Finally, 31,500 Scouts and their 3,500 Scoutmasters have arrived at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. In hours, Fort A.P. Hill has become the fourteenth largest city in the commonwealth of Virginia.
Although temperatures have cooled to under three-digits, it was still quite warm. Given the amount of logistics involved in instantly moving in nearly 45,000 residents in under twelve hours, hot heads might be expected.
Nothing could be further from reality.
Today, my Jamboree Today colleagues watched as Scouts formed lines reminiscent of old fire bucket brigades, shuttling luggage and equipment from their busses into their campsites in an organized way. Troop mess officers filed through the commissary to pick up their large plastic totes of food—each which included a huge frozen ball of pulled pork large enough to feed 40. The Scouts lent each other a hand, and took care of the whole, setting aside their personal priorities.
Even with the sudden influx of people, the vibe of the jamboree site didn’t sway from the pleasant Mayberry-like feel it has acquired over the last few days as staff members have prepared for the impending arrivals. People smiled upon passing, even asking, “How do you do?”
Now, with thousands of young men swarming, one might expect chaos. There is certainly bustle, but the most common words I’ve heard tonight are, “Hi! I’m Johnny, what’s your name?” Within moments, names and hometowns are exchanged, and the two strangers are chatting it up like old friends.
This feeling of welcome and courtesy has extended beyond the physical borders of the jamboree into cyberspace. Less than 30 hours ago, Jamboree Today hung its shingle in the Facebook and Twitter social media spheres. Within hours, most of a thousand followers had accumulated, telling stories, sharing photos, introducing themselves, and pointing out handy resources.
Courtesy is more than saying please and thank you or offering to get your dining mates something when you get up. Sometimes it’s just as simple as offering greetings to a newfound stranger—or is that a newfound friend?
This week and next, I plan to blog about Scouting’s main principles as set out in the Scout Motto, Scout Law, and Scout Slogan.
Daniel M. Reck, M.S.Ed., is a copy editor for Jamboree Today, the daily newspaper of the Boy Scouts of America National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. An Eagle Scout, he is also the Assistant Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and Involvement at Monmouth College in Illinois.