It is Thursday morning (I think) and I am taking a few quiet moments to get set for the day.
Starting off Monday afternoon with 400 Scouts, we have had 2000-3000 youth and adults go through the intro to Scuba area each day. I am located in the Exhibits tent that they go through on the way out.
The IMH exhibit consists primarily of a table with sample artifacts and books, plus some posters of the USS Alligator, Queen Anne’s Revenge, etc. The artifacts were borrowed from a lovely couple who live near Mount Vernon and they wash up on their beach, most of the items are of 1820-1870 manufacture according to one of the archaeologists here on SCUBA staff. I have a good bit of glass, pottery and few interesting metal items like scissors and padlocks. Using these as examples of items we MIGHT find on a wreck, we talk about the reasons why we never remove artifacts when we find them. The boys are very respectful of the principles of Leave No Trace, so I use that as one of the keynote points. They also understand that there are laws governing most artifact removal. Most importantly, I stress that we can learn more by studying the items where we find them, to get the whole story.
Most of the kids politely listen as I talk about the SHIP project, but a couple ask for more information on how they can meet divers in their area with similar interests or volunteer opportunities. I give them suggestions and my card so they can ask for help if they need it. Many want to hear about pirates, so we discuss Blackbeard and the Queen Anne’s Revenge project in North Carolina.
I have also been watching the kids paint with Wyland, who is here to promote his clean water program. Divers Alert Network is here talking to the kids about being prepared, dive medicine and dive safety. PADI is pushing dive training, which we certainly encourage. SUDS has a booth to talk about the dive training program for disabled veterans and what is possible for anyone. Olympus Cameras is offering employee pricing to everyone who attends.
This is an amazing opportunity to meet many young men and perhaps influence a few of them to pursue a career or hobby in maritime history and underwater archaeology. My schedule is such that, since I am here by myself, I am not going to see much of the Jamboree. Now that I am here, I understand better what we can accomplish in education and inspiration. Hopefully, if we decide to do this again in the future, we will have many volunteers and professionals who would like to come and meet the kids. It is not too late for local folks to come in as visitors and check it out!
I will post some photos of this amazing event in the next few days.