The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 15, 2012

Preparing for Scouts

Saturday marks beginning of 5-day event testing logistics and operations for 2013 Jamboree

MOUNT HOPE — Imagine 10,600 acres of wilderness that is being turned into a small city.

Imagine enough infrastructure to service some 40,000 residents.

That’s what is happening at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County.

A five-day preparation event for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree got under way Saturday with a press conference by West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin at a nearby hilltop overlooking the construction sites.

The State of West Virginia, the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Boy Scouts of America joined forces to prepare for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. The inaugural event took place at the BSA’s expansive new adventure center for Scouting excellence.

The five-day event will attract roughly 2,200 Scouts to ensure the operations and logistics of the 2013 jamboree will run smoothly and efficiently.

The Jamboree is expected to draw more than 40,000 Scouts and leaders. In preparation for the 10-day event in July 2013, the state, the WVDHSEM, and the BSA are conducting a five-day shakedown. The Scouts and staff on location will participate in the testing. Among other activities, the event run-through will focus on logistical assumptions related to the food distribution, communications, transportation, and jamboree activities. Security is provided by the West Virginia National Guard.

“We are excited to welcome the Boy Scouts of America to West Virginia,” Tomblin said Saturday. “Through coordinated training exercises involving the state and the Boy Scouts of America, we can ensure that these activities will operate safely and efficiently.”

The governor added, “This the first time I’ve been on the site, and I’m impressed with the number of orange pup tents and the beautiful scenery all around here. You can imagine what it will look like when approximately 40,000 Boy Scouts come to West Virginia with their families and their leaders. It is a spectacular place to be. We are making plans ahead of time. We learned a lot from the recent storms about the importance of planning and readiness and the need for effective communications.

“Basically, that is what the shakedown is for this week: planning for events that might come up if we had to have a lockdown or some other emergency.”

In other comments, the governor explained, “The exposure that the jamboree will give our state is priceless. People from all over the country will have the experience of seeing what we have to offer, our style of life and the wonderful people of our state. It’s going to mean a huge increase in people, and we’ve got to be prepared. It’s a huge undertaking. You can imagine what it’s going to be like next year.”

Hosting more than 40,000 people on site and many thousands of visitors in this area of West Virginia for next year’s national Scout jamboree will be no small feat, according to Gary Hartley, director of community and government relations for The Summit. “The safety of the Scouts is a top priority,” he said.

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be prepared for life. The Scouting organization is composed of some 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.

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