National Jamboree & Tour Experience 2013
After an eighteen month journey developing four patrols and leadership corps, it was finally the day we had prepared for. Standing shoulder to shoulder in full Scout uniform, with matched outer appearance and united inner purpose, 36 Scouts and 4 lucky adult leaders boarded the bus for the airport—young men from different local units, different schools, and different cities. Over those months, we came together, forging ourselves into a troop functioning at Scouting’s highest level. Trained, prepared, and boy run, we had practiced everything—from a 40 person dish wash line to walking double file so we could courteously leave sidewalk room for others as we visited our country’s most historic cities. To be organized as we traveled and visited inspiring site after site, under the Senior Patrol Leader’s direction, we even practiced loading, sitting, and unloading the bus. Although proud of what patrols and troop had accomplished under youth leadership, we adults were not prepared for what we would see in the next eight hours, let alone throughout the entire two week experience.
As the plane lifted off in Salt Lake City, we were on our way. Some young men had never been on an airplane before, some had hardly traveled outside our state. Imagine what those Scouts thought, transferring flights mid-day in one of the world’s busiest airports, as thousands of business travelers scurried through to catch connections. As our Senior and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader formed the troop in the terminal, leading the double file line, all eyes were on the spectacle of 40 uniformed Scouts. As we moved through O’Hare Airport, at what felt like traveling between the two furthest gates, the leadership corps and patrol leaders lead us, each Scout walking next to his assigned buddy. Wearing the badge laden uniforms, only a few travelers wouldn’t know who these young men were and what principles for which they stood. Although strangers, it was marvelous to observe person after person that approached and talked with our Scouts. Many, relating fond experiences they had lived 30, 40, 50 years ago, when they were Scouts or were influenced by Scouting.
In the lives of these young men, there will be another time. They will put forth earnest preparation to values and principles they believe in. They will leave home, board a plane, wear a different uniform and badge, and be assigned a buddy. By what they wear and how they conduct themselves, strangers they have never met will know who they are and for what they stand. Knowing who you are: a lifetime experience Scouting can give a young man.
Author: Harold Jepsen | Council 2017 Jamboree Chair