MOUNT HOPE, W.Va. —  A Boy Scout band belted out a John Phillip Sousa number as one by one, single file, scouts from across the United States filed into the Summit Center in Fayette County Tuesday, ready to start ten days of adventure.

“This just blows my mind,” said Scout Sam Hauda, 15, of McClean, Va. “I’ve been here a couple of times and I’ve always enjoyed the scenery and wildlife here.  I’m a city boy and used to seeing buildings and maybe the occasional deer, out here you just get lost in in all.”

The 40,000 scouts sat with their troops forming a sea of humanity across a wide open hillside to start the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. They were welcomed by National Boy Scout officials and a concert by West Virginia country music performers Taylor Made.

During those ceremonies the scouts were introduced to Steve Bechtel, the benefactor whose family donated money to purchase the 10,600 acres and to West Virginia philanthropist Jim Justice who added his own sizable contribution to make the project a reality.

“It’s goosebumps, it’s breath taking and you never get tired of seeing that,” said Larry Pritchard Chairman of the National Jamboree. “Nobody knew what to expect.  When they get there it’s more than they imagined.  Smiling faces are pretty cool.”

The opening ceremonies ended and the scouts departed in all directions. None seemed to be heading to the same place, but all were headed there in a hurry.

Scout Gregory Roszyk, 12, of Great Falls, Virginia loves scouting with all his heart. He’s not shy about sharing his experiences.

“Backpacking! We do LOTS of backpacking,” he said of his home troop. “We had baguettes and penne pasta with Ragu..ON A BACKPACKING TRIP!  It was tasty.”

Over the course of their nearly two week stay at the Summit, scouts will have opportunities for hiking, shooting, swimming, skateboarding, mountain biking, four-wheeler riding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and more than five miles of zip lines and canopy tours to enjoy. The list doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.

“I’m looking forward to skateboarding, I’ve been wanting to learn how to do that,” said Hauda. “And I’ve got to tell you, that high powered rifle shooting, I’m just pumped for that.”

“I have a good friend in Western Pennsylvania who texted me because he’d received a text from his son,” said Pritchard. “His son said,’this place is awesome.'”

Armed with a 10,600 acre wifi connection and 40,000 smarthphones and tablets, it won’t be the last text of high praise out of the West Virginia hills for the 2013 National Jamboree.

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  • Guardian

    This is truly a huge positive for WV. Kudos to the benefactors who made this possible and brought the Boy Scouts to WV.

    Steve - the Boy Scouts are persona non grata with the national media. Don't expect positive coverage or spin from them - if anything, they'll search for some sort of politically incorrect "happening" here and that will be the focus of their coverage.

  • steve

    Im noticing probably because of the positive image the jamboree is creating , the national news medica is shying away from reporting the progress of this event.

  • Carol C

    My two boys are there -- -they LOVE it!!! "AWESOME" is exactly how my 13 year old described it. We got a call from our 15 year old last night who was telling us about all the different things he had done with the Army, Coast Guard and Navy fitness tests! He set the record yesterday at the Army test for pull ups and the agility course!! Can't thank the sponsors enough for providing not only our WV Scouts but all Scouts globally with this awesome opportunity! Can't wait for the WORLD JAMBO!!!!

  • me

    Welcome to this great and beautiful state of WV!


    This is simply awesome. Can the land be used for other events? I hope they enjoy it all. Hats off to Mr. Bechtel and Mr. Justice. I'm so glad these type people still exist!!

    • wvualum99

      Not only a special thanks to the Bechtel Family and Mr. Justice, but a thank you to Art King and all of the employees at Kanawha Stone Company. From what I understand, Mr. King, the owner of Kanawha Stone Company, is still involved with the Boy Scouts of America and had a big role in not only getting the Scouts to build their camp in West Virginia, but his organizations also had a big role in designing and building the camp. The crews spent many, many long days and weekends working to get the project complete in time for the Jamboree.

  • will

    Come see the West Virginia boys at HIGH GEAR!!!!