GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — As part of the 24th World Scout Jamboree, which begins Monday at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County, scouts will have the opportunity to learn about various scientific aspects of six featured sporting activities taking place during the 12-day event.
As was the case during the two previous national scouting festivals at the reserve, West Virginia University students will be at the location to provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) instruction, as scouts participate in zip lining, rock climbing, cycling, archery, paddling, and skateboarding, while learning about physics and other scientific principles associated with physical motion.
Director of Program and Operations at Summit Bechtel Reserve Kenn Miller said the basic idea is to utilize the venues as an outdoor classroom setting, in which instructors will engage scouts in the study of science, with hands-on demonstrations.
“The WVU students talk about the velocity on the zipline. How fast will you be going? They have speed guns. So, did you go the speed you thought, when you determined the math on it? It’s a great program, and this year, every one of our main program areas will have a Science Behind the Sport program element,” Miller told MetroNews.
Summit Bechtel Reserve, unlike previous locations for the World Scout Jamboree, has some built-in advantages for providing an environment that will make scouts enthusiastic about learning, according to Miller.
“(World Scout Jamborees) tend to be one-and-dones. They’ll find a piece of turf, build it out for that one-time event, and then leave. So, they don’t have the infrastructure that the Summit Bechtel Reserve has with the ziplines, all the programming, and the 32 miles of mountain bike trails, BMX, the skateboard parks. So, I think these youth from around the world are going to be amazed,” said Miller.
Among the new features constructed at the reserve this year are two permanent training centers, which were built to accommodate hundreds of people at a time for classes, seminars and training-related activities.
Marshall University, which has participated in the two previous national scouting events at Summit Bechtel Reserve, will present scouts with the opportunity to explore robotics, 3-D printing, and the latest automation technology, each day of the jamboree, at the Robert C. Byrd Institute’s “Living in the 21st Century: Knowledgeable Workforce” exhibit, which will include demonstrations of advanced technologies and question-and-answer sessions with RCBI staff.
The West Virginia Institute of Technology in Beckley, which offers an undergraduate degree in Adventure Recreation Management, hosted its inaugural West Virginia Science Adventure Camp two-week summer program at the site in 2018, as part of the school’s ongoing STEM outreach in southern West Virginia.