Troops plan stops on journey to Jamboree
Plans are being finalized for the transport of thousands of Scouts from all over the country to the site of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.
Troops plan stops along the way for educational or other fun activities - like visiting museums, amusement parks and monuments - as a break from hours-long bus rides.
But when the jamboree is in a troop's backyard, it seems as though that travel time - and the fun stops along the way - would be unnecessary.
That's not the case with the Buckskin Council.
"We want to make sure they have a similar Jamboree like Scouts all across the country would enjoy," said Jeff Purdy, the Scout executive for the Buckskin Council. "Not only do you get to learn through these activities, but you create bonds."
Because they won't have the experience of traveling, Buckskin Council Scouts will instead take a trip to the nation's capital in the days leading up to the jamboree.
"I know it's going out of our way up to D.C., but it's an important part of the experience," Purdy said.
Purdy, who grew up in west central Illinois, remembers his trip to Pennsylvania for the 1977 Jamboree.
"My Jamboree troop stopped at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, the next day. The next day was the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio," Purdy said.
"It's very traditional for Boy Scout councils. Traveling to the jamboree is just as much a part of lifetime memories the Scouts will get as the Jamboree itself."
Scouts will leave Friday, July 12, for Washington, D.C., and spend the weekend touring before the Jamboree begins on Monday, July 15.
Purdy said the groups' potential plans include visiting Ford's Theatre, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Washington and Lincoln monuments, touring the Capitol, the Arlington National Cemetery and more.
"When we're in Washington, D.C., American history is right there, waiting to be discovered and relearned," Purdy said. "And it's just the pure experience of traveling as a Boy Scout troop and acting like a Boy Scout should. They'll be representing West Virginia as Scout ambassadors, that's part of the learning experience."
Chris Wunderly, 17, of South Charleston, is an Eagle Scout who attended the 2010 Jamboree and will also be heading to this year's event in July.
"I think that going on this trip for us West Virginians with the Jamboree in our backyard is really important," Wunderly said. "When I went in 2010, it was good for me because I could learn all the names of the people in the troop and get to know them and make new friends going to the Jamboree."
Wunderly said he's already paid for the trip with money he made mowing lawns and babysitting. The total price tag was about $1,200.
"I raised that all myself," he said. "It helps build character, and it's awesome that I turned in all this money I raised to get to go on this fun trip. It was hard work, but it'll be worth it to go ziplining and go on the ropes courses."
Wunderly's father, Larry, said because his son has worked so hard, he is happy he gets to have the added trip.
"From a parent's standpoint, I'd rather my son have that experience because I know what it can do for him and the other boys experiencing it for their first time," Larry said.
"The added expense of the travel is not a big deal because my son has earned the money. This experience gave him a chance to bond with the boys he was going to the Jamboree with, and he'll get to do that again this year."
The Jamboree will be held July 15-25. The 10,600-acre Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette and Raleigh counties is now the permanent home to the National Scout Jamboree. More than 50,000 Scouts, volunteers and staff are expected to attend.
The Boy Scouts of America has received commitments from donors in excess of $250 million for the area.