The 1981 Jamboree was at a military base eighty five miles south of Washington D.C. Fort A.P. Hill was a perfect location for a Jamboree. Close enough to the historic sights in the National Capitol yet on a military base, with the US Army providing security. The US Military and the BSA poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the site. “The Hill” would be the permanent home of future Jamborees. The official attendance is reported at 42,000, a huge increase over 1977. The Jamboree theme was Scouting's Reunion with History. Part of the Jamboree experience would be immersing Scouts in our nations history. Most contingents visited Washington DC, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington’s home at Mt Vernon, the FBI etc. Jamboree attendance had been decreasing and the Jamboree experience seems to have been re-thought. Was the purpose of the Jamboree an opportunity for Scouts to camp together using the Patrol Method, or was there a potential for a larger purpose. Visiting the historic sights seemed to be an important aspect. Did this help make a Scout a better citizen? Back to basics was the new way. Citizenship and Character building through an outdoor based program. Ronald Regan was President, he survived an assassination attempt and was still convalescing, he did not attend.

Scouting had made huge changes during the 1970’s. Bill Hillcourt came out of retirement to help write the (new) 1979 handbook. If anyone knew what Scouting was, it was green bar Bill. Camping, cooking and canoeing, fun in the outdoors was the theme. Norman Rockwell illustrated the cover and nostalgic Rockwell images were scattered throughout the handbook. Duty to God and Country was alive again. Camping and Cooking merit badges merit badges were reinstated for Eagle.
idcardsScouts received two embroidered badges and neckerchiefs. There were official I D cards and luggage/baggage tags. Each Scout was given a guide book that has valuable information about the Jamboree.Patches were made in huge quantities.
wide games event
The official patch, segment and back patch have fully a embroidered background.
1981 boy scout jamboree neckerchief
The neckerchief like the badges was made in huge quantities, but I haven’t identified varieties.

(below) -Non-Fully embroidered pocket, back patch and segment. Some like to call these prototypes, but in my opinion they were not made as an experiments to see what the best design was. The design details appear to be identical to the standard fully embroidered patches.
scout patch a
patch b 1981 boy scout national jamboree
ORANGE face color, Fleur de leis, top border of Washington’s hat and 1981 is orange.
The fleur de leis is different. This may be a prototype, the orange thread could just be a thread replacement but the different fleur de leis makes it unique. This badge and segment may be a true prototype.

The National BSA and perhaps high level Jamboree leaders seemed to realized that there was a profit opportunity in Jamboree prototypes. The non fully embroidered issue above, A seem to have been somewhat available, at least in 1981. The orange fleur de leis, B is less common and perhaps a true prototype.
unofficial 1981 boy scout patches
There were unofficial large back/jacket patches obviously made in the orient. The top four are fully embroidered with minor differences. It’s possible these were made by Howard Ang in Taiwan. I mention him in 1977 and again in 1985.
These unofficial issues of a “official” patch aren’t easy to classify. They aren’t “fakes” because at the time they weren’t made to deceive anyone. Yet, they are unofficial, it’s my belief that they weren’t sold at a premium price over the ordinary Jamboree jacket patches. I’d suggest, unofficial souvenir as a classification. In Jamboree collecting there seems to be a lot of this from the unofficial pennants sold by street vendors at the 1937 Jamboree to all the modern unofficial staff issues.
back patch 1981 boy scout national jamboree

The back/jacket Patch issue to the left is not fully embroidered and does not have the Oriental look. It could easily be confused with the embroidered official (?) patch but the details are different and the patch is larger . Thanks Jim Ellis.
I have puzzled over why there should be so many large 1981 back/jacket patches. Perhaps it’s because both the regular back/jacket patch was so small. Only 1 1/2” larger that the pocket patch. Perhaps Scouters wanted a real (larger) patch.
fake 1981 boy scout jamboree patches
The practice of making badges that had no resemblance of being official continued in 1981. People came to the Jamboree with badges designed strictly for trading. There would be thousands of visitors and hundreds of Wood Badges who might want this type of badges. In theory the Security Staff was to be on the lookout for these, but how do you police thousands of Scouts trading.(above) The practice of making badges that had no semblance of being official continued in1981. People came to the Jamboree with badges designed strictly for trading. There would be thousands of visitors and hundreds of Wood Badges who might want this type of badges. In theory the Security Staff was to be on the lookout for these, but how do you police thousands of Scouts trading.

(to the left) I’ve shown so many manuals from previous Jamborees that I believe everyone understands that National Jamborees are well organized events.
There is a myriad of paperwork for all future Jamborees but since I’ve shown so much from previous Jamborees I’m going to deemphasize it for future Jamborees.
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Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana