Hundreds more staff members are arriving at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia to prepare for the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. In just a few days, about 45,000 thousand Scouts and their adult advisors will descend upon the site to enjoy an eight-day extravaganza of Scouting history, activities, and learning.
Although some Jamboree staff members have been here at “the Hill” for about a month, the bulk of the 4,500 volunteers arrive in a 72-hour span, and then only have days to build an entire city, complete with police, fire, and public works departments. There will be a network to distribute cooking ingredients to 21 sub camps, where the Scouts will be cooking for themselves. The Jamboree has its own postal service (and ZIP code!), and sanitation department. Engineers, educators, doctors, and dining hall stewards all come together in a very short amount of time to make it all happen for the campers.
Our Jamboree city even has its own newspaper, Jamboree Today, for which I am one of two copy editors. Neither of us has been a newsroom copy editor before, although my partner is a professional technical writer in Silicon Valley and I advise a student publication at Monmouth College in Illinois. The rest of the staff is equally diverse, our distribution manager is a licensed civil engineer, our logistics director is a retired math professor, and our editor-in-chief is one of just a few professional journalists in our office. We do have a few youth staff reporters who have worked for home or school media outlets.
We occupy a small trailer office on the Jamboree site, which for the next two weeks will be a fully functional newsroom. Or rather, it will be if we can get it together.
The first point of the Scout Law is “A Scout is Trustworthy.” This is especially critical to our operation. Trust in any work environment is important, and usually coworkers come together over time, get to know one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and come together as a well-oiled machine.
Jamboree Today does not have that luxury. Our first issue comes out in just days, and as our editor likes to say, “There aren’t any second chances.” We have to be a well-oiled machine today, even before our full staff complement arrives.
As a staff of volunteers, we must be professionals. Fortunately, as members of the Scouting movement, we know that every one in the room is worthy of trust. They will support us, work with us, and pick up our slack, just as we will do for them.
Where does this trust come from? Being involved in Scouting says something about someone. They are an individual dedicated to helping others, working hard, and developing America’s youth. These are special devotions, worthy of recognition. Worthy of trust.
While the Jamboree city gets organized, including its daily newspaper, there will be a lot of people relying on other people they have just met. Together, we look forward to presenting a fantastic event celebrating one hundred years of Scouting in America, one that will shine in the memories of the Scouts who will attend. Perhaps they will one day staff a Jamboree, or give service to their communities, or become leaders in our nation. No matter what they do, they will be worthy of our trust. Trustworthy.
This week and next, as my staff responsibilities at Jamboree Today permit, I plan to blog about Scouting’s main principles as set out in the Scout Motto, Scout Law, and Scout Slogan.
Daniel M. Reck, M.S.Ed., is a copy editor for Jamboree Today, the daily newspaper of the Boy Scouts of America National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. An Eagle Scout, he is also the Assistant Director of Greek Life, Leadership, and Involvement at Monmouth College in Illinois.