Final attendance numbers from the 2013 jamboree

The photos have been shared with Mom, Dad, and everyone on Facebook; the patches found a safe place in a binder or box; and the muddy clothes have been washed (and rewashed).

All that’s left to do is look back on a game-changing, awesome 2013 National Jamboree. Just as many of you have spent the last week thinking about those 10 days, so too has the hard-working staff at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Who needs sleep, right?

Today, the Summit team released the final attendance numbers for participants, visitors and staff. We even got a count of the number of service hours recorded during all those Messengers of Peace Day of Service projects. 


The big number is 30,037 youth and adult participants. That breaks down as 2,782 Scouting adult leaders, 2,118 Venturing participants, 455 Venturing leaders and 24,682 Boy Scout and Varsity Scout youth participants.

In jamboree historical context, 2013’s attendance total was the smallest since 1981, when 29,765 participants attended the first jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.

Of course, last month’s jamboree was also the first at a new location, so it’s an apt comparison. As it did for each subsequent jamboree at A.P. Hill, the attendance number for Summit jamborees should climb every four years. We’re off to a nice start.

International Scouts

The jamboree was hosted by the Boy Scouts of America, but all Scouts worldwide were welcome. In the end, 326 participants from 18 different countries helped us officially open the Summit last month.

If you were there, you surely noticed these international Scouts’ brightly-colored uniforms — and the crowd of American Scouts surrounding them, ready to trade patches, neckerchiefs, pins, hats or the shirts off their back.


Only in Scouting would 6,224 people use their precious vacation days and hard-earned cash to work for two weeks straight. Servant leadership at its finest.


The Summit tried a different model for visitors this time, offering lots more activities and experiences for visitors but also charging an admission fee.

A total of 15,732 visitor days were purchased, meaning thousands were able to say they were there at the first Summit jamboree.

Service hours

Also new this year was the ultimate service project. Scouts and Venturers ventured off the Summit property to give back to West Virginia communities. They painted fences, built trails, erected bat houses, constructed wheelchair ramps and more. The best part: Several Scouts I asked said their favorite jamboree experience was this day of service.

Grand total: 148,800 service hours through the Messengers of Peace Day of Service. I’d wager we’ll see this successful, meaningful program return in 2017.

Beyond the numbers

So that’s it. One week since Scouts and Venturers departed the Summit, happy but exhausted after Going Big and Getting Wild, all that’s left are the memories and the “I can’t believe I got to … ” stories.

And while the numbers are interesting, especially in a historical context, what really matters is the experience of each individual Scout and Venturer. And if this mom’s letter (and the comments below) are any indication, this jamboree was a great success.

Aerial photo copyright Boy Scouts of America

99 thoughts on “Final attendance numbers from the 2013 jamboree

  1. Bryan: Are the 6,224 Staff members part of the 30,037 total number? Or do we add the two numbers together to get the final tally?

      • What about visitors on guest pass (12,192) included in the 30,037 participants count? If not then it seems this was BIGGER in participation as other took advantage of going outside of their Troops, Districts and Council groups and went with the family as a vacation.

  2. That’s the number attending. The more important question is How Many Scouts, Scouters, Potential Staff Members and Volunteers were not allowed to attend simply because their BMI was not in line with Wayne Brock and his so called optimum Physical Fitness Requirements. Brock, if he is to be the leader of BSA, has to be held accountable to those not allowed to attend. And I mean as a resident camper. Let the excuses fly.

    • It’s not Wayne Brock’s numbers; it the US Center for Disease Control’s and the medical profession’s numbers.

      Folks who the US Government has defined as obese and morbidly obese have always been restricted from BSA High Adventure Bases, both for their own safety and for the difficulty in carrying them out to medical care if they were injured.


      for info on the standards used.

      Finally, here’s an analysis by real MD’s who were on the scene of how the guidelines helped preserved the health of the participants:

      • Blah Blah Blah. Let the government determine our total life. From cradle to grave. Were you given permission to reply? Probably. I asked a simple question knowing that the IRS, NSA and POTUS will have access. Oh Well.

        • Mike were you there? There was good reason for the requirements. There always has been weight requirements at out High Adventure bases and that is what this location is a High Adventure base. I was there and it was very challenging.

        • Mike,

          The policy was in place before Wayne Brock became the CSE. Similar guidelines have been in place at Philmont since the 1990’s based upon CDC recommendations and the ability of a SAR team to carry someone out without significant risk to themselves. I had to lose a substantial amount of weight (65 pounds) to go to Philmont and the Jamboree this summer. As a physician, I support those guidelines. They are reasonable and sensible. Through primarily diet, I was able to lose a significant amount of weight so others can as well.

          Yours in Scouting,
          Trent Nichols, MD, PhD

        • Seriously? Really? I mean, are you serious about that? A 5’5″ scout with a BMI over 40 would be 250lbs. That is borderline child abuse. Of course there may be exceptions where there a legitimate medical reasons, but most likely it is that the parent is not offering the child a sensible diet.

          Anyone can reply.

    • Mike – I’m curious as to whether you attended the Jamboree at the Summit, and actually spent time visiting the different venues there. As an ASM for a Jamboree Troop that did participate in the Jamboree, I can tell you that we had Scouts in our Troop that actually had difficulty getting from place to place at the Summit, even though they met the BMI requirements. The Trek up Garden Ground Mountain proved particularly difficult for some Scouts, as well as the trip up to The Cloud. After watching some Scout struggle with the demanding terrain, and covering a lot of ground every day myself, I understand why the BMI limits are in place. Rather than be critical of the BMI requirements put in place, I would encourage you, your unit, and your District to work with those Scouts, Scouters, potential Staff Members, and volunteers to get their BMI below those levels so they can take full advantage of the wonderful opportunities that are presented at the Summit.

