The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Franklin D. Roosevelt
Invitation to the Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington.
February 8, 1937

Fellow Scouts:

Today we are celebrating our twenty-seventh anniversary. From one end of the country to the other we are taking stock of what has been accomplished during all these years and paying a deeply felt and well deserved tribute to the ideals of scouting.

I like to think on such occasions as this that there are many thousands of men—some young, some entering middle age-who, though not actively participating in our celebrations, have, nevertheless, found it to be true that "once a Boy Scout, always a Boy Scout." The ideals of Scouting are not simply ideals for boys. They are ideals for men. For the ideal of service to others can never be outgrown, however often it may be lost sight of by some.

Tonight I am especially happy to renew my invitation for the Boy Scouts to hold a Jamboree here in the nation's Capital in the early summer. We were all of us greatly disappointed because the Jamboree to which I had invited the Boy Scouts in 1935 had to be cancelled. But now we are going ahead with plans which I am confident will result in a demonstration on the part of boyhood the like of which has never been seen before in this country. I am glad that this is going to be an encampment because it is fitting that a movement such as ours should hold its first great national demonstration in the out-of-doors.

Yes, we are planning to have a city of tents rise here in the Capital actually within the shadow of the Washington Monument. On a site only a short distance from the room from which I am speaking to you today twenty-five thousand boys will live together under canvas from June thirtieth to July ninth. It stirs my imagination and I am sure that it gives all of you a genuine thrill.

Our country was developed by pioneers who camped along the trails which they blazed all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the slopes of the Pacific. To the American people for generations camping was a way of living—it is in our very blood. I believe that this Jamboree is going to be a great success because I believe in the effectiveness of trained boyhood. Incidentally, I am gratified to know that there was a greater increase in Boy Scout membership in 1936 than in any previous year. And, as showing that true Scouts always rise to every emergency, I am glad to say that I have received gratifying reports of the practical aid they are extending in cooperating with flood relief workers in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys.

Our Jamboree, besides being an event long to be remembered by the boys who participate, will afford a practical demonstration of the principle of self-reliance which scout work is developing in all of you. There will be gathered together a thoroughly representative group mobilized from all parts of the country. Other countries will send delegates to meet with us. Scouting is now organized in almost every civilized nation in the world. The Camp here in Washington will afford an opportunity for us to extend our horizon and enlarge our friendships, on the basis of the ideals expressed in the Scout Oath and Law.

I extend to you all my greetings and my good wishes for the year ahead. And now our Chief Scout Executive, Dr. James E. West, will lead us in rededicating ourselves to the Scout Oath.

Citation: Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Invitation to the Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington.", February 8, 1937. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15364.
 
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