National Jamborees

In 1935, the Boy Scouts of America planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scouting in America with its first National Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C.  Due to a polio epidemic the jamboree was cancelled. The first jamboree was then held in Washington, D.C. in 1937. Dan Beard, National Scout Commissioner, lit the opening campfire using flint and steel with wood provided by Scouts from all 48 states. It was a great gathering of some 27,238 Scouts who camped around the Washington Memorial and Tidal Basin. Many special guests visited the jamboree including President Roosevelt. 

Due to World War II, the next jamboree was held in 1950 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania from June 27 to July 6. Theme was “Strengthen Liberty”. In 1953, the site was moved to Irvine Ranch, California from July 17 to July 23. Theme was “Forward on Liberty’s Team”. The jamboree returned to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1957 from July 12 to July 18. Theme was “Onward For God And My Country”.  

The Golden Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America in 1960 found the jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado from July 22 to July 28. Theme was “For God and Country”. The jamboree returned one more time to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1964 from July 17 to July 23. Theme was “Strengthen America’s Heritage”. In 1969, the site moved to Farragut State Park, Idaho from July 16 to July 22. Theme was “Building to Serve”.  

1973 was the year of the duel site jamboree. Farragut State Park, Idaho and Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania were the sites. The Idaho site was held from August 1 to August 7 with the Pennsylvania site being held from August 3 to August 9. Theme was “Growing Together”. In 1977, the Moraine State Park, Pennsylvania site was used again from August 3 to August 9. Theme was “Forward Together”. 

In 1981 the jamboree site moved to Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. This became the somewhat permanent site for future jamborees. It was held from July 29 to August 4. Theme was “Scouting’s Reunion with History”. In 1985 the theme remained “Scouting’s Reunion with History”. This was the BSA Diamond Jubilee held from July 24 to July 30. 1989 the theme was “The Adventure Begins…With America’s Youth” and was held from August 3 to August 9.  

1993 the jamboree was held from August 4 to August 10. The theme was “Scouting…A Bridge to the Future”. In 1997 the theme was “Character Counts…Be Prepared for the 21st Century” and was held from July 28 to August 6. “Strong Values, Strong Leaders…Character Counts” was the theme for the jamboree in 2001 held from July 23 to August 1. In 2005 the jamboree was held from July 25 to August 3 with the theme “Character Not Only Counts, It Multiplies”. 

In 2010 we will “Celebrate 100 years of Scouting” at Fort A.P. Hill from July 26 to August 4. This appears to be the last jamboree to be held at Fort A.P. Hill. The Boy Scouts of America are presently seeking a permanent site for future jamborees to begin in 2013. 

Click here for photo gallery.