National Scout Jamboree

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Gregory J. Knott

This past week in West Virginia, the Boy Scouts of America held the 2017 National Scout Jamboree. I have attended this once every four-year event three times, in 1981 as a Scout, in 2010 as an adult leader and staff member, and in 2013 in visiting with my son Hayden.

This scouting event is unlike anything else the Boy Scouts put on.  45,000 scouts from around the United States and the world gather together to celebrate the world-wide brotherhood of Scouting.  Held at the Summit, which is the BSA’s new high adventure base, scouts can participate in an almost limitless number of activities such as fishing, zip lines, boating, swimming, learning a new skill such as movie making merit badge or engineering merit badge.

The scouts are organized into Troops of 36 scouts and four adult leaders.  Within the troop many of the scouts will have a leadership role such as Patrol Leader, Quarter Master, Chaplains Aide, etc.  These troops are made up of scouts from a large geographic area or Council.  The scouts will be with other scouts they may not know well, but will by the end of this two-week trip.

The troops must prepare their own meals, keep their campsite in an acceptable condition, and be active in the daily planning of the activities the troop will participate in.  The scouts are learning and applying leadership skills daily.  The transformation that you see in these young scouts in this short of time is nothing but remarkable.  

I often think of scouting in parallel with Freemasonry.  Both organizations share similar values, provide leadership opportunities, allow for individual skill development, encourage the growth of the individual character, and ultimately improve your ability to serve your god, your country, your neighbor and yourself.

There is a song that the scouts often sing at a campfire to end the day, the Scout Vesper sung to the tune of “O Tannenbaum”.  The first verse is as follows:

Softly falls the light of day, 
While our campfire fades away. 
Silently each Scout should ask 
Have I done my daily task? 
Have I kept my honor bright? 
Can I guiltless sleep tonight? 
Have I done and have I dared 
Everything to be prepared?

Whether it be scouting or freemasonry this simple but powerful message applies. Are you doing everything you can in your lodge to be prepared?


WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.  

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