2001 National Jamboree: Scoutopia
By Scott Simpson
Recently, I had the privilege
of participating at National Jamboree in
Scoutopia. For those not familiar with this experience, it was the most
recent show production of the National OA Committee.
But what is Scoutopia? It is the Scout Utopia; a place where Scouting's
values emphasize duty and commitment. Made possible by the US Marine
Corps in conjunction with the National OA Committee,
the experience begins with
"Regeneration", the process by which Scouts enter the show. Here, they are
introduced to three levels, each with a different feel and message. As
the participants progress through Regeneration, they are bombarded with
thought-provoking quotes and reminders of Scouting values.
The show begins with a splash of color
Scoutopia staff built dramatic
sets for the show.
The show itself, a creative and colorful juxtaposition of music,
values, and comedy, includes many imaginative and original elements. The
'Utopians', for example, represent duty to God and country, others, and
self. Unable to speak, they express themselves through their actions. This
theme carries to the end of the show, where the audience is made aware
that actions speak louder than words. Small skits of real-life experiences
underscore key points of the show and highlight Scouting values in
I was cast as Ben, a typical high school student in one of the skits. Ben is
confronted with decisions about using drugs and cheating on a test. As the
scene ends, he is boxed in by peer pressure. After a brief epiphany, Ben
steps away from his friends, realizing that his values will keep him out
In another scene, two rival high school sports players have a
disagreement. Every time something hurtful or inappropriate is said the
Utopians sound a note, thus allowing the players to answer differently.
This makes for some good comedy, as well as a reinforcement of ethics in
Ben is pressured by his peers
Scouting values appear everywhere - even in sports!
Six or seven times each day, Scoutopia's magic reached the Scouts of the
2001 National Jamboree. Watching as we reached the Jamboree scouts
and adults 622 at a time, it became clear that Scoutopia lived up to the
grandeur of its predecessor production, the "Odyssey of the Law".
At the end of the show, Scouts were asked to pledge their commitment
to the values of Scouting by signing the "Wall of Commitment",
a hundred-foot-long place to write one's commitment, name, and hometown.
Scoutopia clearly left a lasting impression on the thousands
of Scouts fortunate to witness its magic during the Jamboree.
(Scott served on the staff of Scoutopia as a cast member)