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Local Scouts prep for JOTA

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Vandenberg Boy Scout Troop 394 gathers for a meeting to discuss the upcoming Jamboree over the Air event they will be participating in Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, 2009. During JOTA, Vandenberg Scouts will be able to communicate with Scout from across the globe by the means of Amateur Radio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Vandenberg Boy Scout Troop 394 gathers for a meeting to discuss the upcoming Jamboree over the Air event they will be participating in Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, 2009. During JOTA, Vandenberg Scouts will be able to communicate with Scout from across the globe by the means of Amateur Radio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Vandenberg Boy Scout Troop 394 gathers for a meeting to discuss the upcoming Jamboree over the Air event they will be participating in Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, 2009. During JOTA, Vandenberg Scouts will be able to communicate with Scout from across the globe by the means of Amateur Radio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Vandenberg Boy Scout Troop 394 gathers for a meeting to discuss the upcoming Jamboree over the Air event they will be participating in Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, 2009. During JOTA, Vandenberg Scouts will be able to communicate with Scout from across the globe by the means of Amateur Radio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - -- Approximately 20 Boy Scouts from Vandenberg's Troop 394 are scheduled to participate in the 52nd Annual Jamboree on the Air at the Satellite Amateur Radio Club here Oct. 17-18.

Under the supervision of licensed Amateur (ham) Radio operators, roughly 400,000 Scouts and guides from across the globe communicate to one another by means of ham radio.

"This is an awesome event for our Scouts," said Capt. Michael Harrigan, the Vandenberg Boy Scout Troop 394 committee chairman. "This event provides an opportunity for Scouts to communicate, and even make friends with Scouts from around the world."

Many Scouts around the country may never get an opportunity to travel internationally as a group due to travel expenses. JOTA creates an inexpensive conduit for Scouts to share similar interests with Scouts around the world without even having to leave the country.

This year's JOTA theme is focused on the environment. The Scouts may participate in discussions such as planning for natural disasters, brainstorming for new energy ideas and finding ways to curb pollution.

Through JOTA, the Scouts get a chance to witness firsthand the millions of other Scouts worldwide who share their same vision -- creating a better world. JOTA was designed to be a learning experience for the Scouts.

"JOTA teaches the Scouts basic fundamentals of ham radio and the principles of communicating over the radio," Captain Harrigan said. "When Scouts communicate internationally over the airwaves, we traditionally see the Scouts develop an interest in electronics, weather and the communications fields. JOTA provides the Scouts an opportunity to apply the skills and education learned into practice."

Scouts participating in JOTA also have an opportunity to earn a merit badge for their uniform.

"The merit badge program is designed to educate Scouts about various hobbies, careers, and skills that may be helpful in their lifetimes," Captain Harrigan said.

The merit badge program allows Scouts to study different subjects and decide if they would like to later pursue them as a career.

"I have met a few radio operators here at Vandenberg who have mentioned their interest for radio communication began at JOTA when they were Boy Scouts," Captain Harrigan said. "The Boy Scouts is an excellent program that teaches young adults about the importance of character development, citizenship training and physical fitness."

For those people interested in becoming part of Vandenberg's Boy Scout Troop 394, call Ray Wise at 757-1204 or Michael Harrigan at 588-5619.The club is open to males 11-18 years of age. Troop 394 meets every Thursday night from 6:30-10 p.m. in Room H-2 of the Base Education Center.