      • Blair, I am not worried about those who did attend. My concern is for those who were NOT allowed to attend. Fort A. P. Hill is but 15 miles from me. There were no limitations such as those imposed by BSA 3 years ago for this type of activity. Forget those who attended. They received what they wanted. This is simply about those who were not allowed to do so. Concentrate on them. What say ye now?

        • All previous Jamborees were held on flat terrain. This was the first to be held at a rugged BSA High Adventure Base. Thus the long-standing medical rules for BSA High Adventure Bases apply. I had to meet them to go to Philmont in 2000.

        • Philmont, Appalachian Trail, Woodbadge. You would exclude participants? They can’t decide for themselves? BSA Deliberately set up a camp so that only the elite could attend? Such compassion we have. TSK TSK on us.

        • By that logic, Mike, I suppose you would say that kids should also be able to say “I don’t need to pass the swimming test” to take a canoe out or “I don’t need any safety instruction” before firing a rifle.

          Seriously, this is well-documented a health and safety issue. Period. There are plenty of local Scout activities that folks who are morbidly obese can participate in safely, hopefully to help them work towards meeting their obligation under the Scout Oath “To be Physically Strong”

      • I lost 60 pounds and trained for 2 years… and it still was a challenge for me. In the 2 1/2 weeks I was at the Summet I lost 12 more pounds. It’s a good thing they impose the restrictions.

    • There are two things I would like to say and I will leave it at that. First, one of the aims of Scouting is “Development in physical, mental, and emotional fitness.” It’s for this reason that Personal Fitness is required for Eagle. Second, let’s be clear—the BMI that barred attendance was 40. If I had a BMI of 40, I would weigh 295 pounds. That is morbidly obese, and I should be working to bring that way down.

      • Thank you Joe. Finally an honest answer. However, Every scouting organization from the lowest level to the district and counsels know. And we will never find out. BTW, Would professional sports people have to follow the BMI Rule? With enough money – NOPE!

        • I side with the scouts on this one. The Govt has nothing what so ever to do with this. Someone with a high BMI might not be able to help it but I am not seeing a lot of people taking your side. I would not attack staff who went that some are saying might not or did not meet the requirement, they were not paid to be there and without their participation this event would not have happened. Why should an individual with a high BMI possibly become a burden to others? Instead of whining because in your opinion somehow some people were excluded why don’t you realize that this was not an easy decision to make. I have been associated with the scouts for over 40 years now and don’t ever recall anyone whining because they were out of shape or overweight. Did you know there are places outside of scouts where the overweight have to make reservations ahead of time to ride a horse? They are also limited in how long they can ride. As for Fort AP Hill and why it is not there do the research.

      • I would say that Philmont learned their lesson early on in allowing those who were out of shape or with major health issues to participate in their hikes. In a Lot of places it would require an airlift to remove a person ‘down’, along with other problems it would cause. I, Personally, would not want to attend something knowing, KNOWING, my health would prevent me from enjoying the experience.

    • I know many people were upset about the “restrictive BMI”, but in all honesty, it (a) wasn’t that restrictive (32 + *2* associated serious health problems), and (b) if you didn’t meet that requirement, you really would have had a difficult time participating.

      Many of the adventure areas were a solid hour+ brisk walk away from the camps, and from each other. Note that the NIH definition of “obese” is 30, not 32.

      I qualify as a large person, it has been an on-going issue to get and stay under the BSA weight limit (246 lbs @ 6′ 1″). I’m much healthier than I would be otherwise. I thank the BSA for forcing me to deal with my weight issues over the last 5 years.

      And I lost 10 lbs in 10 days @ the Jamboree, without ever being hungry, and it wasn’t just water-weight, because it is still off a week later.

      • Ah. Force. That is how we do it in scouts. FORCE! I can only presume you have a very high Eagle percentage rating since you are ok with using FORCE. Welcome to the BSC. Boy Scouts of CHINA. They use FORCE!

        • I really don’t won’t to reply to this, but I’d like to clarify.

          The BSA didn’t “force” me to lose weight. They established physical fitness standards for participation in high adventure and backcountry activitities. I CHOSE to partiticipate in those activities, and in order to do so, that required me to meet that standard. Yes, that caused me to examine and address my personal issues, but that in no way constituted “force”. Perhaps I didn’t realize how literally some words can be taken.

          And what’s an Eagle percentage rating? Never heard of it. Every Eagle that I’ve seen has chosen to do so of their on free will, regardless of (or in spite of) the actions of other youth, adult leaders, or their parents. I couldn’t “force” a Scout to earn Eagle even if I wanted to.

    • Now, I do not have access to medical records, but I will say, that from the looks of some of the staff (and I was on staff) that there were a number who certainly did not meet the BMI requirements. So the question is: How did they get on staff? More than likely because they were driven to their work areas, did not have to hike far to their duty station or had an assignment driving/riding in a vehicle.

      • I was on staff. I’m over weight, and I hiked 5-6 miles a day to go to work. The BMI was a guideline, not a hard and fast rule. No one at registration was there to stop an adult from volunteering because of their weight.

      • I was also on staff and also over the BMI limit. I came knowing that I was going to have to suck it up and deal with it. I have a great medical and family history, which played a component.

        I won’t pretend that I didn’t get a ride on an ATV from time to time, but it was always a group of people traveling very long distances, with cargo, that got a ride – never from camp to camp.

        It is a fine line that SBR had to walk in application of the BMI restriction. It all comes down to using good judgement. One one hand, you’ve got people accusing them of being a nanny and dictating what people can and can’t do. On the other hand you’ve got people like the CDC, BSA High Adventure Guidelines, and a huge host of Medical evidence that suggests that putting someone with a BMI of 40 into an extremely active, and very hot environment isn’t the smartest thing to do. If someone put a golf cart on the Autobahn, you’d question their judgement. We’re talking about people’s lives here and I would expect better judgement to be used in those cases. I’m glad the BSA used that better judgement in this case.

