Journalists can help Scouts at the National Jamboree

Dec 7, 2016

By Mary Fisher
Co-Publisher | Fisher Publishing, Danville, AR

Have you ever wanted to go play in the woods and still be in contact with people doing the same thing as you do? The National Boy Scout Jamboree provides that opportunity. During July 19-28, 2017, in Beckley, WV, you could have the time of your life doing what you love.

Every four years at the National Boy Scout Jamboree, young scouters (ages 11 to 17) come to the Hometown Media tent at the jamboree—now called the Summit—where they will write a story, have it edited and then the HTM staff will transmit the story to the youth’s media outlet—normally newspapers—in their home towns, including photos they take at the jamboree.

Next year, the operation will include some social media opportunities, such as Facebook, which will provide scouts the opportunity to transmit stories and photos, first to their hometown newspapers, and then to other multi-media outlets.

This gives these correspondents a chance to present the jamboree through their stories and photos. The program is designed not only for Boy Scouts, but also for boys and girls in the Venture and Exploring programs. They learn to work with an editor and have their work edited by a professional news person, teacher or professor.

The Boy Scouts will have the opportunity to add some portions’ to their Merit Badges if they register with Hometown Media and then work on their journalism and photography merit badges at Hometown Media tent.

The best thing is, adults can be part of this by volunteering as a staff member. Here are some of the requirements for helping out at the jamboree:

• Be a registered Scouter.

• Have taken Youth Protection for Boy Scouts, Ventures and Exploring.

• Paid a registration fee, which is inclusive with the exception of travel and cost of food on the way.

But if you cannot make the trip next year, your newspaper could still participate by being a source, where the participants can send their stories and photos. If you’re interested, you should contact the Boy Scout Council in your area. Ask the council to place you in touch with the Jamboree Scoutmaster, who in return can ask one of their youths in your area to sign up to be your jamboree Hometown Media correspondent.

If you have questions about the jamboree or this opportunity, please contact David or Mary Fisher, co-chairs of this event. David can be reached at 479-495-0516. I can be reached at 479-495-0515. We will be happy to discuss this with you.

A little background about us: In 1989, David attended the jamboree with the troop from Westark Area Council from Northwest Arkansas. That same year I attended with Hometown News as a news editor.

The next jamboree, we were both news editors and worked our way up each year to managing editors, chief editor and now we both share the responsibility of co-chair. I have eight jamborees under my belt working with scouters in journalism.

David has attended eight jamborees and seven of them with Hometown News, chairing the last three. This is what we love to do.

Our family owns five newspapers, and David is Region 7 director for the National Newspaper Association. He is also a past president of the Arkansas Press Association.

I’m also a recent past president of the Arkansas Press Association. I’ve had the pleasure of serving two years as a member of the NNA’s Publishers’ Auxiliary Committee, and I will be assisting the NNA Foundation board in Washington next March during NNA’s Community Newspaper Leadership Summit.

Both of us have worked for many years in the local, district, council, regional and national scouting programs. We have one son who is an Eagle Scout.

We think it’s all worthwhile. If you can give young men and women a small taste of what you love doing, and show them that journalism—especially with newspapers—is an upstanding profession, then what more can you ask for?

If someone on your staff is a scouter, please pass this information along and have him or her contact me. My email is