RALEIGH & FAYETTE COUNTIES, WV (WOAY/BSA) – If you’ve traveled Highway 19 between Beckley and Oak Hill, you’ve probably seen the signs. They’ve been set up in advance of the Boy Scouts of America 2017 Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
More than 40,000 scouts are expected to attend, along with hundreds of staff members and more than 1,400 military personnel to help with security and logistics.
In 2009, the BSA purchased 10,600 acres of property adjacent to West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River area in order to create the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. The Summit is the new home of achievement, adventure, and innovation in Scouting. With world-class facilities and a focus on outdoor action sports, the Summit welcomed Scouts to a whole new jamboree experience in summer 2013. The Summit will also be hosting the 2019 World Jamboree.
The first Boy Scouts of America national jamboree was scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., in 1935 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Scouting in America. Unfortunately, the jamboree was canceled because of a polio outbreak in Washington. When the first jamboree was finally held in 1937, Dan Beard lit the opening campfire using flint and steel. Scouts from all 48 states brought the wood that was used in the campfire. There were some 27,232 Scouts camped on the National Mall under the Washington Monument. Since that time, an additional 17 national jamborees have been held, the last in 2013.
We’ll have continuing coverage of the Jamboree throughout next week.