        Lastly – The BSA isn’t a government, or a democratic institution – you either meet their rules or you don’t (aka “You must be THIS tall, to ride this ride). They have an obligation to keep those in their program safe. If their current physical, mental or emotional state isn’t ‘safe’ from the beginning, we can’t expect the BSA to make it better just by allowing participation. Had the BSA said that my BMI wasn’t allowed, I would have been hurt and shamed, but I would have understood. Had they set an unreasonably low BMI, we’d be having a different discussion.

    • I’m betting very few scouts were turned down. I personally know of one Scout that attended with a BMI of 57! Stop drinking the Kool Aid the Liberals are serving.

    • Mike Bradshaw bad analysis of Wayne Brock The BMI requirements is all important to the traditions of Scouting. I challenge you to attend the next World or National Jamboree at the Summit and then comment about Wayne Brocks accountability and the BMI requirements of the National Jamboree’s. Trenton Spears

  3. Let’s not forget that this Jamboree enforced a BMI requirement that had an impact on the attendance as well.

    • Unless you can equate that it is a statement without any merit, I know people who could not go for other than BMI. My BMI is fine but I knew my asthma would limit participation and a lot of people could not go for economic reasons.

  4. Mike you have some real issues. Get your 40 bmi body off the couch and do something positive in your life and others.

      • Mike, what’s an acceptable answer? I’m asking a serious question – you seem put out that some Scouts were denied an opportunity to participate based upon their weight. Surely your view of Scouting is not one in which everyone gets a participant badge? We do our children a disservice if we allow them to grow up thinking that everybody gets the prize if they at least try. I’m all for “doing your best”, yet as leaders we have a responsibility to the youth we serve to not only ensure their goals are attainable but that we offer a safe environment where they can succeed (or fail as sometimes happens). I can assure you, morbidly obese kids and adults would not have been in a safe environment at the Jamboree.

        I have no doubt many were “turned away” – yet doesn’t that give them something to strive for in the future? I don’t think anyone would dispute that being morbidly obese has significant health risks.

  5. Thank you Bryan, great post. This is as it should be, success and the re-energizing of 30,000 scouts and scouters. Good work BSA.

    AS for the BMI issue, wasn’t the requirement below a BMI of 40? That’s an awful lot, and not terribly restrictive, and it’s not like it was a last minute “Wayne Brock” surprise. BSA has been pushing lowering the BMI of Scouts and Scouters since 2007. This was actually a brain child of Bob Mazzuca, and I must agree with it, As Scouts we’re supposed to be “Physically Strong”, Physical fitness is a core value. It’s important to the future health and success of the young people we mentor in this program.

    I was a Scoutmaster for the 2010 Jamboree. The early rumor was that we would enforce the ‘Philmont’ fitness requirements for the Jambo. That as we know was not the case, but I did have one boy that I was concerned with regarding his ability to participate at Fort A.P. Hill. Having been there before on Staff I knew how strenuous it would be. I counseled the young man before we left about how hard it would be, especially with him carrying around an additional 100 lbs. He assured me, as did his parents, that he would be ready. Ultimately he did lose 20 lbs prior to the trip, he was able to keep up and participate, and when he came home, realizing how difficult it was for him to do some of the things there he continued to work on his personal fitness, losing another 40 lbs, and with his troop in tow, capturing several local mountain peaks over the following year.

    The BMI rule is not a hindrance, it’s a goal for some, and it should be treated that way by the adults. Once these kids realize that their personal fitness level will affect a lot more than their waste size, they will be grateful for the encouragement and support.

    • So Matt, What is the answer? How many were told they could not attend Jamboree because their BMI, which Brock endorses and strongly supports, was not acceptable? A. P. Hill was a suggestion. This year was a mandate. Failure to comply would have brought untold disaster to scouting should someone, who was not within limits, attended and have a problem. Of course if someone had attended that should not have and did in fact have a ” Problem” we will never know. Privacy and all that. So back to the ORIGINAL question. HOW MANY WERE DENIED ACCEPTANCE TO ATTEND THE JAMBOREE AS A RESIDENT BECAUSE OF THE BMI LIMITATION? More excuses to evade the question to come.

      • Now, just for the record, it is highly likely that a lot of the folks that weren’t going to meet the 40 BMI rule either self-excused or were stopped at the council level, so the Summit very likely doesn’t have accurate statistics on the number you seek.

      • Also, at A.P. Hill, even with flat terrain, there were shuttle buses between venues. At the Summit, if you wanted to get from the Staff Village (F) to Summit Center (nearly 2 miles?), your transportation was Shank’s Mare. The Adventure Areas (shooting sports, ziplines, BMX, ropes, etcs.) were farther away.

        There were 2 years to prepare. The bar was NOT low, even an old fat guy like me could make it under, and I hardly qualify as “elite”.

        If you shelled out 2 grand (typical participant cost, incl council and transportation) and weren’t able to get to the activities, you’d be pretty ticked off, and that would be the subject of your posts.

      • Mike,
        There are a number of activities in this world that have established standards, the one I can think of off the top of my head would be basketball. The hoop on a basketball is 10′, it’s not 10′ 1″ or 9′ 11″, it is exactly 10′. If I want to play basketball at a park or in a gym, I have the right to complain about the height of the hoop at 10′ but it serves no purpose since that is the agreed upon standard. I am then left a choice, to play or not to play.

        As an Assistant on a Venturing Crew who went to the Jamboree it was my choice as well to agree to this standard that was established by BSA or not.

