Scouting instills confidence, helping young people discover they can achieve more than they thought possible.

That’s the uplifting message behind the logo and theme for the 2021 National Jamboree, which the BSA announced today.

Using Scouting’s highest-profile gathering to deliver a distinct thematic message signals a bold new approach for National Jamborees. It ensures that the theme, “Face the Challenge,” will leave a lasting impression on Jamboree participants and our entire movement.

Jamboree organizers will weave the theme throughout the event. They’ll reinforce it before, during and after the Jamboree. They’ll showcase it at stadium shows, deliver it using wearable technology and highlight it at special flash challenges that pop up wherever participants congregate.

Smartphone integration and a pre-Jamboree survey will ensure that each participant embarks on their own Jamboree journey. Even with tens of thousands of participants, no two Jamboree experiences will be the same.

“From an overall programmatic design, we want to customize the Jamboree to an individual’s area for growth,” says Ed Lynes, the volunteer serving as Jamboree Thematics Lead.

‘Face the Challenge’

So what does “Face the Challenge” mean? Here’s how Jamboree organizers explain it in a document summarizing the vision for the 2021 National Jamboree:

The truth is that young people can achieve more than they believe is possible. Scouting uniquely prepares its members to redefine their boundaries, push past them and emerge from the experience with the confidence that no matter the challenge, they can meet it.

Nothing is impossible for the prepared young person — no future is out of reach for a group of committed people who care.

It’s important to signal that the limits people perceive are self-imposed, and that with an embrace and application of the 12 points of the Scout Law and three points of the Scout Oath, there is a bright and positive future.

Participants in the 2021 National Scout Jamboree will learn that character is created when you achieve more than you thought possible.

A new Jamboree vision

The inspiration for this exciting new approach comes from a desire to make the National Jamboree about more than a collection of awesome activities and a few words on a patch.

A Jamboree should inspire a Scout or Venturer to be more. It should show them how to use their Scouting skills to transform the world. And it should engage them in a way that makes their Jamboree experience transformational — not just for its memories but for how it shapes their life.

To be clear, the National Jamboree model has worked well for decades. Each instance of the quadrennial event offered fun, fellowship and unforgettable adventures.

But with the 2021 event, organizers plan to more deliberately embrace and celebrate the impact Scouting has on each of us. As a Jamboree veteran who has attended or served on staff at every National Jamboree since 1997, let me say this: I’m fully on board.

The reinvented approach means transforming a theme into a call to action — sparking an energy that Scouts and Venturers will take back to their troops, crews, schools and communities.

This approach is not unlike the one used at the National Order of the Arrow Conference, or NOAC.

NOAC events, like the one I covered for Scouting magazine in 2015, expertly carry a single theme throughout the week.

The 2021 National Jamboree will feature a similarly bold call to action, inspiring young people to identify, confront and overcome whatever challenges life has thrown into their path.

Unit leaders have an important role

True, unit leaders always have a critical role at a Jamboree. But this time, unit leaders will spark meaningful discussions before the event begins.

“It starts at the unit level,” Busby says. “We’re going to make an effort to really arm unit leaders.”

Scoutmasters, working with their youth leaders, will lead group discussions during their Scoutmaster’s minute and at Jamboree shakedown events.

This will get Scouts and Venturers in the proper mindset before they even arrive at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in 2021.

By the time the Jamboree begins, young people will be thinking about ways to overcome negativity and push past adversity. At the Jamboree, they’ll get the tools to help them do so.

What else we know about the 2021 National Jamboree

Lynes shared with me some more details about the 2021 National Jamboree, which I’ll summarize in a bulleted list:

  • The official patch design will be unveiled this summer. What you see above is the 2021 National Jamboree logo — not the design for the patch.
  • 2021 National Jamboree staff registration is scheduled to go live in August. Participant registration will open in December.
  • The Jamboree will feature TED-style talks where young people can share how Scouting helped them overcome challenges. Those talks will be recorded so others can watch them later.
  • As part of a unique leadership experience, ticketed for each participant, Scouts will spend 90 minutes better understanding their own leadership style, and then applying it alongside different groups of leaders.
  • The Jamboree smartphone app and wearable technology will encourage Scouts and Venturers to participate in slightly different activities that match with the results of their survey prior to the Jamboree.

Keep reading Bryan on Scouting for more updates on the 2021 National Jamboree — shared with you as soon as I get them.

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