National Eagle Scout Association.

A large air-conditioned tent has a remarkable modern-theater on the inside.


Military Dress Code Relaxed

Specialist Slay, an MP for the US Army and an Eagle Scout helps out at Fingerprinting Merit Badge on Merit Badge Midway. Soldiers are allowed to wear Scouting insignia for the Jamboree.


And on the Sixth Day

An innovative Venturer figures out how she can work with Scouts.


Richard Clement wears his uniform from the 1960's near Merit Badge Midway. It's still an official BSA uniform and OK to wear.


Saturday Weather Update

No Jamboree adventure is complete without the complimentary rain.

Fort A. P. Hill is just south of the Rappahannock River.

"Rappahannock" is derived from the Native American word "Rappa" meaning "mud" and "hannock" meaning "more mud". ;-)

Friday, July 29, 2005


US Map of Council Strips

At the Army Adventure Area the National Guard set up a map to pin your council strip. It's like the pushpin bead idea done frequently at other locations but more innovative. It has a mosaic type appearance.

After the Jamboree this map will be auctioned and the proceeds going to the families of the scouters killed in the electrocution accident.


Merit Badge Midway

Rows and rows of tents with alleys and aisle markers labelling the merit badges on this aisle.

Normally a low volume booth at prior jamborees Traffic Safety Merit Badge was the number one merit badge earned this time. I think the difference was the presence of a high tech electronic sign out front. Whoever thought this idea up must have had either marketing or signmaking experience.


The Next Beanie Baby?

The marketing folks at Turbo Spoke outfitted some of the BMX bikes with this new toy hoping your son will ask for one this Christmas. Gee, I just used a baseball card and a clothespin.


A New Merit Badge

If your home troop has a few fiberglass canoes that need repairing like ours does, I see an opportunity here.


National Exhibits Area

This reminds me of the joke. "People love a crowd, the bigger the crowd, the more people that show up for it.


Troop 1?

I've noticed several troops claiming to be the first Scout Troop in the USA.


An "At-A-Boy!" goes to KOCO Channel 5

All heads in Subcamp 17 turned towards our campsite to hear the roar and cheers erupt as I announced that Channel 5 in Oklahoma City mentioned Jamboree Troop 1721 and showed our picture on the news last night


Scout Socks - The Good and the Bad

Blisters are the number one item treated at the Jamboree. I believe I have found one cause - regular issue Scout socks (above). The premium issue (below) are made by Thorlo and don't rub at all.

I started using Smartwool years ago and never a blister using them. They feel cool in the summer by wicking and warm in the winter even if wet. I'll use them exclusively during backpack treks.

The jamboree requires a scout issue sock. I have discovered blisters when using the regular socks. The Thorlos are being washed and worn daily now.

I wish Smartwool had a BSA version (green with red top) acceptable at the Jamboree. Many other leaders and youth use them on outings - especially backpacking. Another fix is to wear a liner.


Breakfast Cleanup

Corey N., Matt S. and Brandon B. clean dishes and stow gear before going on another day's adventure.


Troop 1721 Advances to Regionals

Troop 1721's team of Anthony B. and Chris H. won the Subcamp 17 washer toss tournament. The also beat the adult staffers. We advance to the Southern Region championship.


Phone Banks

Always in use.

I did a little research on cell phone coverage.

Verizon and Nextel have set up additional towers for jamboree coverage. I've seen their portable towers around. They call them "cells on wheels" (COW). Verizon has 3. Nextel has a permanent tower on base but added 1 COW

Cingular chose not to set up supplemental towers. Coverage is only within the peripheral areas of the Jamboree near their standard towers located in the civilian countryside. I'm using a GSM phone to send text and pictures but I've noticed other Cingular phones with full bars where I often have none. The other Cingular owners didn't know what cell phone technology their phone used but I suspect is was not GSM and accessing the COW towers. Our campsite has coverage but you have to walk around like the Verizon guy and find the "sweet spots". Most areas of the Jamboree have no Cingular coverage at all so I take photos and upload them later when I'm back at camp.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Memorial for Scouters

All subcamps held local memorial services for the Scouters killed on the first day at 7:30.


The Venturing Exhibit

One of the most popular and well designed attractions at the Jamboree. Tickets are required which must be picked up the day before. The booth opens at noon and sells out soon in the afternoon. More on this later when I can get a ticket.


Hometown News Tent

Correspondents get press credentials and access to one of 500 mountain bikes after their first, third, and fourth reports. They also get better seating at arena shows (if they don't get cancelled) and closer access to dignitaries if you can convince them that it might be more fun to talk to the Secretary of Agriculture than it is to go mountain boarding.


Thomas Road

This road is one of the main drags at the Jamboree. I took a random survey of Scouts who have been to both a Jamboree and Disney World. The vote was unanimous - the Jamboree was more fun.


A typical Kiosk lunch meal

Kiosks are set up over the Jamboree handing out lunches to increase the "stay out of camp and have a great time" amount. Daily lunch coupons are attached to each participant's ID tag / lanyard (lower left of image) which must be worn to gain entry into activity areas.