        I’ve never heard of any “discriminating” against short people because they don’t like the 10′ basketball hoop limit and never looked at the BMI restriction as discriminatory for the Jamboree since no one “forced” me to take part in the Jamboree since I chose to be apart.

        Perhaps the numbers were down because of the Jamboree or maybe they were down due to other reasons, but ultimately the standard was established and if you don’t like the standard, than anyone has the right to choose not to be apart of that standard.

        Not exactly sure where your frustration is coming from but with all things in this great land we live in, we can either accept the laws made for us or work hard to help implement change. It seems like your energies could be better spent working with your Council to influence a change going forward if you don’t like the policy rather than tearing down others on Bryan’s blog.

        Ultimately, however, the standard was established and if you fell outside the standard you weren’t allowed to participate. It’s pretty simple and it was a choice. We always have choices and no one “forced” this upon me.


      • Mike, short answer I doubt anyone knows the real number of potential participants that were turned away, self excused, opted out, etc. I can only imagine it’s a fairly small number. Again, a BMI of 40 is not terribly restrictive, it’s basically the Morbidly Obese, and the top tier of that group in the end. I’m fat. really fat. I’ve got a BMI of 34. I wouldn’t have felt good about going in the ‘shape’ I am, but I could have if I wanted to. Again, it’s about a quality experience and personal safety for these people, knowing what we do now, I would surmise that BMI number would decrease over the years to encourage more Scouts and Scouters to get with it, take care of themselves, and enjoy the Jamboree instead of dreading the walking and activities.

      • Mike, Get a Life !!! The BMI Requirements are there for a reason. Personal Health and Safety. Honestly, they are not that restrictive. My doctor was amazed at how broad the requirements are. I lost 30 pounds to attend the jamboree, and am still 20 pounds overweight. The Summit is a challenging place physically. The bottom line here is that we, as leaders, have to take a more active role in our health, and encourage our young people to do the same. Physically Strong etc.

      • I’m not sure anyone was denied. Parents may have restricted their children from participating in what would have been a dangerous activity, but there was no BMI police at the front gate that I saw.

    • Matt outstanding post I also was a Scoutmaster at the 2010 Jamboree and the 36 scouts and three assistant Scoutmasters one was a women we were all in compliance with the BMI requirements and there were no physical problems at the Jamboree. When I was asked to be the Jamboree Scoutmaster I knew that at 74 years old I would be challenged to make the sacrifice to make the experience the best it could be I owed it to my Council for this honor to attend the 2010 Jamboree. The thing I admire most about Scouting is that we are committed to progress and not regress the organization by making things easier or cheapen the experience. Sincerely Trenton Spears

  6. I have not read any comments on the cost of attending the Jamboree as a potential impediment. As my son was only just eligible this year to attend Jamboree, I have no frame of reference with respect to attendance cost of past Jamborees. We did have many scouts our area (Southern Illinois) that did not even consider attending the Jamboree because of the cost.

    Is there any data on the number of scouts who attended the Jamboree as visitors? We drove out to the Jamboree for Show Day and encountered scouts who had purchased visitor’s tickets camping in our campground on Summerville Lake. I am sure this troop was not the only ones based on the large numbers of scouts we ran into at the New River Gorge and Sandstone Falls visitor’s centers and on the bus entering the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

  7. Mike, your number will most likely never be known. Because the requirement was so clear – no attendance if your BMI was 40 or higher – those scouts most likely never even applied to attend. That is the beauty of a yes or no requirement – there is no arguing with it. In addition, if the BMI was in the questionable range, it was up to the Scout’s doctor, not BSA, to decide if that individual was capable of the physical requirements for the event. Again, if the doctor said no, there was not even an attempt to register I would think. I will point out that the obvious, to me, other side of this is that a 13 year old boy that is average height (5’1.5″) and has a BMI of 40 (211+ pounds) most likely does not find the extreme physical aspects of Jambo appealing. Lots of other things to do in scouts that don’t require the physical stamina of Jambo, so the obese kid is welcome in scouting as a whole. If obese scouts were allowed to attend, they would have to have disability adaptations. Seriously. My son’s base camp was a 30 minute hike down to the main stage. That means it was at least that long a hike UP to his camp. It was over an hour hike to the far side of the camp. I understand the venturers were essentially on top of a mountain, even higher up. So, all the obese scouts would need to be in a special base camp, down close to activities, for their medical condition and safety. Or, does any troop with an obese scout get assigned to the closer base camp? What if you run out of sites at the closest campsites? Then what? In addition, there are some activities that they still would not be allowed to engage in. Zip lines, canopy tours, are just examples of things that just cannot be guaranteed safe due to equipment limitations for the obese person. Even amusement parks have these type of limitations. What you are asking is for The Summit to bring back busing Scouts from location to location, and to alter the experience, for everyone. Let me ask you – would you be ok with a physical fitness test that must be passed before being allowed in? Register if you want, but unless you can hike uphill for 30 minutes with a full pack you cannot get in? That doesn’t work from a logistics standpoint, does it? Also, these kids had time to make an effort to meet the under 40 BMI requirement. If any boy wanted to go that bad, they could have made some healthy changes, (stop eating junk food, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and started walking every day) dropped 20 pounds in the last year (or less I suppose), gotten the ok from the doctor, and been welcomed to Jambo. I’m tired of the whining. And, I’m an obese mom, so I know what I’m talking about.

