It is not often that West Virginia can be at the epicenter of a global event, but that is exactly what is happening for the next two weeks as the Mountain State hosts the 24th World Scout Jamboree.
An estimated 45,000 Scouts and leaders from over 150 countries are gathering at the Summit Bechtel Reserve at Glen Jean on the ridge above the New River for the event that will last through August 2nd. This is the first World Jamboree held in the United States in over 50 years.
The Scouts will have plenty of opportunities for adventure spread over the 10,000 acres of the reserve: whitewater rafting on the New River, rides on one of the longest zip lines in North America, rock climbing, rappelling, canopy tours, mountain and BMX biking.
There is a giant skateboard park, swimming pools and a lake, water obstacle courses, kayaking, archery and shooting sports.
The adventure sports are a huge draw, but they are only part of the experience, since the Jamboree is primarily an educational event. The theme this year is “Unlock a New World.”
According to Jamboree officials, the Scouts will have opportunities to “highlight their culture and demonstrate the uniqueness of their culture” at the World Point on the reserve. The cross-culture interaction is a big part of the Jamboree’s emphasis on mutual respect and understanding, as well as gender equality. Forty percent of the Scouts are girls.
Scouts will spend time at the Global Development Village, “an interactive space designed to raise awareness of global issues, encouraging scouts to create a better world.”
This Jamboree has taken months of planning and an estimated 9,000 volunteers will be on hand to help make the event run smoothly. The food team will serve approximately one-half million meals. The Scouts will go through ¾ of a million slices of bread, over 400,000 eggs, 20 tons of white and Jasmine rice, three tons of cheese and 120,000 apples.
With that many Scouts and all those adventure activities, health care is a concern. Jamboree Medical Services has a staff of 450 volunteers at 30 medical facilities throughout the site, and ten of those will be open 24 hours a day.
The Jamboree is open for visitors between the 24th and the 31st. If you’re interested, you can go to the World Scout Jamboree website for more information. https://www.2019wsj.org/about/day-visitors/
The World Scout Jamboree will be not only a great couple of weeks for those thousands of Scouts, but also a unique opportunity to showcase the best of West Virginia’s outdoor adventures and hospitality.
Hopefully the Scouts will create great memories that will inspire them to return one day to the Mountain State.