2023 National Jamboree Recap

David Mengel
August 1, 2023

The 2023 National Jamboree was held from July 19 to July 28 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. 120 scouts from various troops throughout Chester County Council came together to join another 15,000 Scouts and Scouters from across the nation to take part in this ten-day momentous event.

A National Jamboree is a place where Scouts all come together to meet new people, create new friendships, make lifetime memories, and have a great time participating in the largest concentration of high adventure activities offered in one location in the world.  Scouts have the option to go rock climbing, shoot cross bows, shoot pistols, go skateboarding in the second largest skatepark in the nation, go mountain biking, go whitewater rafting, complete merit badges, go ziplining down a three-quarter mile zipline; just to name a few of the many activities available.  While participating in these fun-filled activities, Scouts are meeting their peers from across the nation and creating new friendships and making lifetime memories that they can pass on to their hometown friends and family.

The National Jamboree also provides a learning experience for the Scouts.  Leadership Heights, a program pioneered by our very own Gary Schroeder, provided the opportunity for Scouts to build their Leadership Skills through actual mind-provoking computer simulations, team building games, and through a series of small group motivational speakers from strong prestigious leaders such as: Rex Tillerson (former US Secretary of State), David Scott (FBI Deputy Director of the Cyber Crime Unit), and Julie Sweet (CEO Accenture PLC).  The leadership skills learned at the Jamboree will carry our scouts forward for generations. 

Summit Apex, a program developed by the Jamboree Operation Arrow team, provided over forty different activities designed to “keep you engaged, excited to do more, explore more, and grow more as a Scout.”  Scouts rotated through different activities such as spike ball, corn hole, volleyball, tug a war, and Ultimate Frisbee to name a few.  The Apex program concluded with an evening program designed to Inspire, Encourage, and Propel you Forward on your Scouting journey.  The Apex evening program provided a strong foundation in the basic communication skills required to tell the Scouting story.  The program closed with Eagle Scout and well-known activist rapper AY Young premiering his latest scout inspired rap “Be Prepared” followed by pyrotechnics in tandem with the recital of the Scout Law.

Part of being a Scout is to “help other people at all times” and the 2023 Jamboree did not disappoint.  Scouts worked together in pairs to make over 5,000 flood buckets.  Each flood bucket included over fifteen items designed to help flood victims reconstruct their lives.  As a personal touch each Scout included a note offering words of encouragement to the flood victims. The supplies were underwritten by Walmart and private donators.  The flood buckets will be distributed to communities impacted by flooding across the United States.

The high adventure activities were open during the day.  At night, the Jamboree offered multiple sub-camp bashes that further promoted fellowship and comradery.  There were four different sub-camp bashes. The bashes included DJ’s and live bands, presentations, and drones that lit up the evening sky.  The evenings were a time where the Scouts could relax, dance, share their experiences with others, and generally have fun before heading off to their tents to rest before they started the next fun-filled day.

A National Jamboree is all things Scouting.  It is where all Scouts and Scouters come together to live and share in the Scout Spirit.  The theme for the 2023 Jamboree was “Forward.”  Scouts and leaders alike can move forward and share their Jamboree experiences and learnings with everyone.  This was my fourth Jamboree.  Every Jamboree has been unique and fulfilling and I cannot wait for the next one.