    • ScoutMom great comment on the BMI requirements. I was borderline for passing the index and I was grateful to be in compliance and at 5’8 and 168 lbs. I was able to hike to the areas I wanted to attend at the 2013 Summit without a lot of body stress. I know that weight control is a real problem for some scouters as their challenges are more than the average person. I hike Mount Whitney in California every three years with my Church Scout Youth Program and it is a real challenge at 76 years old. Participating in Scouting requires some sacrifice and we as hike leaders we must be an example to our youth to keep ourselves physically strong as the Scout Oath ask a commitment from us. Sometimes the Doctor gives us clearance not knowing of the circumstances we are faced with in scouting activities this is why the BMI is so important and not to be taken lightly. Ten to 12 days of continued hiking at Jamborees along with long hours and little sleep can take its toll on our bodies as the Scout Motto says Be Prepared. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  8. I was told that National wanted 10,000 staff, and only got two thirds of what they needed? BMI crossed many out, plus the “wait and see” from previous staff (I was one of those). Curious what National is going to do to try and ramp up staff applications for future Jamborees? You cannot deliver a quality program without enough volunteers….

    • From what I heard the biggest complaint among those that signed up for staff early was the lack of communication with regards to position, expectations, reporting dates, etc. That’s a common thread with past Jamborees I’ve staffed as well, so not just a Summit issue, a systemic Jamboree issue.

    • Actually I read that they wanted 14,000 & got 7,000 so only 50%. I thought about going until I saw I did not make the original BMI. By the time they got around to changing it to 40, I was already committed elsewhere in Scouting. I only get 10 days of vacation a year & used 8 of it on Scouting events. If the decision on the 40 BMI had been made earlier & gotten down to our District (where I attend every Roundtable), I would have even take some days w/o pay to attend. If the 40 BMI is still the standard next time or I lose some weight, then I will think about staffing next time.

  9. And then when the person who was over the BMI # rule had had a medical problem or, worse yet, Died, the organization that Allowed them would most likely be taken to court…because, how dare they not let my son and his parents know that there were long hikes on non-level surfaces and that the heat would be so hard on him?

  10. As a recent staff member at Jambo, along with my 16 yr old son (staff member) I have been reading all the comments on the BMI and for the life of me can’t see the point that has been made by some. As a 6’4″ person (son same size) my BMI was at the end of the recommended weight (156-222 at 220, son about the same). For me I would like to have been at a lower weight around 200 when I attended but came in around 220. I spent from July 7-23 there with my son. We walked everywhere and I can tell you that some of the trails and paths to and from base camps to the event areas were difficult. As an older person (61) it was difficult and I can’t imagine doing what I did if I were 267 plus pounds (max acceptance on the BMI for 6’4″). It is too bad that some scouts and scouters were not able to attend due to “their” BMI but maybe they will look at it as a way to look at their weight and make changes if “they” see that as necessary. I must add that I ran into many scouts, scouters and female participants that were not within their BMI. I am not sure how they got through but they did. Many of those I saw along the trails that where over their BMI’s were visibly winded, resting and looked exhausted. I also saw others that were within their BMI’s tired as well. We each go into scouting for different reasons, for me the outdoors and being active. The Summit is a high adventure camp and as such does require that participants be healthy and fit within the BMI. BSA has the same requirements for all other high adventure camps. Anyone attending the Summit can attest to the fact that the distances between base camps and activity areas are long and not easy to navigate. I hope in the future that shuttles are provided to bring scouts around to the different areas especially from base camp A to the shooting sports area. This particular Jambo was the first for the Summit and I would hope that each one will get better. What we need to remember is that above all we want our scouts and scouters to be safe and healthy while at the Summit. One way to ensure that is with up-to-date physicals and staying within the BMI.

    • Ken…as having been on staff (and living in Echo), there were a number of staff who I did not believe would have met the BMI. However, I do believe that it was due to the their assignment — maybe they lived and worked in Echo or, as one person I worked with from the 2010 jambo, he was driving/sitting in a vehicle most of the time.

      Either BSA needs to enforce it for everyone or admit that for some assignments, we will wave the BMI requirements, and state what those requirements are.

  11. The “how many have a BMI over 40” question is interesting. We cannot know how many did not apply because of that, because, well, they did not apply. We can look at population statistics.

    In the US, about 4% of the adult male population has a BMI over 40. This would be an upper limit for Jamboree staff, because Scouters would likely be more active than the average american.

    For children, the CDC does not release figures for direct BMI, they use percentiles of BMI-for-age. A BMI of 40 is literally off the BMI-for-age chart, which stops at 31. The WHO compiles world-wide statistics which show a 99th percentile BMI of 31 for 16 year old males. So world-wide, only 1% of male youth have a BMI over 31.

    I did find a paper by Odgen that shows a small graph of BMI distribution for males age 12-19. There is a small extension above BMI 40, but it is well under 1%, perhaps 0.2% of the population.

    Using these very rough estimates, perhaps 240 adult staff would not have qualified (4% of 6000) and perhaps 60 youth would not have qualified (0.2% of 30,000).

  12. Walter,
    There you go arguing with facts.

    I didn’t go to this or any Jambo. But I must say, this is the first one I actually had a desire to attend. Ft. AP Hill at 50′ above sea level in Virginia in July holds no appeal to me. That and from what I understand the military has had to push back to due the BSA’s old policy on Gays. I could be wrong on that but I thought I had heard that.

    Jambo, Philmont, Sea Base and Northern Tier are all pretty expensive events. For some they are a once in a lifetime event. I did none of them as a Scout, I did Sea Base and Philmont as a Scouter with my son along with a Scout trip to Alaska. At Sea Base my wife went as a Venture Crew leader and my daughter as a Venturer. So since 2009 I’ve probably spent $12K plus to attend special and/high adventure trips with the BSA. We do give our Scouts opportunities to earn money for these kind of trips and we’ve helped Scouts who couldn’t afford it. But as a Troop there is no way we could underwrite everyone without becoming a full time fund raising organization.

    I’d say for a scout of limited means they should set a goal to raise the money to do one of the high adventure trips or the 2017 Jambo and their units should help make it happen.

