Re: Jamboree Impressions (*note: Long posting!*)
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Wed, 18 Aug 1993 21:24:41 CDT
Michael Rogero Brown <michaelb@SUNRISE.CSE.FAU.EDU> writes:
> Well all these recent postings regarding good & bad impressions of the
>Jamboree has spured me to write this.
(Mike's background expressing his experiences and good times at
previous Jamborees deleted only for space considerations...Mike, and
people call *me* lucky!!!!! You'd GREAT Jamboree experiences!!!
> BUT there were problems. What annoyed me was that many could have been
>avoided. Its not like that haven`t done a Jamboree before.
*where have *I* heard that phrase before??? Oh yeah, that was the
same phrase that a waterlogged female visitor told me one morning....*
The BSA has had 14 experiences in putting together a Jamboree, and
each time, it is NOT easy. Not only in the past have they had to deal
with locations, facilities management, road and utility access, and
the all-important licenses and permits, they had to deal with
personalities that sometime wanted to put on a circus show instead of
a grand camping event for Scouts and Scouters. As the years went on,
they had to deal less and even lesser with the facilities, licenses
and locations, and more and more with personalities, many of which
have NEVER EVEN VISITED A JAMBOREE BEFORE and relied on the word of
the professional staff (whom, as we all know, juices up the entire
thing from the get-go!!) and we end up with...well, let's say that if
you went to Jambos 73 and 77, you would NOT recognize this as a
National Scout Jamboree.
At the same time, you also have to remember tht we are dealing with
kids that has been "raised" on MTV (music television, 24 hour video
and commentaries on the video), television (with more rock-em, sock-em
action than found in their older peers' day), environments at school
and home that emphasized "go, go, go" and of course our Scouting
program with the heavy emphasis on "go as fast as you wanna...don't
worry...we'll catch up with you". Therefore, the premiere event of
the BSA had *better be* "go, go, go, rock-em, sock-em, and filled with
vivid "images" that can be captured quickly and the rewards better be
forthcoming and immediate (this jamboree could easily be called the
"gimme" Jamboree...there were so many patches and pins and things that
you got just for going to stand someplace for seventeen minutes!!)
>They need to
>revise how they select staff members. This policy of `new people' first
>is a good one, but in my opinion it turns away too many people who we need.
The idea was good, but the implementation sucked rocks! The idea, was
that the staff of the Jamboree should be 1/3 folks that never been to
a Jamboree before, 1/3 "experienced Scouters" that have been to one or
perhaps two before, and 1/3 professionals and volunteers that could be
described as "career Jamboree personnel".
The Jamboree Staff application was the key to this, and as those that
have experience in knowing what "is looked for", fill in ALL of the
spaces on the application, therefore giving the selection staff (two
professionals, five volunteers at Regions) hissy-fits and having to
rely on the "good word of the Scout Executive" as to whom went and
whom got the rejection letters.
Even professionals needed to fill out the staff application, and
indicate three areas of expertise...but if they didn't have Woodbadge
or National Camping School under their belts, even IF they were a
whiz in desktop publishing or events or small-scale activities or even
in contracting, their application got placed in their "don't call
us-we'll call you" pile.
Now, as we all know by now, the winter of last year brought some
IMMEDIATE changes to the BSA...we downsized from six regions to four,
eliminated twenty-nine local Councils and eight Area headquarters and
with that, the volunteers and professionals that *were* going to the
Jamboree....not only that, but we also lost LOTS of Scouts that "were
going," but could not come up with the monies to get there...and in
March and again in May, the National Jamboree Service downsized many
of the Troops that were going, so that Councils had to work with
neighboring Councils to "fill the Troop slots".
Therefore, we were shorthanded all the way around--youth, adult and
professional adult! That's why almost at the last momment, there was
a lot of downsizing (because the money was NOT there) and elimination
of key parts of the Jamboree...as you will read onward...
>Our area (and MANY MANY others) was understaffed. We were worried that we
>might not get ANY time off. We were lucky that we did get some off. Also,
>our area did not have all the necessary equipement when we got there, thus we
>were working on TUESDAY (when we should have been open to the kids) to finish
>getting things set-up. If we had everything we needed, we could have been
>done by Saturday. I also got sick of some of the attitudes of some of the
>professionals. I get really annoyed about being lectured on `what scouting is'
>from a professional who wasn`t even a scout themselves.
Don't ya *love that*, Mike?? I get those same snotty-nosed remarks,
and the way I handle them is I simply say "Yeah, I know what you mean.
I mean, Scouting can be really summed up in that feeling you get at
the end of spending a week of camp. Can you relate?"
