5 things you didn’t know about a Boy Scout Jamboree

Photo: Boy Scouts of America. Staff members take souvenir pictures during the 2017 National Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, USA. (BSA Photo by Jeff Hattrick)
© Photo: Boy Scouts of America. Staff members take souvenir pictures during the 2017 National Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, USA. (BSA Photo by Jeff Hattrick)

The National Scout Jamboree in the United States is a forest-friendly tradition that stretches back nearly 100 years. Held every four years, the 2017 National Scout Jamboree kicks off on July 19th and welcomes 25,000 Scouts, 10,000 adult leaders and thousands more Day Visitors from across the U.S. and around the world. It lasts through July 28. Take a peek behind the badge and learn some fun facts about Scouts and the Jamboree.

1. Camping Out on the National Mall

The first National Scout Jamboree was held in 1935 on the National Mall at the Washington Monument. Nearly 30,000 Scouts attended, and representatives from each of the 48 states brought a local piece of wood to add to the campfire.

2. The Summit
2017 National Scout Jamboree© Photo: Boy Scouts of America - 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Mount Hope, West Virginia.

The National Scout Jamboree found a permanent home in 2013 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. The Summit spans 13,000 acres, almost 12,000 of which are certified to the independent, third-party forest management standard of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). SFI-certification shows a commitment to responsible forestry practices, soil and water quality, and wildlife protection. These responsibly managed forests clean the air we all breathe, filter the water we drink, and provide the materials we need today and in the future.

3. Visitors Welcome

The outdoor action aspect of the Jamboree is an exciting experience for Scouts, but you don’t have to be a Scout to take part. Given the crowds the Summit is booked for Scouts during the Jamboree, but it has an expansive visitors’ area that offers white water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, zip-line challenge courses, and mountain biking that is open the rest of the year to the general public.

4. Leaving No Trace, Following the Conservation Trail

This massive event follows leave-no-trace principles and offers Scouts a conservation trail where leading conservation organizations and state and federal agencies provide interactive education on sustainable forestry. SFI is providing Plant Science Merit Badge counseling and guidance on making responsible wood and paper purchasing decisions by looking for the SFI label on everyday products. The SFI label means the product or packaging comes from a responsibly managed source. You can find the label on hundreds of everyday items — and on The Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Books.

5. Patch Trading Central

For collectors, the national Jamboree is one of the best patch trading venues available, as well as an ideal support network for earning merit badges. Some of the first merit badges in the early 1900s were forestry, conservation, carpentry, and first aid to animals. Today’s merit badges include the Sustainability badge and the Environmental Science badge, one of which is required for achieving Eagle rank, the highest advancement rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Only about five percent of Boy Scouts achieve this rank.

Learn more about the 2017 National Jamboree and the upcoming 2019 World Jamboree, which will also be held at the Summit. Be your own “Scout” by learning more about responsible forestry and how you can support it at sfiprogram.org.

5 things you didn’t know about a Boy Scout Jamboree
The National Scout Jamboree in the United States is a forest-friendly tradition that stretches back nearly 100 years.

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