Relive the excitement, thrills of the 2013 National Jamboree

Didn’t get to attend the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in person? (Or maybe you didn’t get enough!)

W. GARTH DOWLING, Scouting magazine director of photography, offers his snapshots to help readers experience the breathtaking beauty and high-adrenaline adventure at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

STANDING NEXT TO Goodrich Lake, I was tired, hungry, wet and footsore after a long day of photographing activities on the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s 10,600-acre property. I carefully chose a position on the dam to photograph the fireworks display set to begin at nightfall.

As soon as I planted my tripod, four Scouts from Wisconsin’s Troop D346 — Alex Friesenhahn, Lucas Miller, Jacob Filippelli and Gabriel Kolegari — joined me and launched into an enthusiastic conversation about their experiences at the jamboree. (Seriously, do Scouts ever tire?) Even after a week of exhausting activity, they couldn’t stop telling me how much fun they were having, how great the jamboree is, how they couldn’t wait for the fireworks to begin and how cool it was that they still had two more days at the Summit.

Fireworks illuminated the sky, sparkling off the glassy lake. The boys sounded the appropriate “oohs” and “aahs” until the big finish when the loudspeakers played the national anthem during the biggest explosions yet. By instinct, they stopped talking, stood at attention and held the Scout salute throughout the entire grand finale. When the music silenced, one Scout turned to another and said, “I don’t know. … It just seemed like the thing to do.”

The 2013 National Jamboree featured a celebration of firsts: the first jamboree at the Summit; the first jamboree to welcome Venturing youth; the first jamboree to offer ATVs, skateboarding, pistol shooting, stand-up paddleboarding, canopy tours, Scottish Highland games and more. For many, it was their very first jamboree. It was my first, too. And now I’m a believer.

No matter what, the essence of Scouting shined through at the 2013 jamboree. I took thousands of photos (14,275 to be exact), and it’s these images, particularly of the saluting Scouts, that will stick with me for a lifetime.

If you missed the daily updates from the Summit — covering the people, places and activities at the jamboree — check out an archive on the Scouting magazine blog at

Scouting Magazine Brings You All the Action From the Jamboree 

Scroll through W. Garth Dowling’s photos from the jamboree, below.

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  1. I just want to say the article and the picture of the four Scouts just says it all bout WHY Scouting is here. Our training programs do not do justice to the experience of WHY there is a program like Scouting and WHY BP began it so long ago. Citizenship, Eespect, Honor, Commitment to this country and the freedom they have is WHY those Scouts stood there respectfully. They are an example for all. Thank you for sharing and I too still have goose bumps from the experience last summer.

  2. Loved serving on Staff at 2013 Jamboree. Your photos in the magazine and on the slideshow give me a need to see the other 14,275 pictures. How do we see more?

  3. Where are the pixs of the stand-up paddle boarding? In the interest of full disclosure, I was on the staff and we had a great bunch of scouts through the SUP fun fest

  4. We shelled out a lot of money for our boys to have this opportunity of a lifetime and were sorely disappointed…long lines, understaffed, and bad leadership from our council. Very disappointing yet life lessons were learned.

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