When Boy Scouts come to the Jamboree they get to explore new things, try new things and form lifelong interests in something they have never tried before. During the National Jamboree Saturday, it was all about exploring interests throughout the The Park, The Trax and The Bows.
The Park, the second biggest outdoor skateboarding facility in the nation, comprised of 103,993 square feet, gave Scouts the opportunity to show off some of their moves or stay on the beginner's course.
According to Christina Wolf, manager of The Park, it is all about safety. “We bring them in, they get all of their gear, and learn the training basics.”
The Boy Scouts must have a water bottle and what they refer to as a “passport” to get inside The Park. “The passport is actually really neat,” Wolf said. “They get stamped each letter of the word “park” and the number of letters they have is how we determine how advanced they get to go.”
If Scouts have “P,” then officials know they are just in the beginning level of skateboarding. As they get more letters of “Park” they get to advance farther in the course.
With a high heat index Saturday and a temperature of 92 degrees, the Jamboree was on a “red advisory,” the highest advisory to be achieved.
Wolf said with such a high heat index, Scouts are required to take a shade and water break every 30 minutes for a total of 15 minutes. “Even if they don't feel too hot, or think they drank enough, it doesn't matter. They are required to take this break no matter what. It's all about safety.”
“The Scouts are allowed to stay at The Park as long as they please, whether it be 30 minutes or all day,” Wolf said. “We want them to enjoy whatever it is they want to do.”
RJ Ball, 17, of Maryland and Jamboree staff member at The Park, said he got into skateboarding because he loves to teach kids how to do it. "Back at home, I also work at another Scout camp, and what's better than doing two things you love, skateboarding and teaching."
Ball said he has been skateboarding for six years. "My dad and I are big skaters, and we love it more than anything. We also run a skate company together."
"I just love it so much, and I'm glad I get to teach these Scouts here at the Jamboree," Ball said.
As you venture deeper into The Park, Scouts will come upon the section called “The Street.”
“This is a more advanced section, once they receive more stamps in the word “Park,” they get to come out here and enjoy a more difficult section with more rails and dips.”
Parker Hansen, Boy Scout from St. George, Utah, said this was his first time skating. “It's been an experience,” he said.
“I've never done anything like this before, and I'm just really impressed with how cool it is,” Hansen said.
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As Scouts would finish up at The Park, they made their way to "The Trax," where they able to ride bikes on professionally made BMX tracks.
John Foster, manger of The Trax, said The Trax is the second biggest indoor and outdoor BMX facility in the nation at a total of 273,672 square footage.
"This is definitely an area at the Jamboree where the most injuries occur," Foster said. "We really focus on safety before anything else."
Scouts were sized for bikes and gear, and were then led to the "Warm-Up Zone" where they have to show officials at The Trax they were able to ride a bike.
"You wouldn't believe how many Scouts haven't ridden a bike before," Foster said. "It's really interesting. It's all about where you're from."
Scouts will then head to The Test Tracks where they must loop around them on a bike three times before they can get stamped and head to a track that is more advanced.
Foster said on average, Scouts will loop around The Trax at least 9,000 times a day. "We usually have around 2,500 Scouts come to this section a day, it's really amazing."
Once Scouts became more advanced in their biking, they are able to hit bigger tracks.
As they climbed to the top of the dirt hill with their bikes, they waited for the platform to drop, sending them on their way. and taking them over bumps, many catching air.
At the Jamboree, the game "Laporte" was a popular one at "The Bows."
After several disks were thrown into the air, Scouts got to take a chance at trying to shoot them with arrows as they flew through the air over the Summit.
Also at The Bows, Scouts were able to shoot targets with not only normal bows, but crossbows as well.
Of the many things offered at the Jamboree, the trill of adventure is just one of the few things Scouts get to experience.
The Jamboree gives Boy Scouts the chance to discover newfound loves.
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