By John Blankenship
“We are so excited about being in West Virginia,” explained Michael Ramsey, director of marketing and brand for the Boy Scouts of America. “We believe there is no better place in the country than this, to build character and leadership for America’s young people.”
He added, “There is a chance to do something different every day. The Summit is an adventure opportunity perfect for Scouting. Within just minutes of the Summit you have the nation’s premier whitewater, rock climbing and zip line adventure opportunities. The Summit in West Virginia will be a showcase for those opportunities for the BSA for years to come.”
Approximately 40,000 Scouts, Venturers, volunteers and staff from across the nation are currently attending the 2013 National Scout Jamboree — the first at the Summit. During the events, Scouts are participating in adventures that reinforce the BSA’s commitment to physical wellness, including nearly 6 miles of zip line challenge courses, 36 miles of mountain bike trails and 13 acres of shooting sports, as well as kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, skateboarding, BMX and various other activities.
The Summit is now the permanent home for the National Jamboree, which takes place every four years.
The Jamboree is the inaugural event at the Summit. The next one will be in 2017. In 2019 the world will come to West Virginia for the World Scout Jamboree.
“It’s going to be a spectacular event for Scouts from all over the world,” Ramsey said.
“What we are hearing from Scout leaders from all around the country is that they are amazed at the adventure opportunities like the zip line, the canopy tours, Consol Energy Bridge that connects the Summit center with several of the campgrounds and the sustainability tree house.”
He continued, “We believe the Summit is a key part of the future of the Boy Scouts of America, and we are delighted to be here. What we are hearing from kids and their parents and their leaders is that they will go home and share the excitement of Scouting and invite their friends to join in the adventure, including a 3,100-foot zip line that goes 60 miles per hour, rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
“Except for the technology, 21st century Scouting in many ways is similar to 100 years ago. It’s about character, fitness, patriotism, friends and all this about changing lives. Being here at the Summit, Scouting is a place where the kids can take the Scout oath and the Scout law and put them into practice.”
But Scouting is more than that, according to Ramsey.
“For us the outdoor program is a way to teach leadership skills and be friendly, courteous and kind. Every day at the Summit we are putting out 5,000 troops a day to communities for service projects, painting houses, cleaning up lots, doing a good turn for community groups, giving back in Scouting — lessons that stick with Scouts for a lifetime. Going out and doing service in the community is hard work but it was a lot of fun, too.”
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training which helps young people become “Prepared for Life.”
The Scouting organization is composed of 2.6 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a half million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.
“We celebrated 103 years for developing character and leadership in 2010, and we see the Summit as a great start to the next century of Scouting,” Ramsey said. “We have 30,000 Scouts in attendance, with some 5,000 staff as well, including Scout leaders and others. Scouting is such a vibrant community and family and fellowship you can just feel it.”
The Scouts will leave the Summit Wednesday, but they are leaving a great legacy behind, according to Ramsey.
“The real legacy is in the hearts of the Scouts themselves. They will look back and remember the mountain biking, zip lining, friends and lessons that they have learn-ed. That is the greatest legacy, and every four years they will be back to do it again.”