The Montana Council was proud to have 23 Scouts and leaders represent Montana at the National Jamboree, a gathering of thousands of Scouts BSA members held every four years at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
Toting Mystery Ranch duffel bags to represent Montana businesses, the contingent’s adventure started by flying from Bozeman, Mont., to Washington D.C., where Scouts and leaders visited many of our national monuments.
Visits to the White House, the Capitol building, and the United States Supreme Court highlighted the first day before visiting the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and more that evening.
Day two of the pre-tour included the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, where Scouts viewed some of the world’s most amazing aircraft and rode in true-to-life flight simulators. All of this before heading to the Summit on day three for eight more days of fun and adventure!
While at the National Jamboree, Scouts met troops from all over the country. Some favorite activities included patch trading, fly fishing, and frisbee golf.
Following the Jamboree, Scouts toured the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway – including a ride around the track.
The World Scout Jamboree was held this year in SaeManGeum, Jeollabuk-do, Republic of Kora. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, it was the first World Jambo since the pandemic, and their theme of “Draw your Dream” represented how youth’s ideas can create opportunities to make dreams come true in a safe, inclusive, and sustainable environment.
The Montana Council is proud to have a contingent of three leaders and eight Scouts in attendance. Of those eleven from Montana, five Scouts and one leader attended both the National and World Scout Jamboree – only 88 people in the country were fortunate to attend both events.
Scouts began their journey from Montana with an 11-hour flight out of Seattle (or a 15-hour flight for those at the National Jamboree). Upon arriving, the Scouts enjoyed a 3-day pre-tour of Seoul and neighboring communities.
The Opening Ceremony was highlighted by a speech from Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea, followed by a fireworks and drone show. The encampment included 45,000 Scouts from around the world including 18 camps from the United States.
Germany, Sweden, Poland, Norway, and Switzerland were camped nearby, allowing the Scouts to mingle and swap patches, neckerchiefs, and backpacks (Taiwanese backpacks were a big draw). One Scout even traded his entire uniform for an Italian one!
During the day, Scouts were encouraged to explore and visit camps in other countries and learn of the cultural differences between the groups. Other adventures on site included a giant water slide, drone racing, a STEM area, and a boardwalk where Scouts could purchase swag or food prepared by other countries.
“It was amazing to observe our USA Scouts in exciting cultural exchanges with people from all over the world,” said Paul Rodgers, one of the two adult leaders who accompanied Scouts to Korea.
There were also some challenges like above normal temperatures, humidity, and an approaching typhoon which prompted an early departure from the Jamboree. The U.S. Contingent was relocated to Camp Humphreys, the largest Army installation in the Pacific region.
Jamboree fun didn’t stop due to the relocation. The Scouts visited Starfield CoEx Mall, the world’s largest underground mall and the animation of the crowd made their trip to a Korean baseball game even more fun. At a demonstration of Korean cooking, the Scouts and their leaders made kimchi (cabbage fermented in a mixture of seasonings) and gimbap (a dish made of cooked rice, vegetables, fish, and meat rolled in dried sheets of seaweed).
Before departing for home, the global contingent convened one more time for the Closing Ceremony and a K-Pop Concert in the Seoul World Cup Stadium, another treat for the Scouts and leaders.
“The whole trip was a great memory,” Mr. Rodgers said. “Korea has such a long history and its people take great pride in that. This has been an amazing opportunity to be in a foreign country and learn its history with an amazing group of Scouts and leaders from across the country and around the world. It created so many opportunities to interact with people and celebrate Scouting.”