By Richard Winsor
As Rulon Skinner, my 1981 Jamboree Scoutmaster told me, “There are three reasons Scouts attend a Jamboree—fun, adventure, and romance. Fun – something you enjoy doing; adventure – doing something for the first time; and romance – the feeling of mystery and excitement apart from everyday life.
A Jamboree is all that. I will add that not all adventures are fun, and when certain adventures are over, you hope that and even promise yourself that you will never do that again.
This is the tale of two daughters, Erin and Rose, two Jamborees half a world apart, and the fun, adventure, and romance the two experienced.
Erin served on the National Jamboree Service Team as an Emergency Medical Technician. Erin was a participant at the 2013 and 2017 National Jamborees. Erin’s story:
“I’ve never been particularly lucky, but I’ve never really been unlucky. I’ve stayed in the middle my whole life until the 2023 National Jamboree.
Even before I arrived at The Summit, things had gone wrong and been stressful. My dad and I flew from Boise into Atlanta and were supposed to fly from there to Charleston, South Carolina. But our connecting flight was canceled, and the flight they put us on wasn’t until the following evening, and we had no way to get a rental car or our luggage.
So, my brother and sister drove down from South Carolina to rescue us. After spending the night on benches at the Atlanta airport and driving to my brother’s house, the rest of the day went well, even with our short time there. The following morning, we headed to The Summit.
Check-in went well, and I made it to base camp, dropped my things off, and headed to dinner. My name tag had been misprinted with the wrong job assignment and had no “P” sticker, which meant I didn’t get dinner that night. At that point, I didn’t even want to be there anymore. The medical staff had its first meeting that night. After meeting my bosses and supervisors, I hoped things would improve.
Throughout the Jamboree, my cot broke, I broke my supervisor’s truck, had a UTV breakdown while working, moved to a different tent after a week of not sleeping due to my tent mate’s snoring, and got a wasp sting that eventually sent me to the ER in Beckley for a day.
But I had people there to help set up my new cot and to move my things to my new tent. My supervisor didn’t care that I broke his truck, and people came to tow the UTV after it broke down. Being an EMT also made all my bosses and supervisors medically trained to help me through the excruciating and problematic wasp sting.
Completing the “Be a Light Award” helped bring my focus back to all the good things happening on the Jamboree. It helped me see that my service to the participants and other staff members was important and was a way to show people the light of Christ and his love for them.
It also helped me recognize the love I felt from Heavenly Father through the people who helped me. In the LDS Church Service at the Jamboree, several people talked about how God puts us in the right place with the right people, and that couldn’t have been more true for my Jamboree experience. Even with rough parts, the Jamboree was where I needed to be, and the people around me were exactly the people I needed with me.”
Rose served at the World Jamboree on the International Service Team as a Faiths and Believes Group member. Rose attended the 2017 National Jamboree with her sister Erin. Rose’s story:
“A World Scout Jamboree in South Korea was a match made in Heaven in my eyes. I attended the WSJ in 2019 at the Summit and loved every moment. I have been interested in South Korean culture, movies, and music for years. It made perfect sense for me to go to Korea and apply to be on the International Service Team. When I finally got there, it was a dream come true.
I was able to meet amazing people, broaden my cultural horizons, see beautiful sites, and eat some delicious food. I was very blessed that I was able to experience everything I wanted, even more. What I didn’t expect to be on my list of adventures was a heat wave, a typhoon, sleeping on plastic pallets, supplying my own soap in the bathroom, and scraped-up hands and knees.
It would have been easy to focus on all the negative things around me. It’s all anyone really talked about outside of work. But I was healthy and happy. I knew that what I focused on at the Jamboree would be what I remembered most. What I wanted to get out of this amazing but trying experience was that I had a great time with even greater people. It helped that I was engulfed in a positive environment every single day.
At the Jamboree, I worked at the Vanguard Exhibit. Before I could help the visitors at our booth earn the “Be A Light Award,” I had to earn it for myself.
I had known about the requirements for the award months in advance, and I had tried to spiritually prepare to assist others in earning it. Yet, I still struggled with putting into words what faith is to me. Earning the award for myself was the best way to prepare myself for being able to help others.
The atmosphere at our booth was so inviting and uplifting that there was nowhere else I wanted to be. I learned so much about myself and fellow Scouts from around the world. There were opportunities for service everywhere, and it was incredible to witness people taking those opportunities inside and outside the Vanguard Exhibit. Because of the service rendered, I felt confident in my choice to keep working at the Jamboree.
My favorite day in the Vanguard Booth was Sunday. We held a Sacrament Meeting in a nearby tent, and after that, the plan was to close the exhibit for the day. I was so excited as I watched people from so many different countries show up for our meeting. After church, most of them followed us back to the booth, eager to earn the “Be A Light Award.” My heart was so full as we were able to work with groups of people to earn their awards.
The work done and words shared in the Vanguard Booth changed lives. There are people worldwide shining the light of Christ, and I am so grateful to have witnessed even a small piece of that in South Korea.
Submitted by Richard Winsor