Jamming at the Jamboree
If you work with Boy Scouts, it will come as no surprise that NASA has a strong connection with scouting. You'll see evidence of that link at the Boy Scouts of America's 2005 National Scout Jamboree, taking place July 25-Aug. 2. More than 40,000 scouts and leaders are expected to occupy more than 17,000 tents and 3,500 patrol kitchens at Fort A.P. Hill, just outside of Fredricksburg, Va. That's not counting the family members and general public -- numbering in the tens of thousands -- who will also visit the 10-day event.
Image to left: The official Boy Scout/NASA patch highlights cooperation between the two organizations. Credit: NASA
The Jamboree functions just like a city, complete with firefighters, police, stores, medics, food service, a U.S. Post Office and even a bus system. Recreational activities are everywhere -- scouts will have the opportunity to go swimming, diving, boating and rafting, rock and tower climbing, bicycling, and shooting at the archery and rifle ranges. The scouts also can participate in activities like buckskin games and a confidence course, as well as learn about or even earn Merit Badges. Program features reflect the spirit and skills of scouting, our national heritage, physical fitness and environmental conservation.
How does NASA fit into this action-packed week of scouting enrichment? Scouting encourages citizenship and leadership -- qualities possessed by many NASA employees, especially our astronauts. Approximately 64 percent of NASA astronauts were Boy Scouts and 11 of the 12 men who walked on the Moon were scouts. The Space Exploration Merit Badge was introduced by the Boy Scouts in 1965 and more than 289,000 scouts have earned one in the ensuing years! Many current NASA employees are scout leaders and plenty of them will be at the Jamboree.
Image to right: The Boy Scout/NASA postcard will allow Jamboree visitors to envision themselves exploring space. Credit: NASA
NASA's presence will be seen at the Jamboree where NASA astronauts, scientists, project managers and engineers will serve as staff. You may catch a glimpse of the specially designed NASA/Scouting patch and post cards. Visitors will also have a chance to see the NASA Exploration exhibit's interactive displays about exploring the Earth, the Moon, Mars and beyond, with models of the Mars Exploration Rover, the Cassini spacecraft and the Ares Mars plane. The exhibit also highlights NASA astronauts, scientists, engineers and managers with scouting backgrounds, and encourages students to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics -- perhaps even with NASA. In the "Vision for Space Exploration" trailer, a holographic video will give visitors a new look at the Moon and Mars.
A more subtle NASA influence will be felt at the Jamboree subcamps. The 20 camping areas on the Jamboree site are named after great modern-day American explorers, including three with NASA-related backgrounds.
Rain or shine, the Jamboree will be jamming. The Fort A.P. Hill Army facility has served as the permanent site for the National Scout Jamboree since 1981. Jamborees usually take place every four years, but the next event will be put off one extra year. That way, the 2010 Jamboree will be able to celebrate an extra-special aspect of scouting: the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts of America!
The Scouting Jamboree Web site
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Boy Scouts of America Web Site
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NASA and Scouting: A Strong Alliance
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Maggie Griffin/NASA Educational Technology Services