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Boy Scouts National Jamboree Celebrates 100th Anniversary

We don’t just give out merit badges and Eagle Awards to you guys - you have to earn them,” said Peter Sessions, the son of former FBI Director William Sessions, during a Hometown News Conference at the recent Boy Scout Jamboree.

Sessions was one of the many celebrities and performers at Boy Scouting’s premiere event. This huge campout lasted from July 26 to Aug. 4, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the United States.

Over 45,000 scouts from all over the country, as well from around the world, came to Fort AP Hill to enjoy the event.

The Boy Scout parade in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, July 25, kicked off Jamboree for more than 7,000 scouts from across the country and even the United Kingdom who marched down Constitution Avenue, passing by the Smithsonian, while carrying troop flags, standing on beautiful floats, and manning high-flying parade balloons, all having a great time.

There were a few instances of dehydration in the parade, and some of our own unit members had to seek medical assistance. Immediately after the parade something extremely unexpected occurred, a thunderstorm hit.

Police officers blared warnings about finding shelter, while dust and rain blew in the wind. Boy Scout Adventure Base 100 was blown completely away, leaving many scouts to run for the Smithsonian and other museums for cover.

Thankfully, everyone was alright when the storm finally stopped, and my brother and I returned home to make last-minute preparations for the Jamboree.

Monday, July 26, the scouts from the Heart of Virginia Council packed up and left by bus for AP Hill. Before departure, the excitement increased as Virginia State Police officers let the drug dogs sniff over our gear, in case of possible concealed drugs or weapons due to heightened security at the fort,
The scouts’ gear turned out clean as a whistle! After boarding the buses, scouts received a Jamboree cap and a passport explaining the rules and regulations of the event.

Upon arriving at the fort, we quickly unloaded our gear and set up our tents. While the tents were quite small and hard to fit gear into, they were easier to set up than our regular camping tents.

Boys from all over our council were divided into troops with adults hand selected for Jamboree. Each troop consisted of 40 boys, three adult leaders and a junior leader who was under the age of 21. Within each troop boys were further divided by patrols. My patrol was the Stickman patrol.

While at Jamboree each patrol ate pre-cooked and easy to heat meals. Each patrol would host “Guests” (usually older scouts or adults). With the hot climate causing dehydration, coolers full of Gatorade and water were made and served daily. Clean-up was held by selected scouts, using a three-pot method.

The Jamboree had so many events going on at once. It was impossible to do everything. There were many merit badge classes and even scuba diving lessons, Tech Quest, QBSA a scout-run radio station, the teamwork-oriented Mysterium Compass, shotgun and rifle shooting.

The first-day-of-issue ceremony for the new scouting stamp was also held during the week. Jamboree also featured two incredible arena shows, featuring the U.S. Air Force, Miss America and WWE Superstar Sergeant Slaughter and our own Virginia governor, as well as famed TV personality, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs.

Scout patch trading sessions were held throughout Jamboree. Scouts from all over the country traded patches sometimes in sets. Many patches had characters such as Elvis or Star Wars characters on them, which increased their value. Special centennial council strip sets also specifically were traded during the jamboree.

I was lucky to trade for the Chief Seattle Council Set. Boys set up blankets by the side of the road and displayed their patches, and many deals were struck.

On Aug. 4, the BSA 2010 National Jamboree finally came to a close. We sadly packed our gear into trucks and boarded the buses for our trip back home. We all have great memories of Jamboree. Many of us younger scouts hope to go to Jamboree once again as it starts its inaugural session in Summit, West Virginia. Let’s hope 2013’s Jamboree will be even better!

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The preceding firsthand report on the Boy Scouts of America 2010 National Jamboree was provided by Carrington Shapard Confroy, grandson of Bill and Jane Confroy of Halifax and member of Jamboree Troop 1711.)