MT. HOPE, W.Va. — With opening day of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree less than three weeks away, members of the Boy Scouts, National Guard and law enforcement gathered at Mt. Hope High School Thursday night to address public concern to over 80 Fayette County residents.
The National Scout Jamboree will be held in Fayette County July 15-24, an estimated 40,000 Scouts and leaders will take part in the event.
Mike Patrick, Director of Operations at The Summit, commented that each Scout will perform community service hours in communities in the nine county area surrounding the camp.
“These Scouts from all over the country are willing to give of their labor and time to help beautify or improve a community,” he said. “I think the interaction between the Scouts and the local residents will be another lasting legacy.”
Traffic concerns in the Beckley to Mt. Hope area have increased as the Jamboree approaches. Patrick commented that no personal vehicles will be admitted to the Summit.
Nearly 800 bus loads of Scouts will be shuttled to and from the camp for the 10 day period. July 15, 20 and 24th are expected to be the highest impact days with heavy traffic.
A concert is planned for July 20, the artist has not been released.
Previously booked acts had refused to perform due to the Scouts policy not allowing gay members. The national organization amended its position in May.
When asked if the organization’s policy change has had any negative impact on the Jamboree’s anticipated attendance or if any protests are anticipated, Larry Prichard, the Jamboree’s Director responded.
“It’s a really great question that should be directed to our National organization. Our membership standards change doesn’t take effect until January 2014,” he said. “So, everybody who’s coming to the Jamboree is coming on the standards that existed before the resolution in May. Our expectation is to treat everybody who comes appropriately. If there are folks who say that they want to raise issue with us, we’ll have opportunities with our media team for them to have conversations when they get here.”
Prichard later added that the Jamboree offers more than hiking, camping and kayaking. A robotics lab constructed on the site focuses on math and science skills.
“You could be a geek and be a Scout,” said Prichard. “We want anybody to look at what we’re doing and say, well that’s cool, I didn’t know I could do that in Scouts! Come to Scouts, try it and then we hope they stay. If they stay, we know that we’ll change their character.”