The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 19, 2013

Summit’s massive Arnold Logistics Center handles all supplies for Scouts

THE SUMMIT — Stress meds, tarps, mops and 5-gallon buckets — these are some of the hottest items requested by contingents of Boy Scouts encamped at the Summit Bechtel Family Scout Reserve.

If it’s out on site at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, it passed through the Arnold Logistics Center, a 75,000-square-foot building operating as the nerve center of the event.

Its staff is in charge of receiving, assembling and delivering $28 million worth of stuff to 6,600 locations at the Summit.

Over the past three months, 35,000 pallets have been delivered to campsites, Summit headquarters and adventure bases. The space will fill and empty a total of five times when all is said and done.

Floor supervisor Brenda Howells was busy Wednesday packing boxes of wrenches, towels, hand sanitizer, paper and printer ink.

“We get it out there so the show keeps going,” she said. “It’s a huge production.”

The most important prop of the show? Toilet paper, says Howells.

She is one of 12 full-time Boy Scouts of America (BSA) employees whose work here will continue through the Jamboree and beyond.

At its peak, the logistics center employed close to 50 people, the majority of whom were temporary contract employees, according to Christopher Walsh, operations manager at the facility.

Its high-density storage system and robust fire suppression system are designed to “get as much sardines, so to speak, into this can as we can,” says Michael Gerard of National Supply Group.

Work began in earnest at the end of March. The 800 Summit campsites were all supplied by the beginning of June.

“Up until the Jamboree, it was very stressful because we had a ton of stuff that had to go out,” said Walsh. “And we’re spread out over 10,000 acres.”

Supplying the Jamboree itself is just the staff’s latest hurdle, and their work doesn’t end when the last Scout steps off site.

When the event is over, the workers will bring everything back, clean it up, inspect it, fix it, re-inventory it, repack it and store it for future Jamborees and high-adventure activities.

The “recovery” process, as it’s called, will take six months or more. Then it will be time to roll into preparing for high adventure camps that start next summer.

So would the Jamboree be happening at all if it weren’t for the Arnold Logistics Center staff? Walsh smiles and hedges his words.

“It’s their dream that they could supply everything, and it’s up to us to make sure that happens,” he said.

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