GLEN JEAN, W.Va. - Almost as quickly as it was put together, Boy Scout City is getting taken apart.
Held at its new, permanent location at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, the 2013 National Scout Jamboree comes to a close today after 10 blisteringly hot, then stormy, days.
National Jamboree Director Larry Pritchard was sad to see some 40,000 Scouts, Venturers, volunteers and staff leave, but he called the inaugural Jamboree "a success."
"Ten days is plenty enough time for the Scouts and Venturers - they're ready to go home. But all this activity, it's alive, it's abuzz," Pritchard said. "By 4 p.m. . . . it'll be quiet. It'll just change. And it won't happen again for a long time. I'm disappointed they're gone, but I'm excited we were able to give them the extraordinary experience that they've had."
Scouts participated in high-adventure activities like soaring through five miles of zip line challenge courses, 36 miles of mountain bike trails and 13 acres of shooting sports, as well as kayaking, rock climbing, skateboarding, BMX biking, swimming, scuba diving and more.
Milton Mattison, 13, of Illinois, said the zip line, which had a line wrapping around past the scaffolding, was well worth the wait.
"I waited three hours for the 40-second ride, but it was awesome. It seems like you're flying. But you're harnessed up. It's flying with style."
"The ropes were also pretty fun - even though it was hot, it was such a great time."
Andrew Mueller, 16, of Illinois, said the tactical climbing was his favorite activity.
"It was great. I had fun all day - we got to go across the New River Gorge climbing rocks and rappelling next to the river. It was great. You can't even compare it to the Jamboree in 2010."
Alex Johnson, 16, also of Illinois, agreed with Mueller but said his favorite part of the 10-day event was finding new friends.
"We met so many new people, and it's been fun all around."
Scouts also participated in educational exhibits, learned new skills and performed 350 community service projects across nine southern West Virginia counties: McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Greenbrier, Summers, Nicholas, Wyoming and Fayette.
The service included clearing brush, performing repairs, cleaning litter, painting, planting, constructing walkways and shelters and pouring concrete.
Pritchard said as a whole, the Jamboree was a win.
"Our big plan worked . . . but the devil's in the details," he said. "Maybe in the future we can have a more relaxed program schedule. We wanted kids to do everything . . . but they do what they want to do.
"How we managed visitors - we'll fine-tune that. We had to change our schedule on Saturday, and we couldn't tell the visitors we were changing it. We'll figure those things out."