Boy Scouts 2014 Jamboree On The Air Report Shows Drop in Participation
The Boy Scouts of America's 2014 Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) — the 57th such event — has reported an overall decline in JOTA participation from 2013 to 2014 by Boy Scout Councils, individual Scouts, and stations. The drop may be due in part to the failure of some participating stations to file reports. JOTA takes place each year on the third full weekend of October. The BSA also provided a video report. Participation in the 2012 JOTA took a big jump, with 18,566 Scouts and visitors. In 2013, however, participation was down by nearly 4700 to 13,866, and this year it dropped by another 540 to 13,326. The BSA report broke down that participation into 7208 Scouts and 5589 visitors in 2014.
“Our key concern is that roughly 40 percent of the stations that register prior to the event fail to file a report after the event, a percentage that has remained consistent over the past few years,” National Jamboree on the Air Organizer Jim Wilson, K5ND, told ARRL. “We are now conducting a survey with the 130 stations that did not file a report in 2014 to see what we can do better next year.” According to the report, 354 stations registered to participate, but only 205 filed reports.
Wilson said another concern is the drop off in local Scout Council participation, from 180 in 2012 to 148 in 2014. “The missing reports can no doubt help somewhat with this, but we recognize that we need to do a better job promoting the event to Scout Council staff and volunteers,” he added. “We’ve done a much better job getting the word out to the Amateur Radio community, with some great assistance from the ARRL.”
One bright spot: The report highlighted record growth in the number of Radio merit badges earned in 2013 at 7208. In addition, 6800 Amateur Radio Operator Rating Strips were sold in its first year. The nominally priced uniform insignia indicates the wearer’s availability as an Amateur Radio operator. The similarly priced Morse Code Interpreter Strip sold 1200 in the past year, ranking second among all interpreter strips.