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When Red Berets Went Flying At The ’73 Jamboree [AUDIO]

The Jamboree Fireside Stories project is recording the experiences that have made the national Scout jamboree a lifetime memory for more than a million Scouts and Scouters.

You can share your jamboree story by calling the Jamboree Fireside Story Line at 786-7-JAMBO-7. You can also record it on the Summit’s SoundCloud channel, or upload a pre-recorded audio file there.

Here’s one Scouter’s story:

[audio:|titles=Bob Cheek’s Jamboree Story]

This is Bob Cheek from Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Glacier’s Edge Council out of Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve got a number of jamboree stories — jamborees are just a great thing as far as I’m concerned.

Back in 1973, I was on the staff of “Jamboree East.” That year we had a jamboree at Moraine State Park in Pennsylvania and one in Idaho, at the very same time, one day apart. In fact I remember the opening ceremony went from one place to the other and had the exact same ceremony.

I was on the program staff and just had a great time — great staff members — and they had one of the biggest jamborees ever in ’73. The situation I was going to mention was at the closing ceremony:

They thought that since the program staff had orange pith helmets that we should line the bottom of the arena because President Nixon was possibly going to come and speak. So, I guess I was like a temporary Secret Service person.

Well, President Nixon didn’t show up but it was a great closing ceremony. The fireworks were unbelievable. But, just a funny story about that closing ceremony:

Red berets were brand new at that jamboree, and that was the jamboree headwear that everybody wore. It ended up that sometime during the jamboree towards the close, one person threw their beret up like a Frisbee and caught it. Then the 20 people around them thought that was pretty cool and they threw their beret up and caught it. And then pretty soon 150 people around them threw their berets up and caught them, and then pretty soon there were thousands of berets being thrown up in the air and caught.

It was quite an exciting experience.

Well, other jamborees that I’ve attended: I attended the ’83 jamboree, the 75th anniversary of Scouting, and that was great. With the family, attended the closing ceremony and heard the Oak Ridge Boys and Nancy Reagan speak.

Then with a group of Scouters from Bay Lakes Council out of Appleton, Wisconsin, we took a van in for a weekend and hit the ’89 jamboree. Again all of these, the last two, they were in Fort A.P. Hill.

Also attended a Fort A.P. Hill jamboree in 2005 with a Scouter from Sinnissippi Council out of Janesville.

Then just this last one, 2010, attended with a group of Scouters from Glacier’s Edge Council in Madison. We went out for the weekend and helped celebrate the 100th anniversary.

So, what’s your jamboree story? Give us a call and share the story you love to tell around the campfire!

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