scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: Moving the jamboree - was National Scouting Museum and Ft A.P. Hi ll
Jim Miller Sr. (jjmsr@LSFCU.ORG
Thu Jun 15 2000 - 08:57:03 CDT
The question of moving the jamboree around is one of the topics which
repeats itself periodically on this list. In order to fully understand why
things are the way they are it is sometimes necessary to step back and take
a serious look at the way things were.
I attended the 1960 Jamboree in Colorado Springs. It was one of the peak
experiences of my life. A major part of that was the trip across country,
and the touring we were able to do both before and after the jamboree. If
my son could experience that today, I would willingly pay the tab.
Unfortunately times change.
In 1960, we had a very limited number of places at the jamboree where we
could get water. Units picked up water in 5 gal "jerry cans" and hauled
them back to their sites where the water was stored in large canvas "lista"
(sp?) bags in the hot sun. The water was "purified" with a number of
capfuls of Clorox. Warm water with clorox in it - absolutely wonderful.
Showers were a long walk from the troop campsite and were cold. Warm
drinking water and cold showers - hmmmm?
Latrines were canvas contraptions built over holes in the ground. No flush
toilets and no sewage treatment. The holes were bulldozed over at the end
of the jamboree and the waste matter was left to leach into the ground.
Overhead photographs I have of the site show a very limited number of large
structures - canvas or otherwise. It was primarily acres and acres of two
man tents. Many of the conditions we lived with in 1960, would be
prohibited today by various government regulations and health and safety
Today's jamboree site has water piped to every area. Many of the subcamps
are served by large permanent shower houses with laundry facilities and are
subdivided into adult and youth, male and female sections. A significant
number of support facilities at A.P.Hill are either permanent buildings or
are large "circus" tents erected on concrete slabs.
Health and safety considerations, as well as creature comfort expectations
of today's youth and adults, have radically changed the required
infrastructure for national jamborees. We "need" much more electricity,
communications, and water and sewer than we did in 1960, or '64, '69, '73,
or '77. The expense of providing this infrastructure has also accelerated
dramatically. We just can't afford to build more than one jamboree site
just to have it sit dormant for three years, eleven months, and fifteen days
out of every four year period. We can't build a "supercamp" to house the
jamboree which is used between jamborees because then we would have a
jamboree all the time and it would lose its uniqueness.
I would love to see the jamboree moved from the east coast to the west coast
every four tears. I think the kids from the east coast get cheated of the
travel opportunities they would have by going west. Meanwhile, the west
coast people think that their kids get cheated of the opportunity to even go
to the jamboree by the high costs of traveling so far east.
I don't see a simple solution to the problem.
Jim Miller, Sr.
Northern New Jersey Council, B.S.A.