According to Assistant Scoutmaster Brad Bunker, “Proper packing of the bags by the scouts resulted in an easy experience through security and ready for a 7:48 a.m. flight to Washington, D.C.”
After a four and onehalf hour flight, many of the scouts experienced the East Coast humidity for the first time.
Over the next two days, the scouts visited numerous memorials and museums and other sites, including both Air and Space Museums; the museums of Natural History and American History; Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Iwo Jima Memorials; the Old Post Office; and the Boy Scout Memorial.
A highlight was being evacuated from the Boy Scout Memorial by the Secret Service. Later, as the scouts visited with an officer on a bike in a nearby park, they learned it was because the President of the United States wanted to get some fresh air.
According to Scoutmaster Brad Randall, “For a bunch of scouts from southern Utah, visiting with a member of the Secret Service will be a highlight.”
That night found many scouts making their first trip on a subway back to the hotel. They put many miles on their feet.
No trip to the nation’s capital would be complete without a visit to Arlington Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watching the changing of the guard.
Along the way, the scouts detoured to the gravesite of local Navy Seal Jason Workman. Scoutmaster Brad Bunker, who was a Navy Seebee, taught the scouts and leaders the meaning of the “moment of silence”.
Then it was a five-hour drive to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Beckley, WV, where they joined nearly 35,000 other scouts, leaders, and staff members.
The skills of Scoutmaster Kevin Webb and youth leader Brendon Pugh were put to test as they organized the troop to set up home for the next nine days.
After several hours, 22 tents, three dining flies, four camp chefs and other cooking equipment were set up and dinner was ready.
On Tuesday, the scouts went to the opening show and then explored the new site for the National Jamboree. It is impressive. Just over three years ago, the site was a vast land of trees. Now it is a High Adventure base.
It is not Fort A.P. Hill. The scouts are enjoying mountain biking, rock climbing, white water rafting, scuba diving, aquatic activities, skateboarding, challenging rope courses, an assortment of guns and rifling shooting, archery, BMX bikes and zip lines.
A few lucky scouts have, or will, experience the “Big Zip”, a 3/4-mile long zip line across the valley and over the lake a couple of hundred feet below.
West Virginia is known as the Mountain State, and the scouts now know why. They’ve walked many miles up and down mountains to get to their activities. In the east, it rains in the mountains.
Clayton Westcott said, “Riding the BMX track with the professionals is way fun.”
Tanner Holt added, “The paddle boarding and water obstacle course was better.”
The scouts may disagree about which activity is best, but it’s unanimous: each scout is glad he came.
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