CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For thousands of scouts from across the world the next 12 days will be their first time spent in West Virginia and even in the United States.
Around 45,000 scouts and leaders are expected at the Summit Bechtel Reserve at Glen Jean for the 24th World Scout Jamboree that officially gets underway Tuesday night with opening ceremonies.
A majority of the international scouts came into the state Monday, with dozens of groups flying into Yeager Airport in Charleston. This includes a group from Lima, Peru with Johan Bottger, 14, Cristina Lam, 15, and Mauro Garcia, 17.
“It’s mostly a safe place,” Lam told MetroNews of her initial thoughts of West Virginia. “It’s really quiet and calm. Everybody is really kind here.”
Lam, who got into the scouts because of her cousin, said she is looking forward to the events to meet other scouts.
“I am hoping to make new friends from other countries. I want to have a great experience. This is my first international event and I am really looking forward to it,” she said.
Bottger, who has been a scout since 2012 and been to the United States before but not West Virginia, said he is hoping for a similar experience.
“I am looking forward to meeting new people and having new experiences. It’s great being back in the country. I really missed it. This is such a great nation.”
More than 1,000 scouts arrived at Yeager Airport just on Monday morning with thousands more heading to Fayette County via buses and Amtrak trains.
A group from Portugal are among the around 170 scouting groups that will take place in the event that runs through August 2.
The theme for the event this year is “Unlock a New World,” which is completely true for Miguel Costal, 17 of Portugal, who had never been to the United States before Sunday.
Costal said he is excited to be in West Virginia to share his love for the scouts.
“I love being outside of home,” he said. “I like the sense of friendship. A lot of my friends are from scouts and some of them are like brothers to me.”
The West Virginia Tourism office welcomed the scouts coming into the airport on Monday. The groups will have a chance to take in the state’s best activities on the thousands of acres of the reserve.
Whitewater rafting on the New River will be offered as well as rides on one of the longest zip lines in the country. Even U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin took part in the zip lining activity on Monday.
Other activities are swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling, archery, shooting sports, canopy tours, skateboarding, and mountain and BMX biking.
The site recently hosted the National Scout Jamboree but this is the first time since the 1960s that the international event is in America.
— West Virginia Tourism (@WVtourism) July 22, 2019