Geocaching in Subcamp 17

Geocaching is the 21st century equivalent of a treasure hunt. Scouts follow GPS coordinates to specific locations. The first 5 had letters hidden in discrete locations around camp. The last one was a traditional cache with council strips and freebies donated by Magellan. Magellan donated $100,000 of gear to the Jamboree.
Ryan K., Eric O. Quinton R. and Matt B. find the second cache.


Readying for the day

Drew B. gets advice at the leader dining fly. Our solar cell powerplant is visible on the edge of the fly. It has been recharging leader's equipment such as cell phones, digicams and camcorders. We store the excess energy in 12V gel cell batteries for overnight recharging. Most of the portable electronic gear batteries would be discharged by now without it.


Proof - OK Scouts are OK

Upon hearing the news at our morning briefing that Channel 5 in OKC was reporting they all had heat-related Illnesses, the troop gives a thumbs up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Scouts doing OK with the heat

Our scouts are well-acclimated despite the high temperatures. The only troop heat-related issues were related to boys not drinking enough water and having a headache mostly while in DC and during setup.

A cold front has passed through and it's really nice now.

Given their outstanding performance in a 5 mile hike to the arena tonight and back, beating a storm back to camp and securing their gear quickly and efficiently without any illnesses you have a lot to be proud of in your sons.


The Great Jamboree Skidadle

We had an arena show scheduled tonight. The President was supposed to be here. We were briefed the night before that video cameras and cell phones were banned among other items too numerous to mention.

Because of a planned 3:15 PM deployment the scouts had to eat an 11:00 lunch and then begin an early no cook supper at 12:30.

Bad luck with the weather turned this trek into a 5 mile circuit of changing weather.

We mobilized at 3:15 pm and began walking along the planned route on time at 3:45. Conditions at this time were 95 degrees + with 45 percent humidity. A red flag condition was declared by 1:00 but no cancellation was made. I'm going to express my concern about this decision.

We made sure all Scouts were well hydrated and had their Nalgene bottles full to avoid heat exhaustion. They must have drinken plenty because half had to go to the port-a-potties during the trek. We also had them wear the class B uniform and carry their Scout uniform shirt until inside the arena.

The trek was hot, really too hot to be safe. 1721 Scouts held up exceptionally well especially considering we had the longest hike (2.5 miles each way). I think our boys are better acclimated to hot weather than other states. None got heat exhaustion. Many were succombing from other regions however. Many ambulance trips were seen.

Three hours later, moving slowly as if in heavy traffic, we round a corner to enter the arena road. At this time we hear via a QBSA loudspeaker that the arena show has been cancelled due to heat. All scouts need to make their way back to camp.

&!@'?# best describes the frustration we have hearing this announcement. A short while later we hear a more accurate reason. The cold front that cooled off Oklahoma a few days prior finally was in Virginia. The heat, humidity and cold air moving in spawned a severe thunderstorm headed towards us. The secret service decided it was not safe for the President to go and Scout officials decided the storm was too dangerous to continue the show.

We rested the boys the quickest we could and were told we had an hour to beat the storm. We knew of a 40 percent chance for storms today so we secured the campsite for weather just in case. All but 5 made it back - they made it to shelter however being led by numerous Eagle Scouts in our troop. All of them left earlier in the day as a detachment with the Hometown News group.

The storm lasted a short while and busted an upright support on one of our dining flys. A gust of wind picked up a newer style canopy in our neighbor's campsite and hurled it up 20 feet and towards our campsite. It dropped on the edge of one of our wall tents but did not damage the tent. The tubing of the our neighbor's canopy was twisted like a pretzel.

We had a replacement pole and fed the boys a cracker barrel. Coincidentally a cake was ready for us. What you see is the leftover Jamboree cake celebrating my 365th night camping in the Scouting program. Given the hike, it was a great treat to reward their efforts.

The cool front is here and we are promised highs in the mid 80's tomorrow. President Bush wants to try again.


2/2 00 EDT.


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1/2 Gone to arena show.
We form up at 3:15. Cell Phones and video cameras are banned by security. I'll be offline/phone off until at least 22:


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Anthony B. and Mr. Bowman


Official Jamboree This & That

Look closely for the NSJ logos on all sorts of consumer items.

The My First Jamboree Baby outfit hasn't sold as well as expected. I wonder why? Answer: No diaper changing stations at the Jamboree and he/she is too young to go.

There is also a Jamboree shot glass although it's labelled a tootpick holder.


