On Wednesday, July 19th, participants from across the country and world voyaged to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree. Through all of their travels which ranged vastly in mileage and time spent, every participant came to the Summit Bechtel Reserve for an experience unlike any other in Scouting.
In Wednesday’s predawn, Base Camp Alpha was quiet and peaceful — but not for long, as 4,500 participants from the Northeast soon began to pour into the base camp for the 2017 National Jamboree.
Sub Camp Alpha 2 (nicknamed “The Badlands”) greeted its new occupants by blasting the film soundtrack from “Cowboys” as they entered. The sign outside its headquarters proclaims, “This is outlaw country,” and the commissioner’s staff is decked out in sheriff’s garb. “We want to let these Scouts know that, for the next week and a half, they’re going to be outlaws,” said Hector Martinez, assistant commissioner, who’s been planning for arrival day remotely along with the rest of the staff for months.
As troops arrived and were shown to their temporary homes for the next ten days, they jumped into setting up their green 2017 Jamboree tents, even as they prepared to venture out and explore the rest of the Summit once they were done. Troop 1208 Life Scouts Thomas Pawlack and Alex Alonzo quickly decided what to try first. Pawlack was looking to check out the Rocks, while Alonzo wanted to explore Water Reality — that is, if he “makes it to lunch before falling asleep,” he said.
Some contingents arrived after just a couple hours of travel, while others traveled through the night. Troop 2453 from Dayton, Ohio, departed at midnight Wednesday and arrived seven hours later.
Some participants, like Troop 1401 First Class Scout Zack Fain, are happy to be at the Summit simply for the “once in a lifetime chance to attend a Jamboree.” But others have more personal reasons. Second Assistant Scoutmaster Allen Robinson was looking forward to spending quality time with his son Philip, while first-time Jamboree attendee Natalia Lyckowski from Troop 1345 is keeping the tradition of Scouting alive with her own son, a fourth-generation Scout. Lyckowski’s family is so ingrained as Scouting leaders that, as she said, “Spending the night with forty underage men is written into my wedding vows.”
As Base Camp Alpha began to set up their tents and home for the next ten days, the rest of the Jamboree began to come alive. Across the Summit, Base Camp Bravo received their first arrivals shortly after Base Camp Alpha.
Troops spanning from North Dakota, Missouri, Michigan and Florida traveled throughout the night and previous day to arrive at Base Camp Bravo to begin to fuel Scouting’s adventure. During their travels to the Jamboree many of the contingents stopped at multiple museums and famous landmarks. These stops included Washington D.C., the Muhammad Ali Museum, Churchill Downs and the Dayton Air Force Museum. The participants are looking forward to riding the Big Zip, climbing on the Summit’s various rock walls and participating in the assorted array of extreme sports that the Jamboree has to offer.
As the sun began to show its rays early Wednesday morning, so did excited participants at Base Camp Charlie. Josh R., Senior Patrol Leader of Troop C3115, was ready to finally be able to attend the 2017 National Jamboree. “This is my first Jamboree,” he said. He further stated that preparing for this event took a lot of hard work and dedication to make sure it was a success. The contingent met once a month to set its course, train its participants and prepare its leadership for what will be an exciting and once in a lifetime experience.
Sub-camp commissioners from Base Camp Charlie had been hard at work the previous days and early that very morning to layout boundaries where each troop would put their tents to ensure that the Troops knew where to begin setting up their new home and equipment for the next ten days at the Summit.
After a long night of driving, contingent 3120 was the first contingent to arrive at Base Camp Delta. Each of the participants were excited and eagerly awaiting to explore what the Jamboree has to offer at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
This is the first time to the Summit Bechtel Reserve and to a National Jamboree for many of the Scouts and each are looking forward to the once in a lifetime event. The participants are looking forward to the whitewater rafting, riding the Big Zip and taking mountain bikes out on the Summits plethora of trails and courses.
At subcamp 3, Base Camp Foxtrot received their first bus full of excited participants at 7:08 a.m. Wednesday, and Kellen D., a Venturer from Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma City, stepped off the bus first.
Even though their unit traveled for 23 hours, Kellen and his fellow crew members immediately formed a pack line and started hauling their bags into a pile. As the crew’s vice president of administration and advisor went to check in and review medical forms, the crew started singing Oklahoma! as the pile of bags grew larger.
Just minutes later, the next contingent, from the Baltimore Area Council, in Maryland, rolled into the base camp and unloaded boxes of Thin Mints and Dunkin’ Donuts. Another crew, from Miami Valley Council, was close behind.
The first international contingent arrived at about 8:45 a.m., from Australia. Josh C. and John G., Australian Venturer Scouts from Brisbane, Queensland, had a 14-hour flight to Vancouver before flying to Chicago. They stayed in Michigan for a while before continuing to the Jamboree through Washington, D.C.
“Meeting all the new people will be amazing,” said John. He and Josh have both been to the Australian Jamboree, which attracts about 15,000 participants, but are especially excited to be at this Jamboree due to the size of it.
Base Camp Foxtrot is a uniquely diverse base camp, as it is home both for the Venturing crews at the Jamboree and international contingents that represent 59 different countries and their Scouting Organizations.
As the day wore on and buses started crowding the base camp, crews made good progress on setting up camp. Brand-new BSA tents went on towards the horizon, and stacks of cots blocked people’s way, but still, buses kept coming.