United States Boy Scout Uniforms: Jamborees

Figure 1.--These Scouts at the 1981 Natioanl Jamboree are considering their trading strategy at the many sites where patch trading is conducted.

The national Scout jamboree is a gathering of thousands of Scouts and celebration of Scouting. Many countries now hold them. The tradition was begun in England, but not immediately picked up on by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The first American National Jamboree was not held until 1937. The BSA has held it in various locations. For a while they alternated coasts. The Jamboree is now held every 4 years at a permanent location so that facilities do not have to be created each year from scratch. The location is Fort AP. Hill in Virginia. The BSA took several years to develop this schedule and location. Scouts from all over the Uited States as well as some foreign Scouts attend the Jamboree. It is the most widely attended of the several unique experiences that the BSA offers.

Specific Jamborees

The first American Scout Jamboree was held in 1937. They have been held at different intervals and at different locations around the country, including both costs. In one year the jamboree was held at two sites simultaneously. Jamborees are now held every 4 years at a permanent site--Fort Polk, Virginia near Frederickburg. Scences from the various jamborees are a good indicator of changing uniform styles. All the Jamborees have required the short pants uniform, even at the first jampboress when most Scouts were wearing knickers or long pants uniformns. The jamborees were then held around the country as a means to promoting Scouting nationally. Since 1981, the U.S. Army has allowed the BSA to use Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia as the home location of national Scout jamborees. A jamboree is held for ten consecutive days and offers many activities for youth participants and the 300,000 members of the general public who visit it. It is considered to be Scouting at its best. We have some information on specific U.S. national Scout jamborees.


Trading Patches

I'm not sure when patch trading first began. It is, however, a long established tradition at American Scout Jamborees. It was a way to meet other Scouts from different Concils and parts of the country. It was fun to being hime patches feom different parts of the country and a remonder of all the different people you met. As foreihn Scouts also attended the Jamboree, it was possible to trade for foreign as well as American Scout patches. All different kinds of Scout patches were traded, but the prize patches were the patches for the different Scout Councils around the country. The idea at first was just to trade new friends and acquaintences patch for patch on a one for one basis. Some Scouts continued to collect parchesas adult Scouters and some old patches acquited real value. Also patch tarding changed. Some Scouts tried to get as many patches as possible and demanded multiple patches for some patches that proved particularly desiravle because of the color pattern or design.


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Created: December 18, 2002
Last updated: 3:14 AM 6/11/2008