Tuesday Synopsis

Something new this Jamboree is the camp-wide PA system. It's a lot like the system at Slippery Falls which was cruddy but improved. Ours is so-so. It does get the messages out.
QBSA "The Eagle" is on 95.1 and is very professionally done. Scouts have a chance to be a DJ for 15 minutes.
K2BSA is the amateur radio station. They are making contacts on several bands. I was successful in talking to an FBI agent at K3FBI. I was able to get a few scouts to talk as well earning them a QSL card which is a post card from the radio operator.
Activities ran until early afternoon when the red flag went up. The biggest challenge is convincing boys to drink.
Tomorrow is eagerly awaited as the opening arena show begins somtime around 6:00. A Scoutmaster only briefing was conducted tonight to review the procedures necessary to get the estimated 60,000 people to the arena. There are lots of details to cover so don't expect as many postings.
President Bush will be giving an address to the Scouts. Matt B. and Corey N. have been picked by the leaders as the two hardest-working scouts during the Jamboree. One will be in the greeting line to see the President get off his helicopter and the other will have an up close special event yet to be disclosed.
This time, the Southern Region has been promised good seating: up front and center. We have been promised good seating for 2 reasons. The President's home state is in our region and our region was promised this location in 2001 but it was cancelled due to mud following rains.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


A Scout is Clean

The base fire department ran a hydrant test and it turned into a chance to cool off. Weather tomorrow promises hot weather like today and yesterday. Medical tent visits are down dramatically however as scouts acclimate. The health commisioner told us, "Don't worry, if you don't drink enough water, we can give you what you need by a needle."


Troop Bulletin Board

Patrols post their duty rosters here to track daily responsibilities. The buddy tags track who is in camp (left side) and who is out (left side). Made of stainless steel and clipboard clips cut from standard acrylic clipboards by John Dronberger, a sheet metal expert at Tinker Air Force Base. It's weather resistent if the patrol leaders remember to use page protectors.


The Scouts Have Left the Camp...

I am most impressed by the slick, glossy style of the daily newspaper. It has a USA Today look to it. The news arrives in the morning food pickup and briefs each on the daily adventures.

You too should be able to view it daily. Check and click on the 2005 National Jamboree which hopefully is live by now.

Official attendance: 43,063 (31,788 Scouts, 3,532 Leaders and 7,743 Staff). Unofficial camp rumors are saying this is the largest attendance at National or World Jamboree.

There are flags posted announcing the heat danger - similar to our red flag / burn ban back home. Green tells scouts to drink at least 1 pint of water between meals, Yellow equals 1 quart and red equals 2 quarts with all activities shut down.


Monday Synopsis

Check in went smoothly even with the strict new security procedures.
We were the second troop to register at subcamp 17. We were able to take advantage of the morning cool temperatures and get our campsite up much quicker than at shakedown.

I have cell phone access but barely. Often their is no signal. At best only 2 bars. The system we found out later is easily disrupted from overuse with some text messages not arriving until hours later. I depleted one half a battery today with light use.

By 4:00 pm we were done. About this same time a heat alert was issued restricting further activity. The temperature was around 97 and the humidity close to 70 percent.

We heard a siren and military vehicles moving about this time but nobody thought much of it. There are a lot of military vehicles and the helicopters very frequently patrol. I was told that the electricity was off. It wasn't a concern either as we had no electrical access and never planned on having any. We planned to use solar panels to recharge our batteries.

The latest information I have at midnight is that a troop in subcamp 7 was attempting to raise a large tent when one of the metal poles made contact with a power line. One scout leader was electricuted (the Scoutmaster ?) and 2 Asst. Scoutmasters were killed as well attempting to rescue him. Two additional people were injured because of insufficient protection with their equipment.

Other versions of 4 killed or leaders accidentally hitting an underground power line appear untrue at this stage.

Please join us and keep the victims and their families in your prayers.

Safety and security are top priorities at the Jamboree. All leaders receive an education in outing safety referenced in the Guide to Safe Scouting.

The tents all 3 troops use are standard BSA wall tents and dining flys. Nothing goes over 7 feet in height.

The Jamboree is a big place. We didn't have information from Jamboree officials until a Scoutmaster / SPL meeting at 9:00 PM. It's easy to not hear about an incident when campsites can be miles apart.

We plan a careful and safe time. A special surprise may occur later this week. Troop morale is high.

Monday, July 25, 2005


All Last Frontier Council Adult Scout leaders are OK. My mother called me with the news of an accidental electrocution of 4 scout leaders. You know more than I do of this news. Don't worry. We are having fun and the boys are trading patches already.



Our campsite was finished setting up by 4:00. By 5:00 PM a heat emergency was declared and all jamboree campers had to quit work. The heat index soared to 110. The Scouts performed outstanding showing teamwork in hot conditions.




We have arrived at the National Scout Jamboree!


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Sunday Synopsis

We went to Baltimore next and ate at a food court in the Gallery Mall and explored the National Aquarium. We had some extra time and drove in front of the Capital Bldg. and counted the soldiers surrounding the U.S. Grant Memorial in completion of the President's Historical Trail Award. We found the Boy Scout Monument on the ellipse in front of the White House. Access was resticted as the gound is undergoing landscaping improvements so we lined up along a fence for a photo.
The evening was laundry night. We had trouble with a lot of unlabelled clothes, probably 20 percent of the items. This was compounded by mixing 2 troop's clothes due to an oversight by us while dumping clothes into the large capacity machines.

Weather tomorrow is forecast up to 99 degrees.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Baltimore Harbor

Outside the National Aquarium.

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