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Scout-O-Rama - About  

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  The Beginning of Scout-O-Rama

          In 1945, Crescent Bay Council launched a new event called Scout-O-Rama. Unlike camporees, camporals and summer camps, the Scout-O-Rama was an  opportunity for non-scouts and the community-at-large to find out what Scouting was all about. From the Council's perspective, Scout-O-Rama was the perfect way to increase exposure, raise money and grow the local scouting program. Adult leaders were able to solicit sponsorships from local merchants while cubs and scouts sold Scout-O-Rama tickets. The proceeds went to fund the Crescent Bay operating budget with a portion going back to the local pack, troop, post and ship.
          Scout-O-Rama started out as a District event. Santa Monica, Culver Palms and Venice Districts each held their own Scout-O-Ramas while Beverly Hills and Westwood Districts combined to hold a joint Scout-O-Rama. Each District held their separate Scout-O-Rama on the same weekend in early February that coincided with the beginning of Scout Week.
          At the Scout-O-Rama, District packs and troops were encouraged to take on a display for a particular merit badge, thereby demonstrating to the public the particular skills that westside Los Angeles boys could avail themselves to by joining the Boy Scouts.

A Simple Purpose
          Simply put,  Scout-O-Rama allowed scouts to show their skills to the public. In 1945 with the country still embroiled in World War II, Council leaders wanted to let the westside community know that scouts had done their part in the War effort and that skills, as well as character, developed through Scouting had made America's fighting forces stronger.

1947 Scout-O-Rama Program
Santa Monica District, Inside Front Cover

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The Council Steps In
          By the beginning of the 1950's, enthusiasm and attendance at District Scout-O-Ramas had declined. While the specific reasons are unknown, the Council organized and ran Scout-O-Rama in 1954. Corsair Field in Santa Monica was chosen as the site which proved very successful. That same year, the annual Council Camporee/Camporals which had been held continuously since the late 1930's, were discontinued. Scout-O-Rama became the big Crescent Bay annual event for all of the Districts except Venice, which continued holding its own separate Scout-O-Rama throughout the 1950's. These dual Scout-O-Ramas may have created some confusion for sponsors and supporters as the units and scouts from Venice District participated in both programs. As a result, in 1960, the former Venice District, which had changed its own name to "Marina" in 1958, also changed the name of its event from Scout-O-Rama to "Exposition". Marina District continued to hold annual Expositions through 1972 while Crescent Bay staged the Scout-O-Rama. Both events continued on after the merger that dreated Great Western Council.
          Packs, troops, posts, and ships within the Council were encouraged to sponsor a booth and show off their 'wares' during the weekend event. Themes for booths were left up to the individual units and had expanded well beyond the merit badge displays of the 1940's. Units also designed and decorated their own exhibits as the Scout-O-Ramas took on a colorful carnival atmosphere. A  judged competition for best booths awarded winners with  ribbons, called streamers, to be hung from the units' flag poles.

Scout-O-Rama Basic Booth Layout
Round-Up - May 1959, p.2

          Booths were not reserved just for units. Camp Emerald Bay and Camp Wolverton each had double booths manned by the camp staffs. Training Troop 258 had a booth as did many of the other programs promoted by the Council.
       Each February, every scout in the Council took on the task of selling Scout-O-Rama tickets for one dollar each. Cubs and scouts were rewarded for ticket sales with all kinds of prizes, ranging from a colorful patch and neckerchief slide for selling one book of ten tickets; to televisions, bicycles, live puppies and vacation trips for the top ticket salesmen. Local movie stars and sports celebrities, many of whom had children in scouting and lived in Beverly Hills and other Crescent Bay Council communities, were recruited into the Scout-O-Rama further supporting the glamorous feel and general hoopla of the Scout-O-Rama events of the1950's and 1960's.

          Additional activities were added that included stage shows with Hollywood stars, fitness contests, movie premiers and fashion shows for the mothers. Even the swim meets that were a part of the former Camporals were incorporated into the Scout-O-Rama extravaganza.    

          Tens of thousands of Los Angeles area residents attended the weekend event each year and hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised in support of the scouting camps and programs of Crescent Bay Area Council.

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Screen Stars Debbie Reynolds & Glenn Ford
Round-Up Article
May 1960, p.1

Suggestion for Booth Subjects
Commissioners Handbook

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