The 2010 National BSA Jamboree celebrates 100 years of Scouting with the theme "Celebrating the Adventure, Continuing the Journey."
By Mark Belli, NRA Youth Programs
There's so much to see and do at the Jamboree! Every year there's a special guest, like when President George W. Bush came to speak.
At dawn, the buses begin to roll in, loaded with sleepy-eyed Scouts who are excited about participating in the largest Scouting event of the century. Imagine stretches of empty fields becoming home for thousands of Scouts from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
Welcome to Fort A.P. Hill, near Fredericksburg, Va., where the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scouting with the 2010 National Jamboree. The Jamboree showcases all of the different activities Scouting has to offer our youth. In less than 24 hours the rolling fields will be covered with thousands of tents. It will become the third-largest city in Virginia, and will even have its own zip code! Can you imagine joining over 60,000 Scouts and leaders for the largest event in BSA history?
Upon arriving at Fort A.P. Hill, your days will be filled with activities ranging from shotgun and air rifle shooting, to climbing, rappelling, kayaking, canoeing, scuba, rafting, sailing and events such as the Bikeathlon, archery, buckskin games, confidence courses, a conservation trail and more. Or you can stop by the shooting sports booth sponsored by the National Rifle Association on the Merit Badge Midway, and work toward the Shotgun or Rifle Shooting merit badges. There you will discover the many activities that NRA has to offer Boy Scouts, including some cool shooting awards you can earn. The opening and closing shows are special highlights of the Jamboree, with fireworks, jet flyovers and much more, including a very special guest—but you will have to attend the Jamboree to find out who it will be!
You'll live in your own tent city, cooking your own breakfast. For lunch, just stop by a kiosk and grab a bag lunch wherever you happen to be. Each evening you will gather back at your campsite for dinner and more activities, building lifelong memories and friendships. When "Taps" is played at the end of the day, you will be glad to get some much-needed rest so that you can start all over the next morning.
Each of the four U.S. regions (Northeast, Southern, Central and Western) will have its own Action Center with a variety of activities. How would you like to shoot a shotgun and watch the clay target turn to dust? Or maybe you would like to ride a bike, stopping at designated stations, jumping off the bike, shooting an air rifle at a target and then hopping back on the bike to race to the next target. You will be timed on how well you shoot and how fast you ride. This is the Bike-athlon and it is one of the most popular areas. If archery is your thing, try your hand at shooting a bow. You can also ride dirt bikes, or hang out with the old-timers throwing tomahawks at a wooden target, shooting a muzzleloader and doing lots of other fun things in the Buckskin Games and the Indian Village areas.
Are you hot from all that fun? Well, what about going swimming, fishing, sailing or kayaking on the lake? Maybe you should just relax and trade patches with other Scouts from all over the United States and many foreign countries.
Will you have the Council patch that is the "one to have"? Many scouts really enjoy this pastime and come with lots of their own council patches that they are eager to trade...for the right deal, of course!
Did you know that there is a real ham radio setup, right there on the Jamboree site, where you can talk to other amateur radio operators all around the world? There will be a radio station broadcasting live from the site. Just think, you might get interviewed as you walk around the Jamboree and be on TV back home. Way too cool!
Now that I have your attention, I bet you're wondering how you can get there and what the cost is. The fee is set by your local Council, and includes transportation to Fort A.P. Hill and admission to the 10 days of adventure. Some Councils include a few extra days, before or after the Jamboree, to take additional tours in and around Washington, D.C. Many Council contingents go whitewater rafting on some of the most scenic rivers in the country. No matter what your Council contingent chooses to do, you can bet that this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You won't want to miss it!
The Jamboree is taking place July 26-Aug. 4. For more information, please go to the national Jamboree website at www.bsajamboree.org.