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American Scouts at the 4th World Jamboree

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The Final Campfire at Gödöllö


0NE day to our great dismay — we discovered that the jamboree was quickly drawing to its close.

We hadn't given a moment to the thought that it wasn't meant to go on forever. We had felt so utterly at home here, we had made so many friends and experienced so much, we really had been too busy to think very far ahead.

It was almost impossible to believe that the jamboree city was to vanish as suddenly as it had been built. For its two weeks, hadn't it been the second largest railroad center in Hungary? Hadn't it been a regular town, with its own water works, police force and fire department? Hadn't it been one of the outstanding tourist attractions of the European continent? And in a day, it would be reduced to a memory-but always a glowing one!

The afternoon before that fateful day, we had a large party in the American camp.

This was to show in a small way, our feeling of appreciation to the Hungarian leaders who had done so much for our happiness during the jamboree.

From the Hungarian jamboree headquarters came Count Teleki and Dr. de Molnar. Our own Sub-camp III headquarters was represented by its chief, the ever-obliging General Veder and his able helpers, Mr. Oroszlany, Dr. Gomory (popularly known as "Victor"), Dr. Muller and our camp fire leader, Dr. Szendy-" Sandy." All of whom had been responsible, in a very personal way, for our wellbeing.

We were also honored by having Hubert S. Martin, Director of the International Bureau, and Lord Hampton join us at our friendly gettogether.

After our guests had been welcomed a program got under way with song, speeches, refreshments, yells and the presentations of souvenirs to our deserving guests and streamer awards to be fastened onto the flags of the American jamboree Troops.

With the breaking up of the party and our friends saying good-by, we started to realize that this was the beginning of the end. . . .

The next afternoon, we gathered in the arena for the last time, for the most amusing parade of the Jamboree: the marching by of the workers behind the stage.

We had often wondered how it had been possible to run the whole mighty undertaking so effectively and so smoothly. Now at last we had a chance to see and to greet the many individual "wheels" of the giant machine.

First came all the Service Troops, with banners or floats to demonstrate their activities, each group greeted with our cheers of thanks for work well done.

The cooks of the delegates' camp walked by in white aprons, with big ladles in their hands, followed by carpenters with their tools, electricians wrapped up in wires of many colors, broadcasters carrying a. complete loud-speaker

arrangement. First aiders, with ambulances and stretchers, firemen, rolling by in their engines, making a terrific racket and many, many more of these willing workers.

And lastly, the bands! Fifteen of them, one after the other, each playing its own tune, each keeping its own time! A roar of laughter shook the mass of onlookers, as we tried to make out what was being played. What a hand they got for that stunt!

When the last group had marched by, Count Teleki, our camp chief, mounted the reviewing stand and spoke to us:

"Brother Scouts! The Fourth World jamboree has come to its end.

"It has been a Jamboree of joy and of many friendships. It has strengthened our movement and has shown the world what we can and will do.

"I bid you farewell, in the name of the Hungarian Scout Organization. We thank you for having come. It is our sincere hope that you take home with you, in your hearts, the remembrance of the brotherhood and comradeship here.

"And now, in closing, let us join in the great circle and by grasping each other's hands, say good-by!"

And so the circle of friendship was formed, not one circle, but many of them, one around the other making layer upon layer of Scouts. The high Scout officials of the world stepped into the ring. Chief Scouts and their smallest brothers, all ranks, all races and all religions, joined hands. We did it smilingly, yet behind our smiles, we were sad. A lump was forming in our throats, this meant . . . good-by.

Count Teleki lifted his hand and a roar arose from the gathering. Each Scout in his own language yelled the key-word of the jamboree: "Brother!"

It rose high, spread across the arena, came back as a tremendous echo:

"Brother! Bruder! Frere! Broder! Testv6r!"

Then, somewhere, some one started to sing:

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind . . ."

We all joined in the singing, singing as we had never sung before. Thus to the tune of

"Auld Lang Syne" and an old Hungarian song which followed it, the jamboree came to its close. . . .

It was hard to realize that it was all over, that one of the most glorious experiences of our lives had ended.

The air was filled with farewell greetings"Good-by-Cheerio-Au revoir-Auf wiedersehen - Farvel - Czuwaj Var redo - Jo munkat." Hands were pressed, addresses written down-- "Don't forget to write"-and last minute "Changes" were made.

It was a queer sensation saying good-by to the boys who had become our genuine friends —knowing that most probably we would never meet again.

Slowly, subdued, we walked back to "America" arm in arm with some Brother Scouts.

Our last job was at hand-breaking camp and packing. We went to work reluctantly. . . .

Yet another unforgettable experience was in store for us.

How it came about, we don't know, but that evening, we had one of the finest camp fires in our own camp.

There were no more official fires scheduled and we hadn't planned any. Yet from the small beginning of a fire to burn up a few sticks and a bit of paper, grew a large friendly conclave.

A couple of American Scouts stopped in front of it. Another pair joined them. A leader moved over his chair. Another came up. A few Scouts came to speak to a leader-and stayed. Some Hungarian Scouts passing by noticed the blaze and were attracted by it. The ring closed around and another ring was formed outside of that. Some of us started humming a tune, it grew into a song and as we drifted from song to song, the group grew.

There was no discussing a program. When one song was finished, another was started some place. In the beginning they were all American songs. Then a couple of French Scouts started to sing, hesitatingly at firstas if they felt they were intruding-but as they sensed our encouragement, they sang out fully.

And thus it went. . . .

A Hungarian Scout sang "Aloha Ohe" in a magnificent soft baritone, then broke into a folk song of his country. Other Hungarian Scouts followed his lead and-the hundreds of visitors also joined them. We became the audience as gay and sad songs followed one after the other.

We felt ourselves drawn closer and closer in the bonds of real friendship.

It was a true manifestation of the spirit of the Jamboree.

The weird notes of the Hungarian taps sounded through the camp, calling the Scouts to their quarters.

One of the American leaders asked us to join in a benediction. Our hearts were almost too full when we lifted our hands in the Scout Salute and repeated with him:

"And now may the Great Scoutmaster of all good Scouts be with us . . . till we meet again!"

Quietly, the big gathering broke up.

A few of us remained to watch the fire, as it slowly burned down.

The flames died away and the embers started to grow cold. A wisp of thin blue smoke floated upward against the starry sky.

As we followed it with our eyes, it suddenly seemed to take on shape, to grow into the figure of a leaping deer,-the White Stag-the symbol of the Fourth World jamboree. . . .

The spirit of that symbol was in our hearts as we left Godollo the next day. It has come back to America with us and will be forever spurring us on as we travel the road of Scouting.

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link-1933-wj4-sjb.jpg (2889 bytes) The 1933 Scout Jamboree Book
by James E. West & William Hillcourt
link-1933-small.jpg (2999 bytes) Home Page of the 4th World Jamboree
Gödöllö, Hungary, 1933
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Last Modified: 6:00 PM on October 11, 1998