Hundreds of West Virginians got the opportunity Sunday, May 19 to preview the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve near Mount Hope in Fayette County.
The open house precedes the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, the Summit’s inaugural event which will be July 15-24.
The site will serve as the permanent home for the Boy Scouts of America’s national jamboree, a celebration of Scouting held every four years.
“We’ve been working day and night, seven days a week to be on schedule for the jamboree,” explained Gary Hartley, director of community and government relations for the Summit Bechtel Reserve. “The Scouts plan to hold a number of events here for the next 100 years.”
The Summit Group distributed more than 1,200 tickets recently, inviting the community to enjoy a driving tour of the camp and see first-hand the transformation at the 10,600-acre site.
The tour included informational signage about the many sites along the 14-mile route, including Goodrich Lake, the skateboarding park, rock climbing walls, and various challenge courses.
The Scott Summit Center, which includes more than 100 acres, will be open to visitors July 17 and is the main gathering place for many of the Scouts’ activities.
“With less than 60 days to go until the Summit opens and the jamboree begins, we are thrilled for the community to see our progress and share this experience with us,” Hartley said.
“The Summit is the largest project ever taken on by the Boy Scouts of America, and we think visitors today have seen that it is truly something for all of Scouting and the people of West Virginia to be proud of and enjoy for years to come.”
While on the tour, the visitors also learned about the many green and sustainable building practices that were adopted during the construction of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, including preservation efforts to reduce emissions, generate on-site, renewable energy, and recycle water.
“In keeping with the BSA’s commitment to environmental responsibility, 1,600 acres have been dedicated as a nature preserve,” explained Allison Schapker, director of design and sustainability with Trinity Works, Inc. “One of the goals of the project is to restore lands once used for mining while keeping our own footprint as small as possible.”
Since the groundbreaking in 2010, more than 1,000 West Virginians have helped with construction of the Summit, the BSA’s fourth high-adventure base. The Sunday preview afforded construction team members an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor, as crews demonstrated their skills at skateboarding and BMX mountain bike racing.
According to Hartley, construction at the Summit is on schedule, and plans are on target for the site to be ready to host this summer’s jamboree — and help celebrate West Virginia’s 150th birthday. The jamboree is expected to draw an estimated 50,000 Scouts, adventurers, volunteers and staff from all over the country.
Since the first Jamboree was held in 1937, it has become known as the BSA’s most iconic event. It provides an opportunity for Scouts to gather together and celebrate Scouting, allowing Scouts from all backgrounds, faiths and cultures to share experiences and create memories to last throughout their lifetimes. Attendees meet new people, challenge themselves, and have fun.
“Our biggest goal is to make sure that 40,000 kids have the time of their life,” Hartley said.
The BSA is composed of 2.6 million youth members between the ages of 7-21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.
Another jamboree is scheduled for 2017 and the World Jamboree is set for the Summit in 2019, both of which will bring in international visitors.
Some of the activities of this year’s jamboree will include:
- Swimming in four above-ground Olympic-size swimming pools
- Skateboarding in a 100,000-square-foot skate park, believed to be the largest in the world
- BMX tracks and mountain biking trails
- Rock climbing on man-made concrete structures modeled after the cliffs above the New River Gorge
- Rope rappelling towers and 10 zip lines
- The largest fireworks show on the East Coast
All skill levels, from beginner to advanced, are included in the Summit’s outdoor adventure repertoire, Hartley said. “These adventure areas are not only about having fun but also about improving the skills of the participants.”