More than 15,000 Scouts, leaders and families are continuing their giant Northern California Jamboree today at the Alameda County Fairgrounds to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.
"The Northern California 100th Anniversary Jamboree is one the largest birthday celebrations outside of the National Jamboree being held in Virginia this summer," said Mike Faber, event general chairman. "It has taken more than two years of planning and countless hours by many volunteers and Scouting professionals from 11 Councils, but the amount of excitement and entertainment that will take place over these four days will be remembered forever."
A drive along the fairgrounds on Bernal and Valley avenues shows a virtual sea of tents the Scouts have erected and where they have been sleeping during the four-day event that ends today.
The first contingent from Santa Clara County set up their tents Thursday afternoon, since this week was spring break for them. That day, the early campers had to work their way around the thousands who showed up for the Tea Party, which also was held on the fairgrounds parking lot fields.
"We didn't know they were going to be here - it's given us a chance to follow our motto: 'Be prepared,'" said Marcia Morrow, camp director of registration.
The Northern California 100th Anniversary Jamboree - "A Portal Through Time" - is open to the Scouting community and the public. While there will be over 8,000 Scouts camping at the Fairgrounds, more than 7,000 have also pre-purchased Day Passes; the public also is invited to attend by purchasing a Day Pass for the price of $20, of which $1 will go to the Alameda County Food Bank. All Scouts attending brought a can of food as part of their entrance fee.
Jamboree staff hopes there will be an amazing public turnout to the event and it will attract many new boys and girls to Scouting.
"Fun, fun, and more fun was what we had in mind when we created our program for the Jamboree," said Larry Clark, the event coordinator.
Activities will run the gamut from simple Arts and Crafts and Science stations, such as ant farms and tree planting (for Earth Day), to an Extreme Center reserved for those ages 14 and older who can explore kayaking, scuba diving and COPES courses. There will be a Mountain Man Village complete with tomahawk throwing, blacksmithing, cooking fry bread, and building a log cabin. A full BMX course and a Rock Wall as well as Archery and BB Gun shooting will be available for the more adventurous and many more enjoyable goings-on for all ages.
"We will have many guest organizations on site as well," said Faber, "such as firefighters, police officers and the U.S. Military." Kids and adults alike will enjoy the flight simulators, learning about search & rescue and exploring military gear and displays.