The Jamboree-on-the-Air, or JOTA, is an annual Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, around the nation, and in your own community. Held on the third full weekend of October each year, this worldwide jamboree requires no travel, other than to a nearby radio amateur’s ham shack. Many times the hams will come to you by setting up at a Scout camporee, or perhaps they already have a ham shack at your council’s camp. There are many ways to get your Scouts involved in JOTA.
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Scouts of any age can participate, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and Venturers. Once at the ham radio station, the communication typically requires speaking into a microphone and listening on the station speakers. However, many forms of specialized communication can also take place, such as video communication, digital communication using typed words on the computer screen transmitted by radio, communication through a satellite relay or an earth-based relay (called a repeater), and many others. The exchanges include such information as name, location (called QTH in ham speak), Scout rank, age, and hobbies. The stations you’ll be communicating with can be other Scouts across town, across the country, or even around the world! The World Scout Bureau reported that the 2012 JOTA had nearly 700,000 Scout participants from more than 13,500 amateur radio stations! A participant patch is available, as is a certificate/log sheet that can also be used to fulfill a Radio merit badge requirement.
The Jamboree-on-the-Internet, or JOTI, is an annual Scouting event sponsored by the World Organization of the Scout Movement. This event utilizes the Internet and the numerous devices that are used to get online, from your home computer to iPad tablets, to link Scouts from around the world. Last year, JOTI had almost 16,000 Scouts and leaders registered in the worldwide JOTA-JOTI database in 146 countries!
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Scouts of any age can take part, from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and Venturers. Scouts can participate at home with the help of an adult, or they can participate in a Scout group at a councilwide event. JOTI is an economical way of communicating around the world. The event allows Scouts to "meet" other Scouts from around the world through the Internet and share more information than just "Hi." The exchanges can include such information as name, location of event, Scout rank, age, and hobbies. Some exchanges lead to long-lasting friendships. Another great idea is to use JOTI participation to help fulfill a Citizenship in the World or Computers merit badge requirement!