All for One and One for All
As 40,000 Boy Scouts listened to President George Bush congratulate them on the success of the Annual Boy Scout Jamboree, they could reflect on the fun and fellowship of the 10-day dream-come-true event. The President's closing-evening visit capped off a Jamboree that brought scouts and leaders together to put this year's theme - - Modern-day Explorers, Scientists and Adventures - -into action.
Image to right: The official Boy Scout/NASA patch highlights cooperation between the two organizations. Credit: NASA
The Boy Scout Jamboree, held every four years at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, was a time for scouts to assemble, share information, network and develop new skills. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the ideals that unite scouts and motivate them to achieve great things in their lives. NASA was there to help promote that idea - that with dedication and commitment, anything is possible.
After all, NASA and scouting believe in many of the same goals. Of the 276 men who have been NASA astronauts, 176 of them were a part of the Boy Scouting movement and 41 were Eagle Scouts. Over half of NASA's female astronauts were Girl Scouts. Since it was introduced in 1965, more than 289,000 scouts have earned the Space Exploration merit badge.
Even though this was the national Jamboree, 23 nations were represented and 232 international scouts attended the festivities. That added a global flavor to the patch trading and story swapping that the scouts delighted in.
Image to left: This sign invited Boy Scouts into NASA's Jamboree exhibit. Credit: NASA
NASA's National Exhibit was a popular spot at the Jamboree. The sprawling display area included NASA history and trivia (Did you know that the first Moon walk by Neil Armstrong in 1969 took place during that year's National Jamboree?). NASA also had plenty of scientists and engineers on hand to help scouts work on their astronomy and space exploration merit badges.
Visitors tested their skills at the electronic Brain Game station, full of questions and answers designed to challenge even the most knowledgeable scout. Astronauts Roger Crouch and Gregory H. Johnson signed over a thousand autographs as scouts and their leaders toured scale models of the solar system, the Mars Exploration rover and the Cassini spacecraft. At the closing presentation, a NASA video tribute was shown. Over 75,000 scouts, leaders and visitors attended and reflected on the many remarkable changes NASA, Boy Scouts and the nation have experienced over the years.
Image to right: Nick, James, Cully and Flenner represent Boy Scout Troop 522 at a scale model of the Cassini spacecraft. Credit: NASA
"I'm convinced that all the efforts made towards the Jamboree were worth it," said Ruth Netting, who works in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters as a policy analyst and also works with public outreach efforts like the NASA National Exhibit. Netting is the committee chair for Boy Scout Troop 647 in Arlington, Va., and a member of the Chain Bridge District Committee for the Nations Capital Area Council of Boy Scouts of America. "The little things mattered just as much as the big things. Whether it was a scout sharing dinner with an astronaut, or someone gazing at the fireworks, they left the Jamboree with new insights and new readiness to achieve great things."
Jamming at the Jamboree: a Preview of the National Boy Scout Jamboree
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The Scouting Jamboree
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The Boy Scouts of America
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NASA and Scouting: A Strong Alliance
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Maggie Griffin,NASA Educational Technology Services