In My Own Words
Thoughts on Education, Artistry, and Leadership

My (occasional) blog includes articles I've been invited to contribute and remarks from events at which I have been asked to speak, in addition to comments written specifically for my web audience.

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The walls shuttered as a low-flying U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter hovered above the 2010 National Scout Jamboree this morning. The shooter on board had Boy Scouts and his sights. The trigger was pulled—and a smiling Scout was captured on (digital) film forever.

Floating in the sky, the shooter was one of the several extremely experienced professional photographers volunteering their time to document the centennial jamboree. He and his colleagues have been hiking the jamboree grounds capturing signature Scouting moments as the staff prepares for the arrival of 45,000 campers tomorrow morning.

The photographer’s stunning overhead shots would not be possible without the helpful support of the U.S. Army pilot and air crew providing his very special shooting platform.

Flying Boy Scout photographers around isn’t the only detail undertaken by the fighting men and women on hand at the jamboree. The military installation Fort A.P. Hill has hosted each National Scout Jamboree since 1981, and the support of the uniformed services of the United States has been invaluable.

With three-digit temperatures outside, the pressure was on at the Jamboree Today office at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. Four staff reporters working with assignment and copy editors cranked out story after story for the first issue of the newspaper—and it will never see the light of day (not even the scorching sunlight shining in the windows of the office).

My hardworking colleagues at Jamboree Today are not crazy. They are working on “issue zero,” which simulates the entire production cycle of an issue of the paper. Keys clattered on keyboards, editors muttered, and managers sent articles back for rewrite after rewrite.

At 10:30, the reporters’ deadline passed… and there was still reporting to be done. At 12:30, the editing deadline passed… and there were still stories being reworked. We took a working lunch. By the time 4:00 rolled around, we still weren’t done. Frustration has flashed, but quickly fizzled.

It’s easy to do something fun for a little while. People join clubs and social groups all the time, but in short order, something else comes up to replace it. For Mike Rowe, the famous television personality and host of Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel, this relentless succession of activities is his living. Each week, he helps everyday Americans do some of the most disgusting, dirty professions—for a day—and then he moves on. It’s great television.

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.