CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree which opens Wednesday at Fayette County’s Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is the first for the new headquarters for the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Located in Kanawha County along Interstate 64, the H. Bernard Wehrle, Sr. Scout Leadership Service Center, named for West Virginia’s first Boy Scout, is less than 50 miles from the Summit.
“It would be hard to miss us as you travel down the interstate and that’s one of the main ways to get down to the Summit,” said Jeff Purdy, scout executive for the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “You go right by our brand new Scout facility here.”
The $4.1 million facility was dedicated last October.
With about 14,000 square feet, the new center has space for large meetings, conferences, volunteer trainings and program coordination along with overnight camping along the Kanawha River.
Between July 19 and July 28, it’ll house Boy Scouts en route to, coming from or visiting the Summit for shorter stays than the full ten days.
Such travel is not a big issue for Boy Scouts in the Buckskin Council.
“Our scouts are getting to go to the National Jamboree at the lowest possible costs,” Purdy said. “They’re going to get to go to the Jamboree and enjoy that full experience at a nominal cost compared to other scouts that may be traveling all the way across the country.”
In all, 108 Boy Scouts plus adult leaders from the Buckskin Council, which serves 32 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia, will be participating in the 2017 Jamboree.
Additionally, a Venture Crew Patrol for co-eds between the ages of 14 and 20 is making the trip with four teenagers and two adults.
The 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree, the 2nd at the Summit which is its permanent home, begins July 19 and continues through July 28.
This year, Boy Scout Jamboree participants will have some help getting around the Summit.
“The last Jamboree in 2013, I actually went with one of our local troop contingents and spent the ten days onsite and walked a lot,” Purdy recalled.
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful area but it’s a lot of walking, so I think they’re going to do some assistance for getting scouts from one end of the Summit to the other because it’s a large piece of property.”
In 2009, the Boy Scouts of America bought 10,600 acres of property adjacent to the New River Gorge National River Area.
Coming up in 2019, the Summit Bechtel Reserve hosts the World Scout Jamboree.