Every four years, the Boy Scouts of America's National Jamboree brings together well over 12,000 young people, staff, and volunteers for over a week in a heaven for outdoor adventure lovers. At the last Jamboree in July, Dynamic Discs and our partners at Latitude 64° were proud to make disc golf a popular part of that paradise.
Thanks to multiple courses, a driving range, 45 disc golf baskets, hundreds of discs, and a massive effort from our team and volunteers, thousands of Scouts discovered disc golf over the 10 days of their 2023 National Jamboree.
"There's never been a larger concentration of people introduced to the sport that we can think of," said Derek Savory, Dynamic Discs' Sponsorship Coordinator.
How'd we end up at the Jamboree? What did we do to 'be prepared' for hordes of new players? What new doors did this open between the worlds of disc golf and scouting? The answers to those questions and more are below.
Getting to the Jamboree
During the Disc Golf Pro Tour Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2022, Boy Scout volunteer Tom Wells reached out to Dynamic Discs' head of Tourings and Promotion Ty Searle. Tom wanted to know if we were interested in bringing disc golf to the Scouts' National Jamboree the following year.
We very much were. At Dynamic Discs, our goal is to enrich lives through disc golf, and the chance to do that for thousands of outdoor enthusiasts – the vast majority of them young people under 18 – was too good to pass up.
"When I met Tom," said Ty, "I knew that disc golf would be a great addition to the Jamboree. I didn't know I would be involved, but I'm so glad I was! I have never been involved in an event that has the potential to grow the sport in such a tremendous way. We helped thousands of scouts, volunteers, and parents play and learn more about disc golf. Parents and scouts have contacted me about how much fun they had and the fact they are playing in their hometowns. That's exactly what we hoped for and it's happening!"
The setting didn't hurt, either. The Jamboree would be at Summit Bechtel Reserve, a training, Scouting, and adventure center that covers over 10,000 acres of picturesque West Virginia mountains and is surrounded by 60,000 more acres of wilderness. Even with hundreds of other activities to offer, finding enough space to show off disc golf at its best clearly wouldn't be an issue.
Derek led the project from our side, and he quickly realized that to do this thing right, we'd need backup. Luckily, Seth Fendley, who heads up Latitude 64°'s U.S. operations, was as excited by the opportunity as we were and was happy to join forces. Crispin Carrasco, founder of Handeye Supply Company, was also called in for backup and had this to say:
"My time in the mountains of West Virginia at the 2023 Jamboree was an experience I am grateful for and will never forget. It was a chance to be among Scouts from all over the world, and I was beyond impressed by the overall kindness and respect these kids gave us and each other. To be given the opportunity to introduce Disc Golf, and all the positive vibes the sport encompasses, was a true pleasure and honor. New friendships were formed and old ones were strengthened through the bond of flight."
Four Courses and a Driving Range
The course closest to the center of festivities was in a natural amphitheater. We had 75 starter sets there to lend out, and they were all in constant use each day from shortly after the course opened at 8 a.m. to shortly before it closed at 5 p.m.
The other three courses were at Thrasher Mountain, which took about an hour's hike to reach. The remoteness meant the courses saw less foot traffic, but that allowed them to offer Scouts the almost meditative disc golf experience so many players love.
"Teenagers on top of a mountain – relaxed, calm, and peaceful," said Beth Lane, a Scout volunteer at Thrasher Mountain during the Jamboree.
Those Scouts who wanted to hone their skills before hitting the course had a chance to work on their form on the driving range. Disc golf experts that included Dynamic Discs pro team members Macie Velediaz and Zach Melton offered pointers and ran clinics there, too.
"We definitely saw future touring pros," Macie said, referring to the talent some Scouts showed for disc golf. "We had so much fun teaching these Scouts disc golf. My favorite part had to be seeing their faces light up when something I taught them clicked. The event was awesome and I’m so happy I was involved."
Scouting Out New Connections
It's not just us who thought disc golf and Scouting were a good mix. In a debriefing call, the Boy Scouts team told us things like "everyone was positive about their disc golf experience" and that the sport could be "helpful to the formation of a young person throughout a lifetime."
The Reserve received 500 discs from Latitude 64°, Westside Discs, and us plus 20 baskets as a donation to help its huge number of annual visitors discover disc golf.
One of the beliefs of the Boy Scouts of America is that every new adventure helps Scouts uncover something new about themselves, and we want to thank them for letting us be one of those fresh adventures for so many Scouts last July. We'd love to do it all again in four years – and, hopefully, we'll be helping plenty of Scouts get out, get active, and play disc golf well before that.
Photo Credit: Boy Scouts of America