" We are sending you to the National Jamboree" said Scoutmaster de la Fuente.
Tenderfoot scout Voltaire did not know how to react. He has not been away from home long. He has not been in an actual Boy Scouts camping. He does not have a Type-A uniform. And he does not know if his parents can afford it. Mrs. Bajet, the school principal, said the school was spending for his participation. Yes, even the Type A & B uniforms.
The pre-jamboree training was at the Nichols Air Base Elementary school. Patrols were created, organizing the boys scouts into groups of eight. Scoutmasters from the different schools acted as trainors. There was Mr. Bagsic from the Gotamco Elementary School. Mr Bueno from the BSP Pasay City Headquarters. Mr Santero from Southeastern College.
The training took three days. There were lectures on pioneering, on knot-tying, fire building, semaphore and morse codes, formations and drills, how to wear the uniform properly, and several boy scouts songs were learned. Voltaire made friends with Geoffrey from South Eastern College, and a certain Rogelio from Zamora Elementary School. They were patrol mates.
One of the more difficult sessions was the hike to somewhere unknown to the boy scouts, with only signs to guide them where to go to. Pretty much like an ancient version of Amazing Race. Signs could be a bent cluster of weeds, stones in an arrow formation, etc.
With all the training that corresponded with merit badges, scout Voltaire moved up from tenderfoot to second-class before D-Day.
The Jamboree was held in Camp Atate, Palayan City. Then first-son Bongbong Marcos was brought in by chopper to address his fellow boy scouts on the opening ceremonies.
There were activities everyday, with each activity earning the boys merit badges. Including firing on a shooting range for a merit badge on marksmanship. Whether or not you hit the target.
The boys roamed around and exchanged souvenirs with fellow scouts from the different regions in the Philippines. Voltaire swapped his green beret with a cap from a boy scout from Zamboanga. The cap had a mother-of-pearl inlay.
The boys also planted trees. The trees must have made a forest out of Atate.
Bathing and washing of clothes was an adventure in itself. The boys had to rappel down a cliff to the river below. But no, the boys were disciplined enough not to use the river as a toilet. There were kybos in the camp site. KYBO means Keep Your Bowel Out.
There were many stories to tell. Most of all, the boys moved another rank higher because of the merit badges they collected from the various activities. And Tenderfoot Voltaire emerged from the National jamboree a First Class boy scout.