The 2017 National Scouting Jamboree is over, but the impact that Operation Arrow had on not only the participants but also the entire staff is continuing to live on. Operation Arrow was the OA’s initiative to have the largest OA staff on Jamboree, and that goal was exceeded. Over 650 Arrowmen from across the nation participated in helping perform this extraordinary event.
It all started 2 days before any of the participants arrived. OA members all around the nation started pouring into the Summit Bechtel Reserve and right away there was fellowship everywhere. From going to the tent and meeting tent mates to the first time, to going into the Operation Arrow staff area on top of a huge hill, Arrowmen could be seen walking around and having a cheerful time. The staff area consisted of 3 tents: a movie tent, a gaming tent with just TVs and gaming consoles everywhere, and the “D-Stress Zone” where bean bag chairs and relaxation could be found. The first night up everyone got together for our opening staff show. The national and regional officers had a lip sync battle, and Matt Dukeman reminded everyone that we are here to provide service to the Jamboree, not get into trouble. The following day everyone broke into their staff areas to learn the basics and to gain the trust of their fellow scouts.
The Unit Arrival Day was by far the most chaotic day there was, however it was also one of the most rewarding days. Operation Arrow was tasked with being the bus guides, being the first faces of all the participants as they arrived, giving them talks about what to expect and helping them unload their gear. Just seeing all the faces of brand new scouts arriving at the Summit was reason enough to attend this amazing event.
Service Corp. was the biggest and most historic staff area. The area was the first staff implemented when Order of the Arrow began staffing the Jamboree, and since then has been a permanent fixature of service. Everyday Service Corps. would go out and help around whatever program area need the most help. One day an Arrowmen might be helping fishing, and the next running the zip lines. Service Corps. took care of things like bathroom clean up, and staffing the Base Camp Bashes. Service Corps. is the defining thing to do for most Arrowmen and each person came away with a different sense of what service to others means.
Trek Guides were the most hardcore staff members you could find. Everyday Trek Guides woke up early, went to a unit campsite that could be over a mile away, and guided the units to Garden Grounds, hiking up and down the line of scouts making sure they were drinking water and having a good time. Trek Guides on average hiked 14 miles a day, to put that in perspective that’s about 12 million sheets of toilet paper lined up side by side. Blisters were a common sight among all Trek Guides but if you ever saw any of them, they would just be joking around and having a great time, a testament to what cheerful service is.
The Order of the Arrow American Indian Village was a unique opportunity for scouts and scouters to embrace and learn about the Cherokee Tribe. The Cherokee people, which once inhabited the Summit, was the focus of the Indian Village activities and events that occurred. Launching ATL ATLS, building snares, blowing darts, flint knapping, and making fire by using friction were just some of the various opportunities that scouts had at the Indian Village with incorporated Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). After participating in the activities, scouts could enjoy a presentation which showcased the array of Native American dancing, ranging from Old Time Sioux to Grass. Scouts enjoyed the dancing shows and even got to participate, just like a traditional pow wow. It is with no doubt that the hike up to Garden Ground to visit the Indian Village was truly rewarding for each scout that attended the Jamboree!
Operation Arrow staff helped at each show, making sure everyone was drinking water and located in the stadium. Overall it was an experience that every Arrowmen should do at least once in their life. The friends meet and the people served leave a lasting impression on everyone.