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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.