In less than a month, we will be welcoming tens of thousands of people to southern West Virginia, many for the first time.
In fact, the official website of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree puts the figure at an estimated 50,000 right on its home page, stating, “There has never been a Jambo like this. Ever.”
There will be about 35,000 Boy Scouts alone, plus their families, staff, volunteers and plenty of curiosity seekers milling about Fayette and Raleigh counties from July 15-24.
It’s an exciting time, as this event marks the first jamboree at the new permanent home for the Boy Scouts — The Summit Bechtel Reserve.
For about 10 days, the Summit’s population will dwarf Beckley’s everyday population of just under 18,000.
Drawing that many people into our area will be a challenge — one that southern West Virginia. has been preparing for — for the better part of three years now.
But are our residents really prepared for what’s about to take place?
We hope so.
Apparently they feel they are, because only a small number of folks showed up at a recent public informational meeting. It was held in Mount Hope on Thursday night, led by Mike Patrick, operations director for the Boy Scouts of America.
Only about 35 locals showed up at the meeting, held at the former Mount Hope High School.
Patrick said he hopes for a better turnout at the next such meeting at 6 p.m. June 27, at the same site.
We hope so, too.
“We want to help you understand what to expect as Scouts begin to arrive in the area,” Patrick told attendees. “We think we’ve done a good job of managing that so that it’s not going to spill over into the communities.”
But spill over they will.
At least we hope.
The economic impact that an event of this magnitude has could be a real boon to our area. We’ve made significant investments in these hopes, after all.
Negotiating an increase in traffic is but one concern. Area hospitals are preparing for the possibility of an increased number of patients due to the high adventure nature of the event.
Scouts will also spread out one of the days to nine counties, completing service projects for local communities.
It’s going to be huge.
We encourage our readers to attend the final public informational meeting June 27 at 6 pm. the former Mount Hope High School at 6 p.m. and to check out the websites www.visitjambo.org or https://summit.scouting.org for more details.
Because this is a very important milestone for our state.
One that we must be ready for.