    • Off the topic of weight, but on the topic of price– no matter what is charged, someone (or many someones) will think that it’s too much. I’m a girl scout leader and we took girls to Washington DC for the 100 Birthday Celebration of Girl Scouts and then just to New York for a trip. We had parents complain about the cost of both. It cost about $300 per girl to go to NYC for 4 days, and some parents pulled their girls out because it was too expensive. $300 was for everything except souvenir money. What planet do people live on? Also my troop tries to earn most of the money for the girls, so yes, it does feel like we’re fundraising year round. And that is for trips that only cost a few hundred. I can’t imagine trying to earn enough for the BS trips. (I had sons in scouts too, but they dropped out in 9th grade, unfortunately. Sports got in the way.) So we do all this fundraising, we don’t get a lot of help from the other parents, and then they complain about how we decide to divvy up the money. It’s very, very frustrating.

      • GS Leader,
        Well you could have saved money in NYC by sleeping in Zuccotti Park with the occupy Wall Street folks /sarcasm. My daughter went to the Indoor Nationals Track and Field event last winter in NYC, for a two nighter including a rented 15 passenger van packed to the gills with people and gear it was close to $200 from NC. They didn’t have any sightseeing costs built into the cost and really no time to do any. So I feel your pain.

        The BSA high adventure camps aren’t cheap but there are camperships available, some not even based on need. When my son and I went with another Council’s contingent last summer one or two of the Scouts got a substantial grant from a fund within that council set up for scouts to go. Need wasn’t even a factor. We took a Scout from our Troop to Philmont a number of years ago, he was of very limited means and I think we got a complete campership from our council, if not we picked up what the council didn’t cover.

        We were going to help a Scout in our unit go to Sea Base this summer until his parents pulled him from the trip for lousy grades. We did say to him that he needed to do popcorn and help as much as possible on Luminaria (our main fund raiser for Troop money) to help pay his way. We can’t do it for all, but if there is a need we try to find a way.

  13. My family and I traveled hundreds of miles for a Saturday visit only to “experience” that “activities” were closed at noon because a thunderstorm was expected that evening.

    If you’re gonna charge admission and make people go through airport style security measures, and then NOT be allowed to visit the caps, something more substantial is expected. We felt baited and switched.

    • 1) BSA doesn’t control the weather
      2) My son’s safety is more important than your participation in an activity.

      How’s that being baited and switched?

    • You would Think there would have been a site to go to that would give updates/notices such as this as it was found out or needed. Maybe it is something to consider in the future…when something has to close down due to weather.

      • There were text alerts sent out when there were warnings: weather, heat, etc.

        In preparing to attend, I did a site study comparing weather conditions from AP Hill to SBR and found on a 30-year average that SBR was 5 degrees cooler and received .5 inch more rain. I knew it was going to rain in those “cooler” WV mountains.

        BTW, yes, I do research locations before I go on vacation so that I know what to expect and am prepared.

    • The activities closed at noon to allow participants and staff (and visitors) to attend the show that was bumped up a couple of hours due the the predicted thunderstorm. By the way that storm did occur just as we returned to our camps. Did you enjoy the shows? Both the one in the arena and in the sky? There was some pretty spectacular lightening that I am glad was not occurring while I was walking the trail back to camp. Also a pretty heavy down pour. Maybe you missed it during your bus ride to your car. The safety of the thousands that were in the arena was much more important than you getting to do what ever you missed out on. Sorry for your luck but I am glad the decision was made.

  14. Lots of good comments here. I’m 48, 6’0′ and this time last year weighed 295 lbs. That works out to a BMI of 40. I lost 40 lbs in preparation for the Jamboree. It’s no stretch to say I couldn’t have done it without losing that weight. It was a physical challenge, that’s for sure.

    I saw some big kids and some big adults there – no way they were under 40 BMI. None of those bigger folks looked like they were having a good time. The reality, especially with adults, is that if a participant is morbidly obese he stands a much greater chance of having significant health problems – up to and including death.

    So… do we really want to bring a kid down to the Jamboree and indirectly contribute to his death? Talk about putting a damper on the fun.

  15. As a staffer at the Jambo, I am incredibly grateful for every other staffer that also worked (overweight or not)! We were so short on staff, it was a bit ridiculous. As it was, I did not get one day off to enjoy anything besides the closing show. So, stop whining about BMI. Clearly people who did not meet the BMI requirement still made it anyway (and to which I am also very grateful and even doubly so that they had to work even harder due to the terrain and didn’t have an issue – though some were probably very close to). If you didn’t happen to come because you had a BMI that prevented you, then shame on you for hiding behind that as an excuse. It was actually pretty tough, no really tough. The events and camps were very dispersed and trails between them were long and steep. We also had numerous thunderstorms that turned the camps into swamps. If all you can do is complain about how BMI kept people from applying, then good ridden because you certainly wouldn’t have wanted to deal with the reality of the Jambo at the Summit! Perhaps the Summit shouldn’t host Jamborees – that is if scouts just want lazy, sit around camp patch trading events. This place is definitely a high adventure base, made for people that can get up off there ass and do stuff! If that means people who can’t are excluded, then that’s a decision BSA will have to live with for deciding to move the Jamboree to a high adventure base in the first place.


    • I also look at the challenges someone morbidly obese places on the rest of the unit. We have a disabled, morbidly obese Scouter involved in our Troop. I let him go to summer camp one year as an adult leader, big mistake. We had to shuttle him everywhere taking adult leaders away from who we were there to support, the Scouts. He wanted to go the following year to a much hillier camp and we had to say no. IF he could drive himself it would have been one thing, but he couldn’t so we had to play chauffeur to him all week that one year.

