Evan Blackwood, 16, is an Eagle Scout from Charleston, Troop 64. He will be writing about his troop's experiences during the National Scout Jamboree over the coming days. Here is his first installment:
On Friday afternoon, 170 scouts and scout leaders from across Buckskin Council began their climb to the Summit.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve is the new location for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in Mount Hope, W.Va. The Buckskin Contingency is comprised of four Boy Scout troops and one Venture Crew. The troops are made up of 36 scouts and four leaders. The co-ed Venture crew is comprised of eight youth and two leaders. Each troop is broken down into four patrols of eight scouts, with an additional youth leadership corps of four scouts.
To start their journey, the scouts visited Washington, D.C. The D.C. trip is a prequel to the Jamboree, and is important for team-building among the troops. All of the troops are made up of scouts from all over Buckskin Council (which serves parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia). Most of those scouts have never really met before. The trip to D.C. helps them get a chance to meet and learn about each other. It is expected that during the Jamboree, these fresh bonds of trust will be counted on as the scouts take part in high adventure programs.
Washington, D.C., is a traditional pre-Jamboree trip and a common destination of troops around the country. Thousands of scouts from around the United States and the world converged on D.C. Logan Bailey, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Charleston, expressed the importance of being able to see the U.S. Capitol. "Part of the Boy Scouts is learning about history and citizenship, and by visiting D.C. all the scouts see those key places," explained Bailey, one of the youth leaders from Buckskin.
The individual troops walked around D.C., traveling to different locations. Popular locations included the Air and Space Museum, the Arlington Cemetery, and the Holocaust Museum.
While in D.C., the scouts stayed in a youth hostel. At the end of each day, scouts returned to their rooms, exhausted from the day's activities. Unlike Thursday night, when Jamboree anticipation kept me awake, I slept easily and soundly, despite my continued excitement for the coming trip back to West Virginia.
Patch trading has already begun, as the Buckskin troops interacted with troops from New York to California. The scouts are eager to get to the Summit and meet people of all sorts, having fun patch trading and participating in the various activities going on during the Jamboree.Having the Summit in our backyard will change how the nation, possibly even the world looks on West Virginia, I am glad that our heritage is going to be part of the future of Scouting.