The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 17, 2013

‘This place was built especially for you’

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

THE SUMMIT — Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock said the Summit Bechtel Reserve was “a dream come true,” but that dream was incomplete until Monday when the Scouts arrived.

“This special place was built especially for you,” he said to the 40,000 Scouts seated around the AT&T Summit Stadium.

“Make new friends, learn new things and have fun.”

Scouts certainly have no shortage of fun activities on site at the Summit, including ziplining, skateboarding, archery, shooting, rock climbing, hiking, canoeing and more.

“This is a proud and historical moment,” Brock said.

The opening of the 2013 Jamboree established the first permanent home for the Boy Scouts and the co-ed youth development program, Venturing.

Jamboree Director Larry Pritchard said to have a permanent home is especially exciting “to keep it, sustain it and build it.”

Instead of having to build a Jamboree site once every four years, creating temporary shower locations, camps and activity sites just to tear down, Scouts can now work toward improving the permanent facility.

The Summit is already a stunning high-adventure camp, sitting on more than 10,000 acres of West Virginia mountains, but Scout leaders say this is only the beginning.

“This is the finest youth-serving facility in the world,” BSA national President Wayne Perry said. “Next time, it will be even better.”

Perry, Jack Furst, Bob Mazzuca and former Gov. Joe Manchin were immortalized Tuesday at the Summit, as larger than life statues of them were unveiled.

These men are credited with having the vision to make the Summit Bechtel Reserve a reality.

A member of the BSA national executive board, an officer of the national council and team leader for developing the Summit, Furst thanked the vendors, designers and architects who spent hours upon hours making this venture happen in a mere 36 months.

He also said that next summer, 25,000 kids will be hosted at the site “to extend this West Virginia kind of love.”

Mazzuca, former BSA Chief Scout Executive, said that nothing as bold as this had even been thought of before in the Scouting realm.

“Dream no small dreams because they have no magic,” he said.

He said the horizon will keep moving as you get closer, because this will be a never-ending project.

The Summit will grow and change as future generations do, Mazzuca said.

“If they’re traveling to the moon, they’ll be able to go to the moon from here.”

Even though this year’s Jamboree isn’t sending rockets to the moon quite yet, current Scouts are still being wowed — especially several who came to last year’s shakedown.

“It’s crazy how much this place has changed just since last year,” said Tommy Guy, 14, of New Jersey Troop D317.

His friend, Kevin Flick, 15, agreed that although the weather at the Summit Tuesday was a scorcher, the facility itself was awesome.

“It’s beautiful here,” said Venturer Maggie Goodwin, 16, of Hawaii.

She said her brother was a Boy Scout and she loved that kind of environment, especially camping.

Goodwin decided to join the Girl Scouts, but soon found out they didn’t offer the kind of high adventure activities she was craving, so she joined the Boy Scout youth development program called Venturing.

She said West Virginia is much different from her home in Hawaii, but she’s very excited about the Jamboree, especially the shooting range called The Barrels.

Even after the Jamboree, Scout leaders see this location being a great place for high adventure and leadership camps.

“Something wild and wonderful lies around every trail,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said to the Scouts. “This is a one-of-a-kind outdoor space.”

He thanked the Scouts in advance for their community service to southern West Virginia and said he appreciated their kind hearted spirit.

“You always have a home here among the hills.”

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com