Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger , Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director
MY JOURNAL OF THE ACTUAL JAMBOREE ’73 EXPERIENCE
Well, we had spent a couple of years getting ready for the Scout Jamboree. It was truly a big job and a major undertaking. But, we managed to get everything done. But, ready or not, it was now time for the Jamboree! So exciting!
FRIDAY, JULY 27TH, 1973
The big day finally came. We left our Arizona Home for the National BSA Jamboree in Idaho! We were to leave at 6:00 AM but Fritz Rasmussen did not arrive until 6:45 AM. We stopped in Flagstaff for gas and then went on to the Glen Canyon Dam where we ate lunch. We then traveled to Richfield, Utah and are staying the night on the lawn of their youth center and the LDS Stake Center. Wendy and Aletha Johnson rode with us on the bus and stayed the night in a motel. [I don’t remember their plan. I know that they didn’t go to the Jamboree with us but I guess they were heading north for some reason.] I think the day went very well and the kids – Scouts – had a lot of fun.
SATURDAY, JULY 28TH,
We left Richfield at 8:00 AM Utah time. The bus driver was still on Arizona time so was an hour late. We went to the BYU campus and saw the Marriott Center and the Temple. We arrived in Salt Lake City about 2:00 Pm. At 3:00 Pm we had an interview with Apostle Delbert Stapley – who was from Arizona originally. We then toured the Temple grounds, bummed around and concluded the day at the “Promised Valley” theatrical production. We camped at a KOA campground. It cost 50 cents apiece. We also fasted supper.
SUNDAY, JULY 29TH,
We woke up at 6:00 AM and then had our own Priesthood meeting at 7:00 AM in one of the theaters in the Temple Visitor’s Center. [All three troops were present – and went together on the bus everywhere.] Next was the Tabernacle broadcast with the Tabernacle Choir and The Spoken Word. We toured the visitor’s center until 1:00 pm. We then went to eat at the “Chuck-A-Rama” smorgasbord. We had fasted breakfast today and supper last night. Dinner cost the troop $2.35 a boy.
We then went to the “This is the Place” monument. At 5:00 Pm we went to sacrament meeting at the S.L.C. 17th Ward. It was all old people in the ward. Our Scouts passed the sacrament. The old ladies said there is only one deacon in the ward and they were thrilled to have us there. The speaker said that was the first time in 20 years when they had 8 boys under age 16 passing the sacrament. Everyone came up afterwards and said how much they liked having us there. We went to Liberty Park for two hours, ate supper at Dee’s, and came back to the KOA. It was really a fun day. I especially enjoyed the sacrament meeting.
MONDAY, JULY 30TH,
We left Salt Lake City at 7:00 AM and traveled to Missoula, Montana. We stopped twice to eat. We traveled about 575 miles and we didn’t arrive until 7:00 PM. We stayed at the National Guard Armory in Missoula.
TUESDAY, JULY 31ST,
We got up about 6:00 AM and left at 7:30 AM from Missoula, Montana headed for the Scout Jamboree. We arrived in Farragut State Park about 12:00 Noon. We spent the afternoon setting up camp. One funny thing happened. The wind blew two “Jon” [KYBO] tents about 30 feet in the air. I went to Headquarters to try to find my brother, Kyle. [He had been in Washington with an uncle and they brought him to the Jamboree with their troop.] I went to the counter and there was General Authority Marion D. Hanks. I shook hands with him and talked with him a few minutes. At 9:00 PM, Scoutmaster Jim and I went to an orientation meeting. The backs of my knees are really getting sunburned. That is one bad thing about these Scout shorts.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1st,
Today was the official opening of the Jamboree. It started with a flag ceremony. They had 300 pigeons they let out when the Jamboree was declared in session. They also lit off a lot of firecrackers.
In the afternoon Jim, Don, Kenny and DeLane and I went hiking around. We went to the hiking booth. We learned how to climb 12 feet up a rope. There was also a demonstration in cliff climbing. We then went to the merit badge midway. I then washed my clothes and had a shower. The water was the coldest that I had ever felt. In the evening we went to the big opening arena show. Actor/Comedian Bob Hope was there and was really funny. They had skits, songs, etc. centered around the theme, “Growing Together”. The best part of the show was the fireworks at the end. It was better than any Fourth of July. At the very end they lit off about 10 of them at a time.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 2ND,
We woke up at 7:00 AM. The alarm didn’t go off. Everyone was slow and couldn’t get their work done. The Jamboree wide-game was today. Jim and I had a leader’s meeting at our Antelope Sub-camp headquarters. In the afternoon all of us went canoeing. David Killian, Markley Johnson and I started out for a national Eagle and Life meeting. We couldn’t find the place and arrived for the last ten minutes.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3RD,
This morning we went to the Octathalon competition. Robert, DeLane and I then went to the general exhibits, the arts and science expo and the merit badge midway. They were all interesting. At 4:30 Pm we had troop pictures taken. After supper I went and located Bret McRae – a family friend from Indio, California. Our troop is really starting to disappoint me. They fight and argue all of the time and the campsite is a big mess. I am wondering why I went to all of the work getting them here at all. Everything here is dusty. My sunburn didn’t hurt much today – which was a relief.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4TH,
This morning some of us went to the shooting range and also orienteering. In the afternoon we went swimming and on a hike. We hiked the High Point Trail. There was a signal tower at the top. When we climbed it, we could see all over the camp. I took several pictures. We were very surprised when Bishop Vaughn J Featherstone, of the church’s Presiding Bishopric, rode his bike into our camp. Everything was a big mess because we were trying to get cleaned up for Sunday. Our tents and dining flies blew down in the night.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5TH,
Our sacrament meeting – church service – started at 9:45 this morning. There were General Authorities (from Church headquarters) there. They included Bishop Vaughan Featherstone, Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown, Elder Marion D. Hanks and the General Primary board. Bishop Featherstone and Brown gave the talks. I was privileged to be one of the priests helping with the sacrament. DeLane Davidson of our troop was one passing the sacrament. They had about 40 priests and 104 deacons. It was really impressive to see so many LDS scouts at one time.