      Our unit will have a couple of “flop and drops” a year and he’s welcome to attend them but I’m not going to tailor the program for a disabled adult. If I had a disabled youth I would look for ways to ensure he could participate as much as possible but I’m not going to do all flop and drops for a disabled or morbidly obese Scout. It isn’t fair to everyone else.

      IMHO the BSA got a bad rap in the media over this common sense requirement for camping in a challenging environment.

      • So basically the answer is 42 to 60 scouts were or would not have been allowed to attend Jamboree because they did not fit the ideal BMI. That’s 42 to 60 young boys who were or would have been told they could not attend because they were too fat. Schools call that bullying. Come January 1, 2014, think of all the homosexual youth, and soon, Homosexual Adults that will have the doors of scouting held wide open for them so they won’t have their feelings hurt. Goodness, purity and innocence are slammed and ridiculed. Perversion is embraced and encouraged. What homosexual actions must need be tolerated? They all must less The Boy Scouts of America is sued into ruin. I commend those scouts and scouters who were, or would have been rejected, for not trying to destroy scouting because of a few ignorant individuals. Too bad the Homosexuals won’t learn the lesson.

        • There is no Trolling merit badge. Give up with the strawman arguments and insults.

          If you think medically-unfit Scouts should be hiking the West Virginia mountains, I hope you are not a Scouter. We are responsible for risk management on outings, and you are clearly not not qualified.

        • A BMI over 40 is hardly close to the ideal. Someone that heavy is morbidly obese. BMI isn’t a great tool, and the BSA had ways for doctors to say someone who is “overweight” by BMI standards but fit to participate. At 6’1″ and 200 lbs I’m borderline overweight by BMI standards. However I bike 3000 miles a year and I wasn’t holding up anyone at Philmont last year. At 52 I wasn’t the last guy up Baldy. My BMI is skewed by my muscular legs, I was generally the adult close to the front of our group holding back the 2 or 3 fastest Scouts from dropping the rest of the group.

          That said if a 300lb NFL player came and was injured the staff and EMS team could have a very difficult time getting him out of the wilderness. Even though he was definitely fit enough to participate.

          It isn’t ignorance, it is about safety for the participants and the staff, most of which are unpaid volunteers. Heck most of those unpaid volunteers paid for the privilege to be a volunteer.

          We had a very heavy Scout 6’5″ pushing 300 that was able to enough weight to go to Sea Base with us to do a SCUBA live aboard in 2011. But at age 17 he was already pre-diabetic and on blood pressure medicine he still needs to lose additional weight or be dead at 40. He would have had a very difficult time at Philmont.

    • Thank you ……My son went and everyone was saying go and patch trade. We spent almost $3k and 3 yrs of fundraising for this Jambo, which if you count the years , a scout can only attend one as a participant…other years would only be as staff. We sent our boys with expectations of being tired, lots of hiking and being prepared for anything; but we did expect more structure. The low staff killed activities, and so did the weather; but you have to be prepared for that. But instead the boys did not patch trade, the went into the enclosed merit badge tents, or sat out time in lightening shelters. Their favorite activity was the day of service. Although we were not happy with the lack of organization, we are glad they had the chance to go and experience it. Now they know when going to Philmont and Seabase, they are scouts and will be prepared, no mommy and daddy holding their hands. I took my younger sons and the cost of admission was very low for visitors, but per the BMI, we were exhausted and barely made it through the 2 days there. And we are very fit. Our boys hiked over 100 miles on that BMI was a factor and should always be along with other health reasons before you send your son there. I do have to say, most of the visitors we saw were troops coming for a few days of attendance and camping nearby to do scheduled high adventure. This is just a suggestion, but if you are so worried, go as a visitor, you still can enjoy the majority of Jambo, but you do not have to hike 100 miles or more like the participants did. And…you can do scheduled high adventure activities at local sites surrounding the Summit as I did with my younger sons.

    • Hans, Well said as a staffer for the shooting sports staff at the Summit Jamboree there were many challenges as it was for all Jamboree Staffers no days off and long hours. I would not trade this experience for any other I have had in my life. Look forward to the World Jamboree at the Summit in 2017. Trenton Spears

  16. I would love to participate in the next Jamboree but not at $1,200 dollars…if I can give my time it should be worth some cost off the admission.

  17. It’s not the weight restriction per se, it’s the terrain. We are not used to Jambo being a high adventure base. We are more used to the convention atmosphere.
    Cost is an issue. Simply put, if it takes four years to recharge your Jambo budget, then found yourself a quarter short. So talk to your youth and talk to them about socking away $ now for 2017.
    Membership is an issue, our numbers are in decline. Venturing (one of this Jambo’s target audience) is shrinking at a steady 4% per year since 2005.

  18. 1) It was very challenging. From A camp to the Barrels was a 90 minute hike the first day, got shorter when we were sure of the route. Maybe 70 minutes. Up hill both ways. 2) Scouts were challenged by it. Drink more water… 3) Withpout including the travel costs and side trip sightseeing, divide 9 or 10 days of overnight accomadations and food and entertainmaent, activity with adult oversight, and educational opportunities (did yo see the Sustainability Tree house?) and professional quality shows and a fireworks display of supreme quality into, what, about $900. ? That is a bargain. Wish my family vacation could get by on $90. a day

    • Wouldn’t that be $90.00 a head? So a family of four would be $360.00 a day, or $3600.00 for ten days. I can think of lots of things a family could do with that kind of budget. Oh yeah, and then you can add in travel costs and side trip sightseeing too. If this is a bargain, I don’t want to know your travel agent.

      • But would that include meeting 30,000 scouts from all over the nation (and elsewhere)?
        My youth group did a 4-day concert/camping event (about the same crowd, same driving distance, our own vehicles) for about $175 a head. But the gear was used (borrowed from various families), and no shooting sports, swimming, rock climbing, etc … and nobody was trading patches!

