Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jamboree Q & A - With Russell Smart

Russell Smart is the volunteer team leader for all program activities at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, and does invaluable work in getting the entire event off the ground. It seriously could not happen if it weren't for him.That's all to say that he really, really knows what he's talking about when it comes to the Jambo.  :-)

Scroll on down to check out the first in a long Q and A series about what's new for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

Question 1: (Facebook Link)

Question: What will be the biggest difference between the 2013 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit and the one in 2010 at FAPH?

Answer: Wow. That’s a tough one because there are a lot of differences.  The BSA had eight jamborees at FAPH between 1981 and 2010 and there were huge differences in each one of those.

Biggest change? Our own site with all brand new facilities, each one the best available.  How’s that for a start?  But let me just mention a couple of things specific to the Jamboree.  The program will be much more intense at the Summit than was possible at FAPH.  We will have massive zip lines, challenging BMX tracks, incredible mountain biking trails, multiple shooting venues, and even whitewater rafting.

We had some of these activities at FAPH but NOTHING like they will be at the Summit.  And all youth participants will get the chance to spend an extended amount of time doing activities at two of these areas that they get to choose in advance.  We call that the “curriculum” program model.  Let me suggest that you check out the Summit website for much more information on the Summit Jamboree design.

There's more Jambo info on the blog at and registration info at

Question 2: (Facebook Link)

Question: How does the size of the jamboree site at the Summit compare to FAPH?

Answer: At FAPH, walking from one end of the jamboree area to the opposite end was a 4-5 hour hike. And that was if you walked pretty fast.  For some of our units at FAPH, just walking to the Arena took 3 hours or more.

At the Summit, the most distance campsite is only about 1.25 miles from the Arena.  And the distance from any campsite to the furthest program area is less than 3 miles.  At the 2013 Jamboree, doing programs is how we want to spend most of our time – and we will.

Not that we mind hiking, ‘cause we’re Scouts, right? :-)  Plus all of our participants will get the chance to hike some of the awesome trails at the Summit when they do the Jamboree Trek (but that’s something we can talk more about later).

P.S.  For those of you who want a more mathematical answer, the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) is over 10,000 acres, but we will only use about 1,000 of those acres for the Jamboree.  As the proverbial crow flies, SBR is about 3 miles across one way and about 3-1/2 miles across the other way.  Topographically speaking, the difference between the lowest and highest elevations at SBR is about 1000 vertical feet.  But the elevation from the lake to the top of the highest camping area in the jamboree site is only about 200 vertical feet.

Question 3: (Facebook Link)

Q: Russell, who's creating all of the high adventure program facilities at the Summit?

A:  “World Class” is the term that best describes the guys who are working hard to get the Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) ready for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. The Summit leadership did extensive research and interviews before selecting the “best of the best” to design and build each part of our high adventure program areas.

Bonsai Designs, El Dorado Walls, Spohn Ranch, Gravity Logic, Action Parks and The Shooting Academy were chosen and working with each of them has been a fantastic experience.  They all tell us that when SBR is complete we will have the most complete, most comprehensive high adventure facility in the entire world!  And speaking of the entire world, that’s who’s coming to visit in 2019 when the BSA partners with the Scouts of Canada and Mexico to host the 24th World Scout Jamboree at the Summit.

Stay tuned.

Question 4: (Facebook Link)

Q: For Jambo visitors (people not actually registered  for the Jamboree, but want to check it out), what kind of stuff will be at the Summit?

A: Much more than was ever available at FAPH.  As always, we will have a large variety of exhibits & displays and lots of entertainment and demonstrations for everyone to see and do – we’ll talk more about those in a later post.  These will be in what we call the “Summit Center” which is about 100 acres in the heart of the jamboree footprint adjacent to Goodrich Lake (BTW, that’s the main water feature at the Summit where we will do most of the aquatics program activities).

In the Summit Center itself, there will be some great high adventure program areas which will be available to both participants AND visitors.  These include zip lines, canopy tours, BMX tracks, skateboard parks, mountain biking trails, shooting venues, and climbing walls.  These facilities will not be as extensive as those out in the high adventure basecamps only open to participants, but no doubt about it … they will still be AWESOME!

Keep checking back on the Summit Blog for much more information about the visitor experience planned for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

Source: The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve Facebook Notes Page

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