Twenty-one local Boy Scouts, led by Scoutmaster Terry Handel, joined 40,000 other scouts and scouters from around the country in the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
This is the first year jamboree was held at the reserve, which will be the permanent home of all future jamborees, training facilities, and a fourth high-adventure base for Boy Scouts of America.
Three Fires Council, based in St. Charles, sent six troops and one Venture Crew to the jamboree.
Upon arrival, the troop set up a campsite of tents and cooking equipment in a 35-by-160-foot plot with neighbors from Connecticut, North Carolina, and Europe. The group enjoyed talking to scouts from other states and countries.
During the jamboree, scouts experienced activities including zip lines, BMX, mountain biking, skate boarding, rock climbing, kayaking, dragon boat racing, paddle boarding, a water obstacle course, rifle shooting, archery and scuba. There were many displays and information booths. Many scouts also traded patches with scouts from other troops.
Highlights included whitewater rafting a day of service at a local grade school cleaning up trash and weeds and performing maintenance jobs. Scouts spent one day learning about the latest science technologies at Technology Quest. Representatives from NASA, energy companies and other research groups explained scientific technologies and discoveries.
Saturday evening included an inspirational speech by Mike Rowe and a musical performance by Three Doors Down; Sunday was a day of reverence, and all scouts attended a church service. The troop also took a 10-mile hike to the top of the summit, with an amazing view of the base camp and the countryside. They enjoyed games, activities, and interesting displays, including a handmade canoe hollowed by burning a tree trunk and a large pioneering area with towers, catapults, and bridges.