Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger , Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director
THE LONG-TERM EFFECT OF OUR JAMBOREE EXPERIENCE
As we took our Troop 155 (“The Best Alive!”) from Arizona up to the national BSA Jamboree in Idaho we had a grand time. And we also created a wave effect that carried through the troop for many years. The momentum that Jim and I created with the troop was astounding.
In those days, the LDS Church established criterion for and awarded recognition for the “Top 50 Troops in the Church”. We applied after our first year of preparation for the Jamboree and were recognized as Troop #35 – in the entire Church. (And we didn’t even apply the second Jamboree year – when we were really fabulous!) And that momentum carried through for several more years in the troop. My youngest brother, Ray, was a part of the troop some five or six years later – and he still felt the momentum of that Jamboree trip. By then I had headed off on my church mission but “Johnson Jim” – as my brother called him – was still going strong as the Scoutmaster of good old Troop 155.
And Johnson Jim was still as great as ever. He truly was amazing as a Scout leader. My younger brothers loved Jim as much as I did. What a great man! Wow! Nothing was too much for Jim. He would give his heart and soul to do anything needed for his Scouts – often at too much of a personal sacrifice to him and to his family. But that was Jim!
Sadly, Scoutmaster Jim passed away just a few months ago (Oct. 2016) at age 80. How could he be gone … my Jamboree Scoutmaster? His passing gave me again opportunity to think of and smile about the Jamboree experience that we shared together. And his funeral became almost a troop reunion. (“155 – The Best Alive!”) Many of our former Scouts – including most from our Jamboree troop – were there and together we reminisced about the troop – and specifically about the grand “Growing Together” Jamboree experience that we had shared so long ago. The Jamboree spirit lived on within each of us!
Over the years I have sometimes run into guys from our troop – or from the other two troops who made the Jamboree trip with us. I had to laugh at one such experience. I had just met a new school bus driver with whom I would be working. Upon learning that his name was “Shill”, that name caught my memory and took me back to the Jamboree. I knew that there were two or more Shill boys with us from the Lehi troops. (Shills were some of the original founders of the Lehi village.) As I always do, I asked him the name of his father. I then asked if his father had attended the 1973 National Boy Scout Jamboree in Idaho. Jacob replied that he didn’t think so – that he had never heard his father talk of such an experience. But Jacob immediately texted his father and yes, his father – Rolland – was definitely a member of one of the Lehi troops. He noted that he had turned age 12 the week before so he had gone along as the youngest member of the group.
My driver friend later talked to his dad and the father shared many great Jamboree memories with Jacob. (I don’t know why that conversation hadn’t happened years before …) Jacob connected me with his father and he and I exchanged Jamboree memories together. I sent him many photos I had taken at the event. Being so young, he hadn’t received any photos from his leaders or family.
Another Jamboree related story:
A few years ago I was conducting a Scoutmaster training course for my district. This was held at our local Heard Scout Pueblo in south Phoenix. As a part of the training, I took all of the course participants on a tour of the camp facilities. One stop that we made was at the swimming pool. While there, I observed a unique vision on the face of one of the men. I could tell that something was happening. I asked him what was going on. He then related that he had grown up in California but that he and a council Jamboree contingent had stopped in Arizona en route. He had not remembered where that stop was but on this day at the Pueblo, he had a clear memory of the Arizona stop so long ago. As he was at the pool deck, he realized that he had been there on his Jamboree trip and had laid on a scorpion while sunning himself on the deck – and got bit by the creature! Funny!
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevinthescoutblogger
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