Recounting the Operation Arrow Experience
Written by Brandon Kelly | 2017 Section Chief
I stepped onto the bus and looked back over my shoulder to soak in every last detail I could of the SBR and told myself, “see you in four years.”
That was in 2013 when I served as a Trek Guide. This summer, I returned to the Summit Bechtel Reserve and was once again a part of “the zesty blues” as a member of the OA Headquarters staff. I specifically worked on mass mobilization efforts for Unit Arrival Day (UAD) and stadium show gatherings – a very different experience than what I had in 2013. During the 2013 National Jamboree, I was a “boot on the ground”, interacting with participants as a tour guide during UAD and as an usher during stadium shows. My experiences from 2013 proved to be beneficial in my decisions and endeavors because this time I was the one overseeing these critical operations of over 600 staff members – the largest OA staff in Jamboree history.
My days were composed of meeting with Operation Arrow leadership team members and emergency management and other outside groups. I received new information each day and adjusted my logistical plans to accommodate for this information. It was somewhat like playing Risk, repositioning Arrowmen to: support requests made by the show’s teams, mitigate areas of high-traffic, assist with crowd control, and serve as additional sets of eyes for emergency management groups. My job, however, was a mere fraction of the overall Operation Arrow efforts.
The majority of our efforts were organized by the OA program area leadership teams, and executed by their respective staffs. The Trek Guides hiked every unit to the top of Garden Ground Mountain at least once during the jamboree, hiking more than 1,000 miles during the event. The Service Corps provided more than 13,000 hours of service to various program areas at the jamboree, ranging from supplementing security staff to helping build and take down fences. The Indian Village staff performed two to three Powwows each day atop Garden Ground Mountain, and the Recreation and Program teams respectively provided Operation Arrow staff members with a series of activities for them to unwind after a long day of hard work and broadcasted information to them throughout the days. Adults also played a crucial role in Operation Arrow and the overall jamboree efforts, making up both the Aerial Sports, which assisted the Canopy Tour and Big Zip staffs, and Medical Transport staffs.