2023 marks the triumphant return of the Boy Scouts of America's® National Jamboree. During the event, Scouts from across America gather in West Virginia for 10 days of hiking, adventure sports, and other Scout-related activities. As one of the Boy Scout of America’s flagship events, the Jamboree presents young men and women the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships and create a week and a half of unforgettable memories.
The National Jamboree requires months, even years, of careful planning and prep. If you plan to attend the event, you probably registered long ago, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to prepare. That's why Carrot-Top created this guide telling you all about the event, what to expect, and how to prepare your troop for a fun-filled time! Read on for more information! In the meantime, you can order your custom 2023 official Jamboree flag from Carrot-Top Industries.
What to Expect from the 2023 BSA National Scout Jamboree
If this is your first time attending the National Scout Jamboree, expect the event to be huge. The Jamboree brings approximately 40,000 scouts, adult leaders, and staff nationwide to the Summit Bechtel Reserve. The Summit Bechtel Reserve, known officially as the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, is a 10,000-acre facility centered in the heart of Appalachia.
Scouters can reach the summit via I-77 or I-64 right outside of Beckley, West Virginia. For Jamboree participants that plan to fly in, the closest major airport is in Charleston, West Virginia, about an hour and 15 minutes from camp. Once there, campers can enjoy a range of activities and Scout traditions on a never-before-seen scale.
What Are the National Scout Jamboree Activities?
Well, for starters, there are plenty to choose from, including whitewater rafting, archery, rock climbing, fishing, zip lining, skateboarding, swimming, and more. There is also a large network of trails tailored for hiking, mountain biking, and ATV riding. The full list of facilities and activities includes:
- Adventure Valley: home to a rock-climbing wall, cross-country mountain biking, ropes courses, zip lines, and kayaking on Tri-Dave Lake.
- The Canopy: adventurers may zoom through a large network of zip lines for an exhilarating experience.
- Thrasher Mountain: here, Scouts may take advantage of The Park, the summit’s first-rate skateboard park, or work through a thrilling BMX course.
- The Boys and Barrels: this is where adults and youth participants can partake in a vast range of shooting sports, including shooting and archery.
- Goodrich Lake: Scouts who prefer spending time in the water may fish, kayak, enjoy stand-up paddling boarding, or work through the expanded Water Reality course.
- The Scout Summit Center: Considered the hub of Jamboree activity, Scouts will have several opportunities to learn through hands-on activities, collect merit badges, and explore new careers. This will be the only area open to visitors and feature a small sample of the high-adventure activities available for the rest of the participants.
- Stadium Shows: Beyond the activities listed, scouts and adult participants begin and end the event with stadium shows. The shows usually feature high-profile politicians and musicians. Past performers have included the likes of The Beach Boys and Switchfoot. These shows are a great way to foster camaraderie and build excitement for the event.
It is important to note that most of these activities are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Whitewater rafting is the only activity not included in the National Jamboree Fee. Troops that wish to whitewater raft pay an additional fee due to the added expense of the activity.
Important Jamboree Traditions
The huge selection of activities isn’t the only thing that makes the Jamboree a week of non-stop exhilaration. Attendees can also participate in unique traditions during their downtime.
For example, adult leaders can show their friendship for one another through a tradition called patch trading. Troops that attend the Jamboree receive a specially made patch, which can then be traded with other troops from around the country. Patch trading is the chance to collect unique emblems from pop culture. Past popular patches include Ron Jon Surf Shop, Marvel superheroes, Star Wars characters, and Super Mario.
Another essential tradition you do not want to miss is decorating your gateway. This is a chance to proudly display your troop’s council name and state by hoisting your custom flag. Those who want a flag to decorate their gateway can order a 2023 official Jamboree flag from Carrot-Top Industries.
Boy Scout Jamboree: Patch Trading
What Training is Required for Unit Leaders?
Attending the National Scout Jamboree requires much planning and preparation to ensure each Scout's safety. Therefore, all Jamboree Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, unit care providers, and adult chaperones must complete Youth Protection Training on or after July 19, 2022. Once their training is complete, adult leaders are required to help facilitate a pre-Jamboree training experience with their local council.
Additional Requirements for Adult Leaders
- Submit your BSA Annual Health and Medical Record via the online Jamboree submission process found through your my.scouting account. Must be dated on or after July 1, 2022.
- Submit your registration fees per your local council’s payment schedule.
For the complete list of requirements, visit the National Jamboree website.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often is the National Scout Jamboree?
The National Scout Jamboree occurs every four years and two years after the World Scout Jamboree. However, the last National Scout Jamboree, slated for 2021, was canceled due to COVID-19. The 2023 National Scout Jamboree will be the first Jamboree in six years.
What is the Purpose of the National Scouts Jamboree?
The purpose of the National Scout Jamboree is to gather Scout troops from across the country for 10 days' worth of Scouting-related activities. The goal is to deepen the participant's understanding and commitment to the ideals of Scouting while providing enriching activities. It also allows youth participants to connect with others from around the nation in a way that fosters camaraderie and brotherhood.
Who is Allowed to Attend the National Scout Jamboree?
Scouts who have reached their 12th birthday before the first day of the Jamboree can attend as youth participants. Youth participants must be under 18; however, since the BSA canceled the 2021 Jamboree, those between the ages of 18-20 who attend through the Young Adult program will have the same access to events as youth participants. Anyone who falls into that age bracket and is a Sea Scout, part of the Scouts BSA, or a Venturing crew member, may attend the National Scout Jamboree.
In addition to Scouts and Scoutmasters, anyone with a current BSA membership can attend the event as Jamboree staff, provided they have completed their assigned training. The event is also open to visitors on select days, which means friends and family join their Scout in a range of activities, providing fun for everyone.
How Are Jamboree Groups Organized?
Regular Scout troops cannot register to attend the event directly. They must apply through their local council, which creates a Jamboree committee in charge of coordinating the event logistics.
This committee then organizes the Jamboree troops into 40-person groups. Each group must have 36 Scouts BSA, Venturers, Sea Scouts, or Explorers and a minimum of four adult leaders. BSA refers to two or more groups from the same council as a Jamboree contingent.
If your council contingent is unable to form a group of 40, they can form partial units of 10, with eight Scouts and two adults. These smaller groups will combine with groups from nearby councils. Units can include more than four adults, allowing parents to participate in the Jamboree alongside their children.
What is the History of the National Scout Jamboree?
The Boy Scouts of America scheduled the first Jamboree for 1935 in Washington, D.C., to celebrate 25 years of scouting. Although the event was postponed until 1937 due to a polio outbreak, the BSA continued the tradition every four years. Historical locations for the Jamboree include Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania and Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. The Jamboree officially moved to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in 2013.
Order Your Custom 2023 Jamboree Flag From Carrot-Top Industries
Our officially licensed Jamboree flag features white letters on a red and blue background and the official Jamboree logo in the center so you can show off your troop pride with class and style. But hurry! Our custom flags take 6-8 weeks to process, so you must order ahead for them to be ready in time for the Jamboree. To get started, check out your 2023 Jamboree flag order or fill out our contact us form to speak with a Flag Pro today!