GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Hundreds of Girl Scouts from 11 states are in Fayette County this weekend for the first-ever Girl Scout Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve located in Glen Jean.
“We have done Jamborees at our Girl Scout camps in the past, but we’ve never been able to offer anything like this,” Beth Casey, CEO of Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council told MetroNews Thursday.
In addition to West Virginia, the represented states included Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Indiana and Missouri among others.
“We’re really hoping that this is just going to continue to build for the future and have more and more girls and adults every year,” Casey said.
The Girl Scout Jamboree has the potential to become a national event, much like the Boy Scout Jamboree, according to Jim Campbell, special event manager for The Summit.
“There’s a push within Girl Scouts to go back to their roots — more camping and more outdoor adventure and this is just the start,” Campbell predicted. “I think there could be a groundswell from here.”
Girls were out ziplining, rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking, kayaking and paddle boarding on Thursday.
Girl Scout Isabella March from Elizabeth, W.Va. liked the bikes. “It was really fun. We got muddy,” she reported.
Meanwhile, Girl Scout Allison Rollins of Huntington had plans to tackle rock climbing a second time on Friday.
“You have to know where you’re going and you have to trust that you’re not going to fall, because sometimes you do have to jump for a ledge and you have to trust that, when you do, you are going to catch it, even if you won’t,” Rollins said.
Casey was enjoying The Summit as much as the Girl Scouts. “I know our Girl Scout Council doesn’t have any kind of high adventure facilities like this and it’s an opportunity for those girls and girls in surrounding areas too,” she said.
The Summit will host the National Boy Scout Jamboree in 2017. Only girls who are Venturer Scouts can attend. The World Boy Scout Jamboree will be held at The Summit in 2019.
In the time between, Campbell said The Summit will be working to bring other youth groups, in addition to the Girl Scouts, to the more than 8,000-acre property that sits right next to the New River Gorge National River.
A 4-H Day is already scheduled for Aug. 8.
As for others, “Church groups and other nonprofit youth organizations are what we’re really looking to bring in here,” Campbell said. “We have a big place. We should be sharing it with everybody.”