In the afternoon I went to the “Skill-O-Rama”. This was about like our Scout-O-Ramas at home. There were many interesting things there and things I had not seen before. At night we went to a campfire or fireside program with Brothers Featherstone and Hanks speaking.
MONDAY, AUGUST 6TH,
Today Scoutmasters Jim and Leon Jones and I went to a transportation meeting about leaving the Jamboree. I then went to the professional Scouting information booth and watched some slides on Scouting as a career. I went to the Skill-O-Rama again. In the evening we had a campwide (Antelope sub-camp) campfire program. It was terribly cold and we all froze while staying to be polite.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 7TH,
This morning I watched as some boys ran the obstacle course. We then went on a hike on the Deer Belt Trail. We saw many survival skills and also an old-time cowboy camp. In the afternoon we broke camp and prepared to leave the Jamboree. My mom, dad, sisters Lesa and Laurie and brother, Ray, joined us here today. [And my brothers Darcy and Kyle were with me already at the Jamboree]. Mom informed me that our wonderful neighbor, Clara Hardy, had died. This made me sad. We closed the evening with the big closing arena show.
Again the fireworks were the best part. Most of the boys slept “under the stars” because we had packed away the tents. My cousin, James Hunt – here with his Washington troop – came over to visit for a while today.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8TH,
We got up at 5:00 AM and ate breakfast. We then started (or finished) preparations to get out of camp. We returned the picnic tables, the “Jons” (the infamous yellow tents) and other things. We (the Hunt family) left the campsite at 7:15 AM. The troop was just waiting for the commissioner to come and inspect the site. We dropped David Killian off at the Spokane Airport on our way to Quincy, Washington. We arrived in Quincy – at the home of Uncle Richard Hunt at 11:00 AM. I had a nap for a couple of hours – which was much needed. I then had a hot bath. It was quite a change from the ice cold showers at the Jamboree. I took my mother to the laundry and she did her wash as I washed all of the Jamboree clothes for my brothers and me.
So, as noted, my family headed off for our own two-week vacation – following the Jamboree. I left my Troop 155 in the charge of Scoutmaster Jim (and the other two troops). They headed off on the bus. So, I have no recollection of their scheduled plans. I do remember that the bus was just going to head straight for Arizona. They were not to make any tourist stops along the way. It would have been fun to have been at the disembarking point at the church as the families gathered for their sons and heard of their Jamboree adventures. I am sure that after they had their own hot bath or showers – and had some cookies and milk – they would have said that the Jamboree was the greatest adventure of their lives. I know that it was for me. It truly was a dream come true. Such a grand experience. I was so glad that I was the catalyst to get the troop to the Jamboree – even with all of the work that it took from me and others.
I hinted at some of the events that we staged to earn our money for the Jamboree. We had every kind of fund-raiser imaginable over a two-year period. But, still, we did not totally earn all of our money. The bus alone cost us $3,300. At the conclusion of the Jamboree I presented the remaining bus bill (that we hadn’t totally earned) to our Bishop Max Killian (Bishop of our local Mesa, Arizona LDS ward) and I loved his comment. He took the bill and put it into his pocket as he said, “Cheap at any price!” Wow! (And I am certain that he personally paid the rest of the bill out of his own pocket. I will always be grateful to him for his kindness and support. What a wonderful gift.)
So, the Jamboree became history. I did have mention of a couple more incidents in my journal about it. That first Sunday after the Jamboree, we attended church meetings in Washington with our cousins and families. Their own Washington troop had been to the Jamboree so there was much said at their meetings about the grand time that their boys had had.
Our Jamboree experience was long before the days of our modern digital cameras. In those days, we had to have film and then sent them in for processing. I found a cheap place in California and sent them my ten or more rolls (from the Jamboree and my own vacation afterwards) for developing. I recorded on September 11th that I showed the slides to the troop – with the note that “some turned out quite good, while others were not too …”. Then on September 20, I noted that “we got our troop pictures taken at the Jamboree back today. I took them around to all of the Scouts.” And that photo has become a classic in our Troop 155 circles since then.
Thus, the Jamboree became a “done deal”. All of the equipment was stored away for future troop use. The cactus guys probably stood in a corner somewhere until someone decided that they had no useful purpose and were thrown out. (I wish I had a couple of them!) All of the Scouts went on with their own lives. In just a couple of months later, I headed off on my own new adventure – a two-year Church mission in Alabama and Florida. And now suddenly, I find that the Jamboree was more than 40 years ago. How could that be possible? But, many times through the ensuing years, I have thought back on my Jamboree experience. And those thoughts and memories always bring happiness and many smiles.
I got to relive some of those recently with the death of Scoutmaster Jim. I again reflected on this great Scoutmaster and his personal and family sacrifice for us, his Scouts. Wow! What a great man! Thanks, Scoutmaster Jim – for our grand Jamboree opportunity. Jim’s funeral was kind of a Troop 155 reunion – and of course, the memories of our 1973 Jamboree experience together came flooding out from everyone. Such great times! Oh, the fun … and the traditions … of our Scout Jamboree! Sweet!
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevinthescoutblogger
See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger. Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”, and others at his Scoutingtrails website. Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy Scout, The Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read! Find Kevin on Facebook at: Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.
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