3 Ways Popcorn Helped My Son Attend the National Jamboree

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Jamboree ExitWith the Opening Ceremonies of the National Jamboree starting today, I reflect on how my son was able to afford to go on this great adventure.

1. Start with a Goal

I originally did not think my son would want to go to the National Jamboree. When we first talked about the Jamboree in April of 2012, he was 12 years old and still working on his First Class Rank. He was not sure he would enjoy himself because he would not be old enough or big enough to do most of the great activities. Then a friend in his Boy Scout Unit said he was going because the vast majority of activities had no restrictions. He came to me and asked me if he could go. I made a deal with him. If he could pay for half of the Jamboree cost ($2700 in our Council), then I would pay for the other half. If he earned more money, then he would have that as extra spending money while at the Jamboree. He figured he needed to sell over $3000 in Popcorn to go. The challenge was set.

2. Break the Larger Goal into Manageable Pieces

My son broke down the goal into weekly amounts of $500 per week. In 6 weeks he would have his total amount. Based on how much he sold per hour the previous year, he thought it would take him 3 hours going Door-to-Door each weekend or 10 hours at a Show and Sell location each weekend sharing the sales with another Scout to reach his goal. He tracked his progress against his weekly and daily goals.

3. Start Strong As Soon As Possible

My son wanted to get a head start on the sale, so he signed up to sell popcorn online, sent emails, set up a Facebook Event and sent tweets to friends asking them to share it with their parents. He sent me an email and I forwarded it to people in my contact list to also help him get a better start. He then pulled out his previous order forms and we went to every person that purchase an item more than $25 and asked them if they wanted to buy the same item again. About ¾ of people who purchased these large items in the past bought the same thing again. Finally, he contacted several organizations (Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, American Legion, etc.) and asked them if they would help him go to the National Jamboree by allowing him to make a presentation to sell popcorn to individuals in their membership. He was able to sell about $350 at each presentation he made. By using these methods he sold nearly half his goal in the first week.

Needless to say, my son reached his goal plus some and I had to fulfill my end of the bargain. I am proud to report he is having the experience of a lifetime at the National Jamboree. Check out the Bryan on Scouting blog and Jamboree Today daily video. Now he is setting his sights even higher as he wants to go to the 2015 World Jamboree in Japan. At least he has two years of selling popcorn to raise the money for this trip and so do I.

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