The Boy Scout World Jamboree brings together tens of thousands of scouts from all over.
The Jamboree-On-The-Air (JOTA) connects more than half a million every year.
“When Scouts want to meet young people from another country, they usually think of attending a World Jamboree,” Chief Cornplanter Council District Executive Ernie Crawford said. “Modern technology offers Scouts the exciting opportunity to make friends in other countries without leaving home. JOTA is an annual event in which Boy and Girl Scouts and Guides from all over the world speak to each other by means of Amateur (ham) Radio.”
“In 2012 nearly 700,000 Scouts participated with over 13,500 stations operated by 22,500 amateur radio operators in operation from 142 countries around the world,” Crawford said.
Using equipment located at Camp Olmsted, the Chief Cornplanter Council’s Amateur Radio Crew will be able to join that worldwide event this weekend. Crawford expects 25 to 30 local scouts to participate.
Some of the relationships built through radio contact are lasting ones.
“Since 1958 when the first Jamboree-on-the-Air was held, millions of Scouts have met each other through this event,” Crawford said. “Many contacts made during JOTA have resulted in pen pals and links between Scout troops that have lasted many years.”
“The radio stations are operated by licensed amateur radio operators,” he said.
In some cases, those licensed operators are scouts. In many, they are not.
“Many Scouts and leaders hold licenses and have their own stations, but the majority participate in JOTA through stations operated by local radio clubs and individual radio amateurs,” he said. “Some operators use television or computer-linked communications.”
“Crew advisor Russ Bush and crew members have worked hard putting together a radio station at Camp Olmsted,” Crawford said. “They were able to receive a loaner radio from the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America and ICOMM Radio to use for the upcoming year.”
Members are raising money toward the purchase of a radio for the council.
“Antennas were donated, borrowed and made for the upcoming Jamboree on the Air,” Crawford said.
The Amateur Radio Crew is sponsored by the Allegheny Highlands Repeater Associates.
The group is looking to expand its membership. “The Crew is still growing, so if you are between the ages of 14 and 21 and have an interest in amateur radio, please ask one of our members or call the Betts Scout Service Center at 723-6700, to see how you can join,” Crawford said.
Visitors are welcome to stop in during the JOTA.
“If you have an interest in ham radio and would like to see our young adults in action, feel free to stop by Camp Olmsted this weekend,” Crawford said.
The local portion of the event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.