The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

July 17, 2013

Feeding Boy Scouts takes new approach

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

THE SUMMIT — Suppose you were asked to whip up breakfast for a guest list well into the thousands.

Perhaps, as many as 40,000 in all, and not just one meal, but lunch and supper (or dinner for the more sophisticated palates). Keep in mind these are teenagers, who come equipped with voracious appetites.

Sounds like a daunting task, eh?

Well in advance of the first-ever Jamboree in the scenic hills of West Virginia, the Boy Scouts of America took the needed steps to make sure there is plenty of food to go around.

With all the demanding activities before the Scouts over a 10-day period, ample food is a necessity.

“Jamboree organizers have planned a system that allows participants to keep going all day long, grabbing their lunch with their breakfast — a change from the past several jamborees,” Larry Pritchard, national Jamboree director for the BSA, said Tuesday.

“This new system will ensure that Scouts and Venturers will not have to interrupt their activities to hike to a lunch kiosk.”

Pritchard said the BSA has worked in tandem with the Compass Group, a food service management organization in North Carolina.

Chef Patrick Tarr is supervising the creation of healthy and varied menu options that demand little preparation, allowing the Scouts more time for the high-adventure fun and less time consumed by mixing, stirring and shaking.

Individuals with Muslim and Jewish cuisine requirements aren’t left out of the mix. And there are ample non-meat items to suit the vegetarian needs.

In an effort to cut down on waste, Scouts can build their own lunch, selecting from options they prefer with leftovers destined for composting areas. This eliminates chemical fertilizers. When possible, Pritchard pointed out, food will be harvested locally, and this, in turn, saves on fuel costs.

The Ed and Jeanne Arnold Logistics Center, a 100,000-square foot structure located on the site, will be making food deliveries. Pritchard said the center will be the focal point for receiving, assembly, and distribution of all supplies.

“Containing more than just food, it is estimated the center’s inventory will turn a total of five times,” the national Scout leader said.

Obese Scouts were forbidden to take part in the Jamboree, but those with a weight problem were cautioned years in advance, Pritchard pointed out.

“We published our height and weight requirements years in advance and many individuals began a health regimen to lose weight and attend the Jamboree,” he said.

Before any Scout could make the trip, he had to pass muster with a body mass index and other health questions. Anyone with a BMI of 40 was advised not to pack for the Jamboree. Pritchard couldn’t say how many Scouts were denied a trip to the 10-day event.

On a national level, however, nearly 17 percent of children between 2 and 19 are considered obese. And that is about three times the percentage from their parents’ generation.

For Scouts unable to shape up for the Jamboree, the majority by their own choice elected not to apply, Pritchard said.

“Additionally, as the newest high adventure base of the BSA, the Summit is a fun but physically demanding facility with numerous high-adventure activities, including kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, skateboarding, BMX, and various other activities,” the Scout leader added.