They shut up really fast. And they *don't come back explaining
ANYTHING ELSE to me*, either.
>One incident that
>bugged a lot of us was that Action Area C had a staff patch (just as many other
>staff areas do). However, they only ordered 300 patches for a staff group
>that numbered about 250. Then they sold them at `first-come first-served',
>and thus MANY people in Action Center C didn't get one. No-one in Buckskin
>Games did. We were very annoyed to learn they had sold 100 to someone who
>wasn`t on Action Center C staff. When we asked if they were going to order
>more, we were blowen off by the people in charge.
You wanna know why you were "blown off"??? Because if you would have
went over their heads, you would have found out that the "staff
patches" were NOT OFFICIAL and was not authorized by the BSA to be
See, what happens is that the senior professional or volunteer takes
it upon him or herself to design and order sets of patches for their
particular area...at great expense to himself and to (if he's a
professional) at great professional risk. If he was pressured to
provide a patch to everyone on the staff there, and he did not have
enough to start with, he could lose his job (or at the least, having
to destroy ALL of the patches he bought and brought with him). What
should have been done is what was done for Jamborees past: have BSA to
design and send to each staff person TWO STAFF PATCHES with the option
to purchase more later before or after the Jamboree..and if anyone
wants to design a "speciality staff patch" , to insure that BSA saw
the design beforehand and to have BSA to order them in a large enought
quantity so that everyone will have two. One for keeps, one for the
"other shirt" (trading).
So, don't blame him or her for "making a small buck" because he or
she's done this at their own expense...your Jamboree fee or Regional
fee did NOT cover those patches, which were not authorized in the
> I was also annoyed that
>they did pre-ordered t-shirts for the Action Centers, but I never saw the
>order form dispite the fact that I had been signed-up for the Action Centers
>back in September.
The tee-shirt and general "order form" problems have been addressed
several times before here and during the pre-Jamboree meetings in
Councils all over...it is a matter of someone waiting til the last
possible momment to send out mailings, instead of what should have
been so many mailings on the Jamboree, that everytime you see a white
envelope with that fleur-de-lis on it, you hear that "Friday the 13th"
slasher theme and you scream!!
I betcha you got one while you were at the Jamboree, or right before
you left for A.P. Hill, right??
The transportation for the Jamboree ALWAYS needs to be improved upon.
For this Jamboree, I was told that there would be NO BUSES AT ALL...
someone added the two bus routes as an afterthought (and it sure
looked like it, too!!). As explained before by Joe and by Don Izard,
there was a LOT of traffic on Thomas Road when there should have been
only ped traffic and the occasional bicycle. Much of that traffic
would be quickly taken care of IF SAFETY AND SECURITY kept to their
policy of "no exceptions, except to transport impaired persons to and
from the parking lots on the two Arena nights" as listed in the Staff
Guide (and emergencies, naturally).
This meant that the VIPs would have to resort to the usage of the five
golf carts that were located at National Headquarters for the usage of
the Chief Scout Executive, the National President, the National
Commissioner and the professional and volunteer Jamboree chief and
associate. Surely, they can cart around special guests without the
added "confort" of air conditioning, like the Scouts had to endure
For *my* money, there were too many "drive passes" given out to VIPs
many of which were only at the Jamboree long enough to take two or
three pictures or to see short glimpses of the activities....they need
to go OUT and walk, like the VIPs did in 69, 73 and 77!!
>These problems may seem petty, but these sorts of things add up. Because of
>this, there were several people who were on staff who had no plans whatsoever
>to be on staff the next Jamboree.
Yep, and there's lots of very disappointed Scouts that won't attend
another one either, thinking that this Jamboree was the "most
unorganized event we've ever been to". For the most part, however,
everything HAD to come together fast and furious, thousands of Scouts
and hundreds of Scouters had a great time, and most of them would go
through it all again if it was being held next week or month.
It is a shame, however, that National don't have a "after action
review" and sit down before they start planning the next one and take
a LONG, LONG look at the way this was done from announcement of the
1993 Jamboree (which was on December of 1989) to the closing day of
the Jamboree a week ago...and CHANGE it.
>Well, thats all I can think of at this time.
Meee to! Sorry it was so long, but since everyone was commenting, I
wanted to put the BSA's *two cents worth* in (and my penny's worth!).
Settummanque! @HEY !!!! Bring BACK THE WIDE GAME!!!!!!!!
Mike L. Walton
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
( (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
( Phone 502-782-7992 (home) 502-842-2274 (office) |-=-|] )
( 3201-D Cave Springs Avenue -- Greenwood, KY 42104-4439 -------- )
( WALTOML@WKUVX1 / "No such thing as strong coffee, only weak people" )
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