"Every time we [hold the jamboree], it's the biggest introduction to diving in history," says Bob Tallent, scuba staff leader.
At the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, a large new pool complex known as the Pools is open. Located by the road between Base Camp D and the Park, the Pools consist of four pools, a shower block and tents for bag storage and changing clothes. Each pool is four feet deep and 80 by 40 feet, holding 12,800 cubic feet of water.
"You don't have to make an appointment to come," said Jerry Wall, chief diving officer. "You just come on in and get in line." All facilities are open to Scouts and Venturers.
The major attraction at The Pools is scuba diving. Throughout the day, two of the pools are dedicated to beginners who have never had experience with diving. Novice divers are taught all the basics of the experience, such as how to clear a mask and breathing from an alternate air source.
The other two pools are for experienced divers or those who have finished with the beginner pool. There, divers learn more complex skills such as underwater navigation or rescue. All this is made possible by the 271 regulators and 450 air tanks provided to the jamboree by XS Scuba.
"You won't see this many tanks anywhere else, except maybe at a manufacturer," says Wall.
Scuba isn't the only activity at the Pools. Between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. each evening, free swim is open to anyone.
Staff are also working to produce a scuba experience for participants attending the jamboree with a disability who would need special training or equipment to dive safely.
Visitors to the Pools should come prepared.
"Scouts really ought to come wearing their swimsuits," says Tallent. "Having everyone stop to change slows the process way down. We do have changing rooms if it's really necessary, but we'd rather [participants] came prepared. You can always change afterwards."
Participants should still wear closed-toed shoes and socks when hiking to and from the Pools and remember to wear sunscreen.