A picture-perfect look at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree

If you couldn’t be at last summer’s jamboree, here’s the next best thing. But first, a word from photographer Aaron Huey.

Hatchet-throwing teens, patch-trading mobs, 16-hour shooting days, triple-digit heat, and hourlong lines at the Dunkin’ Donuts concession: Welcome to my 2010 National Scout Jamboree.

In my career as a photojournalist, I have photographed gun battles with the Taliban in Afghanistan, circling sharks in French Polynesia, and tomb raiders in West Africa. Yet the jamboree ranked among my most rewarding and grueling jobs. The images in this portfolio tell the story of one troop and their time at the jamboree, celebrating the BSA’s 100th Anniversary.

I was “embedded” with Troop 1036 from the W.D. Boyce Council of Central Illinois and their guest patrol of Scouts from Cairo, Egypt. Many will know this troop as the owners of the finest gateway at the jamboree—a re-creation of the unknown British Scout who guided a stranger, W.D. Boyce, who was lost in a London fog more than 100 years ago. That moment inspired Boyce to create the Boy Scouts of America, in a similar way that the leaders and Scouts of Troop 1036 guided me through the chaos of the jamboree.

I photographed them during all of their daily activities, from sunrise to sunset and sometimes well beyond. The images show the ups and downs that come with living in a tent city of 43,434. The troop and its leaders were patient while I struggled to get the perfect shot, even if it meant photographing them with bed head or sleeping on a table. Ever going beyond the call of duty, the Scouts regularly shared their food and water with me—even when they wanted seconds or thirds on hamburger night. Truly, were it not for the generosity of the adult leaders, I would not have been able to create this body of work.

See the 2010 National Scout Jamboree slideshow

The photographs at the above link document the experience of this extraordinary troop. But they also speak to the values that Scout leaders nationwide instill in the organization’s young men. Many thanks to the Scouts and leaders of Troop 1036 and to the Boy Scouts of America for giving me the opportunity to photograph the jamboree and see the promise of Scouting in America.

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