The 1997 Jamboree returned to Ft A P Hill in Virginia. After four Jamboree’s the “hill” had been transformed to a perfect site for a Jamboree. The official attendance was 36.015 which is about the same as previous Jamborees. The theme was Character Counts, and Be Prepared for the Twenty First Century. It was the fifty anniversary of the 1937 Jamboree. The Jamboree logo incorporated the 1937 starburst design. Scouters who had attended in 1937 were present in 1997. There is an article about them in the Jamboree Today newspaper.

Scouts attending the Jamboree were immersed in American history, visiting the sites in Washington DC and the surrounding area. Northern Virginia is the heart of American history. Many contingents visited nearby Civil War battlefields and Colonial Williamsburg. Bill Clinton was President, he attended and spoke glowingly of his experiences as a Cub Scout in Little Rock, AR.
patches 1997 bsa jamboree
Scouts received two embroidered 3” patches and neckerchiefs, an official I D cards, luggage/baggage tags and a Scout Guide to the Jamboree. With so many visitors Jamboree participants needed to show their ID to enter many of the action/program areas. The influx of visitors, sometimes whole troops coming to the Jamboree and wanting to fully participate in all activities had been and was a problem. With 35,000 registered Jamboree participants the program areas already had long lines. Add 10,000+ visitors and the wait time was a really problem.
1997 bsa jamboree patches
1997 bsa jamboree patches
(to the left) - Official neckerchief. No known varieties.
(right of the neckerchief) - 3" leather emblem


I am unaware of any 1997 prototypes or variations. It seems odd because they exist for 1993 and 2001, but again if they exist, they are unknown to me. I’d be happy to list any if anyone has information. These patches were made in huge quantities and small variations can occur especially in the shade of red (light and dark), and the backing treatment. Some have smooth plastic others have plastic over gauze. These are collectible but you may have to look hard.
1997 special patch


(to the left) - I have repeatedly commented that Jamboree planners were continually looking for ways to get Scouts more involved in all the activities at the Jamboree.
 
For 1997 a segment system was introduced with a segment being awarded for Scouts that visited and participated in five activities. It was repeated at later Jamborees, the segments don’t seem to be common.
promotional lit 1997 bsa jamboree


For the early Jamborees I showed posters and different promotional literature. There isn’t much in the way of promotional material for the later Jamborees. A three fold flier was available in 1997.

Individual BSA Councils usually have a Jamboree committee whose job is to promote and help finance the Jamboree for local Scouts. Some Councils do a better job than others in promoting the Jamboree.

In 1993 the adventure theme was promoted and it seemed like a good one, but it was abandoned in 1997.
1997 bsa jamboree guide book
The 1997 Guide book is full of information. Youth Protection in the BSA was a well established program, yet there was just a brief mention of it in the 1997 Guide book, not much different from previous years.
1997 daily bsa jamboree news
The Jamboree theme was Character Counts. There was “somewhat” of an explanation about what that means in the Jamboree Today. Reading this as an adult, I really don’t believe the article answers the question. Read it for yourself, maybe it’s just me.  

The Opening Show was July 29th with clear sky's and comfortable temperatures. A patriotic theme prevailed with flags, cannon and rifle fire. I showed images for 1993. It seems odd that the Jamboree Today didn’t have images from the 1997 opening.
President Bill Clinton 
President Bill Clinton visited Wednesday night accompanied by military bands, and dignitaries. Clinton was presented with the Silver Buffalo, the BSA’s highest recognition. His words were very complimentary; “ If every young person in America could give back to their community the way you do, just imagine how many fewer problems we’d have”. “So many times I have wished that every young person in America had the chance to be a part of Scouting, and tonight I see more clearly than ever”.

He spoke of his time as a Cub Scout and again was very complimentary of Scouting. There is no question that Bill Clinton is probably the most accomplished politician of our era. His Presidency was successful, but the irony of giving him the Silver Buffalo at an event whose theme was Character Counts seemed ironic to some.
action centers 
The Action Centers, Merit Badge Midway and Display Areas operate almost to capacity. I repeatedly say that there is so much to do at Jamborees that it’s a shame that everyone doesn’t avail themselves to the adventure. Scouts could chose from six merit badges at the M.B. Midway.  
1997 bsa jamboree map 
1997 bsa jamboree map
 
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Paul Myers Goshen, Indiana
gimogash@comcast.net