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Regardless of heat, Jamboree off to great start

Evan Blackwood, 16, is an Eagle Scout from Charleston, Troop 64. He is writing about his experiences at the National Scout Jamboree. This is his second installment.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hot. Hot. Hot! That's how this Jamboree has been. When we first stepped off of our air-conditioned bus Monday at noon, we were hit by waves of heat. Luckily, we are used to the West Virginian climate, but out of the comfort of our homes, we were roasting.

Paired along with the heat was the humidity. Walking around, I saw scouts trying to get cooled off by huge industrial-sized fans. After we set up our campsite, my patrol of seven scouts was responsible for cooking our dinner: grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes. After living off of D.C.'s hotdogs and Mickey D's for the last two days, this food was almost heaven!

 Once again overwhelmed with excitement and unable to sleep, I got out of my tent around 1 a.m. Tuesday and looked to the sky. It was filled with stars. Growing up in Charleston makes it difficult to see stars, so every time I went out of the city, I was always taken aback by how beautiful the nighttime West Virginian sky was like. But seeing these stars here at the Jamboree made it something really special. Being in an open field expanded my view of the sky. I saw Orion and the Big Dipper. Then, before I went to back to bed, I realized how small I was, compared to the billions upon billions of stars and planets there are.

Tuesday morning, we ate breakfast and cleaned up. We headed to the AT&T Stadium for the Opening Arena Show. The bands playing at the stadium show really pumped up the crowd. Chants of "U.S.A." rang through the stadium. But the most moving part was when 40,000 of my fellow scouts stood and recited the Scout Oath.

The rest of the day was for exploring the Summit Bechtel Reserve. I am amazed at how big the Summit is. All day we heard "Go Big, Go Wild." That is what the Jamboree is all about. BMX, mountain biking, skateboarding, zip lines, rock climbing -- all are big, all are wild.

My family has been in West Virginia for generation upon generation. I am very proud to have the Summit here and I am very proud to say that I am a West Virginian. My great-great-uncle attended the first National Scout Jamboree in 1937. I am lucky enough to have gone to the last Jamboree held at Fort A.P. Hill and the first Jamboree held here at the Summit. Glad I am able to carry on a family tradition.

 


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