Just 65 miles away from Colonial Williamsburg in the Tidewater Area of Virginia’s coastal region lies Fort A.P. Hill. This part of our country that is so steeped in our nation’s history was the location of the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th Anniversary Celebration National Jamboree, a distinct milestone of its own. Bearing the motto “Celebrating the Adventure - Continuing the Journey” this gathering of 35,000 scouts, 6,000 scout leaders, and 7,000 staff was truly awesome. Opening on Monday, 26 July and closing the following Tuesday 03 August, participants from BSA units around the world gathered for a non - stop scouting extravaganza.
In the midst of all the hoopla, the Sons of the American Revolution had its first experience in its “Partnership for Good Citizenship” as a Chartered Organization Exhibitor. A delegation of 4 full time staff consisting of Elwin Spray HISSAR, James E. Mitchell TXSSAR, Edward Rigel, Sr. GASSAR, & contingent leader T. Rex Legler II INSSAR were joined by 6 part time “Day” staffers including James H. Wood NCSSAR, James E. Parker GASSAR, Art Munford TXSSAR, T. R. “Tad” Legler III INSSAR, Lance M. Lyngar VASSAR, and Art Batten VASSAR. These compatriots spent 8 hours a day manning a 10’ X 10’ information booth handing out literature, distributing unique scout patches to boys, and answering questions & promoting the SAR’s Arthur M. & Berdena King Eagle Scout Scholarship.
Although the weather was “HOT” with three days exceeding 100 degrees and heat indexes up to 112 degrees, business was lively at the SAR booth as a seemingly never ending line of scouts, leaders, and parents were given promotional materials and pamphlets. After the first several days it was not uncommon to have scouts and their leaders bringing other scouts and leaders to get our information and unique patch. In regards to the patch designed by Eagle Scout Compatriot Matt Hogendobler VASSAR, the most commonly heard adjectives were “sweet” and “awesome”. Many adults were disappointed when told the patch was restricted to boys who completed an information request form allowing further contact by the SAR chapter or state Eagle Scout chairman. Over 2,000 scouts signed up and an estimated 4,500 scouts, leaders, and parents visited the booth. When scouts and parents learned that the ONLY requirement to apply for the Scholarship was to be an Eagle Scout and submit the application in the year before the Eagle Scout’s 19th birthday a resounding “WOW” was heard. Positive nods of understanding from parents and scouts alike were garnered as the application process was likened to completing a college entrance application discussing all areas of the applicant’s activities. Because many scouts earn the Eagle Scout award in 8th, 9th, or 10th grades, the attraction of being able to start gathering unrestricted scholarship money for college with multiple entry opportunities was greatly appreciated by parents. When it was pointed out that not only was there a scholarship opportunity for Eagle Scouts but also for essays, orations, and JROTC programs, adult booth visitors readily saw that the SAR was in the youth program and education business. Almost universally parents and adult leaders expressed positive comments regarding scholarships being available to scouts before their senior year in high school.