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Home»News»News Releases

Father, Son Duo Enjoy 2013 National Jamboree Experience


The 2013 National Jamboree was an exciting event for a number of reasons. It was the first jamboree to take place at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, the new permanent home of the event. Also a first was the admittance of Venturers, allowing females to attend the national jamboree. The Summit also hosted new high-adventure activities like never before with skateboarding, white water rafting, BMX and zip lines. For father and son duo Tony and Hayden, the 10-day adventure was a once in a lifetime experience they’ll never forget.

“It was amazing because there were a lot of things that you typically can’t do at a normal scout camp,” said Hayden. “It was a good experience for scouts because you meet new people from different parts of the county and different countries. I wanted to go because I hadn’t really done anything like it before and I knew it would be good to try it. It was fun and worth it to go.”

“There were plenty of activities for everyone depending on what their interests were,” Tony added. “More than any one Scout could do in the entire time we were there.”

Hayden, a 12-year old who attended the jamboree with Troop B307, took full advantage of his time at the Summit, which ran from July 15-24. The Cape Girardeau native participated in shooting sports and kayaking but also worked on several merit badges on site.

“I worked on electricity, railroading, genealogy, stamp collecting and traffic safety,” Hayden said of his merit badge classes. “They were fun. I have to say my favorite was probably stamp collecting or electricity. You wouldn’t think there would be much to learn about stamps but there is.”

In order to get around to merit badge classes or activity areas, Scouts had to walk several miles. Staged on thousands of forested acres, the jamboree did not permit vehicles on the grounds for transportation. The walking bothered Hayden very little though because it just meant he had an excuse to see all of the dozens of tents and exhibits spread throughout the Summit.

“It’s always good to get out and see everything and everything was worth the walk,” said Hayden. “They had a really cool National Eagle Scout Association tent that had really neat guests like the stars of the show Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout. There was also an Order of the Arrow history tent, Scouting history and even a tent for West Virginia history.”

Hayden and the Scouts weren’t the only ones enjoying life at the jamboree. For leaders like Tony, Scoutmaster for B307, the Summit offered just as much fun. Tony attended the 1985 national jamboree as a youth and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the 2013 event with his son.

“There were lots of things to see as a leader,” said Tony. “There were lots of informational booths, ongoing training and things like that, so it was very worthwhile.

“Training has always been a love of mine; I’ve been a long-time trainer in the council. One of the ways that we as leaders can fulfill our obligations that we take when we become leaders is to expand the horizons for Scouts under our care. I was there with national quality trainers and people and organizations we don’t have direct access to at home so I think it was a missed opportunity just to sit at home at camp when you have that many resources available to you. We worked it out with our leaders to have the camp adequately covered throughout the day for emergencies and we each spent time out at the jamboree site.”

With so much activity, one can imagine the appetites that 30,000 Scouts worked up each day. But camp fare probably wasn’t quite what you would expect and a far cry from roasted hot dogs over a camp fire.

“Our first meal was barbequed chicken breast and corn on the cob,” Tony remembered. “We had jambalaya one night and Asian stir-fry another. Breakfasts were hot, egg sandwich stuff. Most of the meals were pre-prepared and all we had to do was re-heat it. They were all very tasty.”

“The food was great,” added Hayden. “It was so good it was hard not to eat all of it. It was scouting gourmet. Best camp food I’ve ever had.”

The Scouts eventually turned meal time into a Good Turn as any unopened food and unused produce was donated to local food pantries.

After 10 fun-filled days of camping, all 220 Scouts from the Greater St. Louis Area Council packed up and loaded the buses to head back home. If anyone was wondering what a bus full of smelly boys and camping gear smells like, Tony is happy to report he doesn’t know.

“I had sinus surgery four years ago and since then I haven’t been able to smell,” Tony said with a laugh. “I have an appointment next week to see if it can be corrected. I had the opportunity to do that before I left [for the jamboree] and I said, ‘No, let’s wait.’ So that was critical.”