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Bob Lind, Published July 12 2009

Lind: Trip to Boy Scout Jamboree left fond recollections for Fargo man

Larry Jenkins of Fargo, still has his 1948 Boy Scout Handbook and lots of other Scout paraphernalia.

Plus, he has memories and souvenirs of his trip to the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Colorado Springs, Colo., 49 years ago this month.

He lived in Moorhead when he and his older brother Chall, now of Dixon, Ill., joined other members of Troop 44 in heading for the 1960 Jamboree.

He still has the list of things to pack, including a mess kit, a blanket, a camera and three rolls of film and a ground cloth.

And he has his Scout uniform, or at least part of it, in a cute and condensed sort of way.

That Jamboree was the only one Larry attended. But it was a doozy, even if he didn’t get close to one of the Lennon sisters.

Hot but busy

The boys and their leaders went to the Jamboree by train. One memorable sight: smoke from a forest fire near Cody, Wyo.

“There was talk of having the Scouts fight that fire,” he says, “I wonder if they’d really let a bunch of boys do that, though. Anyhow, we didn’t.”

The thousands of boys from all over the nation and from 26 foreign countries lived in tents, with a background that reminded the boys of Troop 44 they weren’t in Moorhead; it was Pikes Peak, the 14,000-plus mountain just west of Colorado Springs.

The only bummer was the heat. “It was so hot you didn’t want to be in your tent,” Larry says. “But we were so busy, we weren’t in the tents much anyway.”

Their activities included Scoutcraft contests, sports, tours of the Air Force Academy and the Denver Mint and many special events, including visits by some famed people. Among them: “Gunsmoke” star James Arness, comedian Herb Shriner and President Dwight Eisenhower. “I was just a short distance from Ike when he went by in a car,” Larry says.

Maybe best of all was an appearance by the Lennon Sisters from the “Lawrence Welk Show.” That’s because Larry says he had a crush on Janet, the youngest of the girls who, like Larry, was 14. “She was a cutey,” he says.

He didn’t get to meet her. But in the long run, that was OK because quite a few years later he married someone even better: his wife Denice.

No big problems

Larry and Denice have two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He loves camping out, just as he did back in his Scouting days.

And, as an adult looking back on the Jamboree, he says, “You have to salute the leaders. There were lots of boys to supervise. But there were no problems. No fights. Nothing.”

The only mini-problem was a boy who became terribly homesick. “He got a harmonica,” Larry says, “and he’d sit there playing mournful songs. It got so bad he was told to quit.”

Larry has been to the site of that Jamboree maybe 20 times since 1960 “but you wouldn’t recognize it; it’s just barren land,” he says.

But in July 1960, that site was four square miles of boys.

His Scout bear

A few years ago, Larry had Doris Lee of Fargo, make a Scout bear for him.

It’s made out of Larry’s Scout uniform, and is decked out with Scout insignia, badges, a Scout knife.

“I love to look at it,” he says. “This all might have got stuck in a closet and maybe tossed out.

“But I’ll never throw this bear away. It reminds me of the good times.”

The 1960 Jamboree perhaps was the best event of those good times for Larry, even if he didn’t get close to Janet Lennon and had to settle for the president.

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