#Jamboree2017WithGray

From the beginning of my scouting career, up until the day my grandfather passed away, he always spoke about how amazing the National Jamboree was. It was his absolute favorite event as a scout. Following in his footsteps, I had to attend a Jamboree. I began attending National Boy Scout Jamborees in 2010 at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. Since then, I have attended every Jamboree I could! The 2017 Jamboree was my third Jamboree and my first time attending as a staff member. As a part of the Operation Arrow staff, I was a piece of the largest group of staff the Order of the Arrow has ever put together. At 640+ OA staff members, we were about 10% of the entire staff for the Jamboree.

Within the OA Staff were many different groups of people and I personally was a part of the small group that made up the OA Exhibit staff. In my personal opinion, it was the best group of staff at the Jamboree. This group was made up of arrowmen from across the country including, North Carolina, Utah, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, California, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Connecticut, Kentucky, Texas, and Michigan. Our staff put together a history exhibit to explain what the order was to scouts from all over the world. We had posters, short films, photo booths, and even a resident artist who painted the commemorative painting for the event. Thousands of scouts came through and learned so much that will hopefully help scouts and scouters become more excited and more involved in the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service.

Even as a staff member, I was able to experience a lot of the Jamboree. From the Summit Circle to Brown Sea Island and from the Consol Energy Bridge to hearing a speech from the President of the United States of America, I was able to experience more than enough at the Jamboree. Being back at the Summit for the third time was like going back to somewhere I knew, but oddly enough, I was so lost. With more than 10,000 acres of land, its impossible to see it all, but so much is there. While at the Jamboree I was able to attend Brown Sea Island and get a personal tour from Lord Robert Baden Powell himself of where Scouting began. I whale hunted, played basketball, competed in “Kim’s Game,” and I even won a game of “Shoot-The-Can.” Seeing where Scouting began is just so cool and a lot of fun for people to experience. I headed to the Sustainability Tree House to check it out again. The Summit is a fairly sustainable place as far as waste goes, but this tree house is completely sustainable with solar panels, wind turbines, and even composting toilets. This tree house teaches all those who visit about how important the Earth is and what we should do to keep it safe and healthy. A walk through Action Point was also a lot of fun as there were exhibits that included Scouting Heritage, the World Scouting Movement, High Adventure, Wild West Virginia, the OA Exhibit, and so much more. With so many things to do it was truly impossible to see it all, but I surely did my best. My Favorite exhibit in 2013 was back in action this year in Legacy Village at the NESA Exhibit. The totem pole that scouts were able to carve on in 2013 was finished and up for display which I was very proud to help with and just behind that was the totem pole for the 2017 jamboree that I also helped carve. These experiences are so cool and it really makes you feel like you are a part of something incredibly special.

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Everything that the Jamboree had to offer was really incredible, but being on staff made it that much cooler. As a part of Operation Arrow, I was able to welcome scouts on their buses as we drove onto the Summit Bechtel Family Reserve, to be a part of the security and special operations team for all of the Jamboree shows, and to be proud of an organization that honors scouts and shows them the way of Cheerful Service. There were jokes, there was work, but most of all there was friendship. The people that I met through the staff, I know I will be friends with for a long time. All of them made such an amazing impact on my life and I would not give up this experience for anything. One night, walking through camp, there were two visitors that were heading out for the evening. As they were walking by I said, “Have a safe trip and a wonderful evening.” One of them responded with “Thank You” and the other said, “Wow, everyone here is so nice and genuine.” I really took that to heart. Growing up in the Boy Scouts, I have learned so much and the people that are a part of the program are truly amazing people. No where else will you find such great morals by everyone. With what felt like hundreds of miles to and from everywhere, up hill both ways, this Jamboree was one never to forget and the people that were a part of it are truly great people, but the one person that I know was watching the entire time to ensure that I had an amazing Jamboree experience for the third time was my Grandfather, Daddy Bill. Thank You Daddy Bill for ensuring that I enjoy life just as much, if not more than you did.

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