  19. Yes, thank you to all the staff! I went as a Venturer and it was fantastic! Even though the camp was quite understaffed, they tried to get us all through. Being from Foxtrot, we had to endure large hills and were away from many of the activities. I never even saw adventure valley, only for the reason that is was about a 7 mile roundtrip walk. It wasn’t due to laziness but how strenuous the walking was with no guarantee of doing an elective. All of the campers with me all agreed to needing transportation there. From what I understand, there was busing at AP Hill. I can understand the BMI issue from being there, but it was for safety, not a war on obesity. Overall, the Summit site was amazing and so were the staff.

  20. Hey Bryan, Seems always good to encourage people to be active and healthy especially when attending a “high adventure” camp, though archery and ATV riding really don’t seem to require special BMI scores… Besides that sort of stuff, i am really curious why, in all the BSA and Summit excitement and reports about sustainability and green and community service, there has not been a single peep about the really bad health conditions and poverty of Southern West Virginia? The Summit was built with many millions of dollars of coal industry money- Jim Justice, CONSOL Energy, WVDEP mine reclamation funds- yet no Summitt or BSA spokesperson would ever talk to the public or reporters about the coal related poverty, flooding, habitat destruction and disease most especially related to mountain top removal mining.

    I really had hopes that the Boy Scouts, with their much touted green ethos, faith in god and decency toward others would have been at least engaged in these pretty serious human rights and Earth stewardship issues. Why not?

    • Sam, it’s not about the particular events. It’s about the amount of effort required to get from point A to point B. That is simply tougher to do on any patch of land this side of the Potomac!

      I think the day of service that was offered to every scout and got them out into the community was the best chance to connect boys to the “soft underbelly” of southern WV. Big money aside, the boy scouts is strictly apolitical, so you won’t see that kind of discussion from any podium.
      You will see it in boys throughout the country earning merit badges like Sustainability, Environmental Science, Public Health, etc … and young women and men venturers discussing ethical controversies about resource use, the environment, and our fellow citizens.

      • Thanks for the feedback Bryan, i really think the BMI guideline is a pretty good idea- it doesn’t address all physical fitness or health issues but it is simple and achieving a good number can mean people are changing to overall healthier lifestyles.
        Re the other stuff, with all due respect, just saying the boy scouts are “apolitical” doesn’t make it so. The BSA is intimately involved in political decision making- special federal legislation, WV land use decisions, the use of reclamation funds to do most of the Summit grading, etc.. And the BSA is putting on another “sustainability summit” for this fall, but like the one last year, it appears to be entirely industry oriented with no indication that any environmental or social capital issues or organizations are on the agenda. We sure need healthy industry and jobs but, as the BSA sustainability booklet says, real sustainability also includes being good stewards of water, land, air and social aspects. The emphatic! decision to say nothing about these dramatic sustainability issues in southern WV- the BSA’s new home- makes the BSA appear quite political. I think the BSA has a really remarkable opportunity to help us find solutions to some tough issues.
        Is this a forum where these things can be discussed? Is there another? Thanks.

        • Sorry to confuse, I’m not Bryan, just a casual reader from slightly north of the Mason-Dixon line, a miner’s grandson and a brother/cousin to a whole clan of Mountaineers. And honestly, the folks that these boys met one-on-one during their day of service spoke volumes more than anything offered from a podium. I’ve never known a West-Virginian to hold back on anything he/she felt was important. Meeting the citizens of your state, that was the agenda. I hope the BSA keeps it on the agenda in future Jamborees because for the money, I think that’s the best way to for soon-to-be voters to get their head around the issues you bring up.

          Note to Bryan: the web page for the 2013 Sustainability Summit is coming up blank. Maybe we can have a blog post about that?

  21. I attended Jamboree with a BMI of about 26.That’s technically overweight. This was after a spring’s worth of training and Philmont trek the month before. Even so, I had a hard time going over the mountains in the morning fog. BMI doesn’t tell the whole story, but it’s a start. The Summit is a High Adventure Base. That means challenging terrain, up hill both ways, long distances. If you want to do such things, train for them. Be Prepared. Work for it, just as with any other high adventure activity.

  22. I was on the Shooting Sports staff at “The Barrels” and I greatly enjoyed the experience. Two comments: 1) A tram system is needed for the extreme distances between subcamps and the various venues — it was unfair to the Scouts to spend some much of the Jambo experience hiking around; 2) There was a near complete lack of Scouting traditions exhibited at the Jambo – no flag ceremonies, no Scout Vespers at night, no recitation of the basic tenets of Scouting — from my perspective you could have been at Y-Camp. Bring back these traditions next time around.

  23. Last years Jamboree was simply awesome. I enjoyed talking to the International Scouts one particular conversation was with a Scoutmaster from Columbia he had this incredible woven straw hat hand made in Columbia that I admired and to my astonishment he gave it to me I told him that this was to nice of a gift and he insisted that I have it. I discussed this with my staff roommates and they told me that in Columbia when you admire something that a Columbian owns they by custom will give the item to the admirer. I felt really bad that I had admired the hat not knowing of Columbian customs. I later ran in to the Columbian Scoutmaster and I had a 2010 Jamboree cup on my backpack as I was leaving the Summit Jamboree for home. The Columbian Scoutmaster was at the bus location and I again thanked him for his generosity and he noticed the cup and liked it. My face lit up and I had the opportunity to participate in a Columbian custom and I gave him my cup. I will always treasure the experience to fellowship with a fellow scout and I wore the hat on the airplane home everyone admired it. Small things do mean a lot . I can’t wait for the World Jamboree maybe the Columbian Scoutmaster will be there. I will make sure I bring the Columbian hat with me. Trenton Spears Scoutmaster

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