Thursday, December 30, 2010

SHACJAM and a Not So Willing Celebrity

(This is Dale and I'm a guest blogger for this episode.  This event happened in October, but I'm just now finishing the blog.)

Jacob and I attended the Sam Houston Area Council Boy Scout Jamboree (SHACJAM) in early October.  It was held at the Texas World Speedway near College Station, TX.  The Speedway has a 2 mile oval and is no longer used for races, but it did provide a decent forum for a Scout Jamboree (and a convenient course for a 2 mile run).  One of the big events of the weekend was a record setting simultaneous launch of over 3000 model rockets.  Scouts from all over the council built model rockets and submitted them as part of the launch preparation.  Our Scoutmaster submitted the names of the boys from our troop who built rockets, and of all the names submitted from the council, Jacob was selected to push the button for the big launch. The caveat was that he needed to have a full uniform since the council was expecting press coverage .  Jacob has a scout shirt, but not being the "ultimate" scouter, he doesn't have a full scout uniform.  Since we were notified on late Wednesday, Marti spent part of Thursday tracking down the remaining pieces of a full uniform. Thanks to some friends in another ward (shorts), the scoutmaster (socks) and the neighbor's son (kerchief), a complete uniform was assembled. 

Maybe if it had been a sporting event Jacob would have been a little more comfortable with the press coverage and interviews, but since he was a little out of his element, he wasn't the most willing celebrity.  My favorite part was when a newspaper writer asked Jacob if he was nervous about the launch and why?  His response was, "yes, because I didn't want to have to answer questions about it."  It was a short interview.

Since I am the young men's president and this included all of the young men, I got to shoulder more of the responsibility to organize and prepare for the trip.  Just preparing was an adventure in and of itself between trailer light connections, flat tires on the trailer, and a dead battery in the pick-up.  I remembered why I am thankful I am not the Scoutmaster.

Here are some pictures from the event.  (Jacob participated in the 2 mile run Saturday morning, but I was back at camp and didn't get any pictures.  I also didn't include the program from Saturday night.  As one of our leaders said, it was a 40 minute program packed into 2 1/2 hours.)

Setting up Camp.  Apparently our troop has secret hand signals that I'm not aware of.

Saturday morning our troop, team and crew helped the state wildlife department with an educational booth.

This picture reminded of us of another "Harry Buffalo"
Smoky Bear is way more intense (and big) in person.
I used to have something similar to one of these.

I often envision myself driving something like this in Houston traffic.
The gun is aimed just about right for the idiot who cuts you off.

 Jacob and the launch organizer in front of the 3200 rockets.
 A picture of Jacob getting his picture taken by the newspaper photographers.
The newspaper picture as included with the internet story.
 Are we ready yet?  There's building drama and then there's just do it already.
 Pushing the button.
 Our view of the launch.
 What goes up, must come down.  All of the chutes didn't deploy. Fortunately we had a cover.
 Jacob and some of the other young men from his troop. 
It's probably the one time in his life that he will be the best dressed scout in the group.

 Sunday morning church services.  Gifford Nielsen was a featured speaker with Elder Costa of the Seventy's presidency.
Our view from our camp site.  At least it was convenient.
With 20,000+ people in attendance there was a whole lot of "go'in" go'in on.

Here are some links if you want to see the launch (you will have to copy and paste into your browser):

You can also do a You tube Search for  SHAC Jam World record Rocket Launch and see additional video.

Here is a partial news article with Jacob's quote and then a full article about the whole event. 

Boy Scouts set world record with rocket launch

Eagle photo/Stuart Villanueva
      Dozens of people lined the side of Texas 6 Saturday opposite the Texas World Speedway, anxiously waiting for 3,200 rockets to take flight simultaneously.
     On the race grounds, 22,000 Boy Scouts looked on with their parents and scoutmasters to see the launch that would set a new world record.
     "I was a little nervous about launching them," said 12-year-old Jacob Smith of Katy, who was selected to send off the projectiles. "I didn't want to have to answer any questions about it, but it was fun."
    All but 70 of the rockets took off, but that still destroyed the previous world record of 965, set in 2007 by a scouting troop in Austin.

Jammin’ big time with Boy Scouts
Updated: 10.12.10
COLLEGE STATION – Texas World Speedway was transformed into a temporary city of 26,432 Boy Scouts, leaders and family members over the weekend as the Sam Houston Area Council held it’s SHAC Jam in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

“We had never seen or put on an event this big,” said SHAC Jam Chairman Dan Ownby.

He said the jamboree is the largest event held by the Boy Scouts in Texas and is only second in size to the National Boy Scout Jamboree last summer which had 35,000 participants.

Highlighting SHACAustin.

The jamboree had more than 20 neighborhoods with different activities to do, including games and crafts for Cub Scouts, scuba diving, jousting, archery, climbing walls, Indian lore, lumberjack games, cooking demonstrations, obstacle courses, ethnic displays and activities, and much more.

NASA astronauts Michael Fossum – a veteran of two shuttle flights who is scheduled to fly to the International Space Station in May for a six-month tour – and Canadian Bob Thursk were on hand to sign autographs and speak to the Scouts. As an added bonus, Gill Clay, granddaughter of Boy Scout founder Robert Baden-Powell, came over from Whales for the event.

Ownby said Clay was offered a hotel room but turned it down.

“She said, ‘I will sleep in a tent’ and she slept in a tent the whole weekend,” he said.

In addition to speaking to the crowds, she helped serve food, worked at one of the stations and presided over a Wood Badge beading ceremony.

Ownby said the council had no idea how many people were coming. He said 21,000 registered and 5,000 came as walk-ins. He said it took a staff of 890 volunteers to run the event, with 100 working on it for the past year.

“This is the biggest mobilization of volunteers in Sam Houston Area Council ever,” he said.

The jamboree was funded mostly by entrance fees and generous donations from companies and individuals.

“There were some incredible people who donated some big-ticket items to make it happen,” he said.

He said AT&T set up a cell tower for the event and the engineering firm KBR “donated a whole bunch of stuff.”

Ownby said the event was an experience that few will forget.

“It’s opening people’s eyes to the possibilities of what a council this size can do,” he said.

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