Wednesday we had an early 5am wakeup and a 7am pickup to head out for our day of service. We traveled 90 minutes to Welch, WV to a cemetery to perform some landscaping and painting.
Each Troop at The Jamboree will do a day of service during their stay. That’s over 35,000 scouts heading out to do helpful projects around West Virginia.
The 9 Counties surrounding The Summit have been preparing for the past three years for these service projects to help in much needed areas. It’s a great way for the boys to give back to the community that helped build The Summit for them.
At our project we painted several railings and cleared brush from the grounds of the cemetery. The cemetery had gravesites dating back to the mid-1800s and held the grave of the first pilot shot down in WWI.
Tuesday morning we attended the opening ceremony in the Summit Stadium. They introduced the Bechtel family who donated the land and much of the funding for the Summit.
Afterwards, the boys spread out across The Summit to take in the activities and sites.
The facilities here are first class. One of our Assistant Scoutmasters, Joel Stinnett, is working the rock climbing area and said they are using specially designed equipment that is better and safer than any he has seen before.
The Summit is a beautiful place and the grounds are amazing. Here are some shots from an evening walk around the lake.
The weather today was much hotter than expected – highs in the low nineties with no breeze and lots of humidity. While there are lots of trees, most of the camping areas are wide open fields with little shade.
Our camp site is about 20 minutes from the lake activities and rock climbing, but further from other areas of camp. Overall, we are in a fairly central location.
The boys had a busy day setting up camp and getting unpacked. We had to figure out how to pickup and prepare food, cleanup, shower, and trade patches. They did a fantastic job pulling together and taking care of everything.
Tomorrow morning we have the opening of ceremonies at The Summit Stadium.
Contingent Troop A229 arrived at Jambo this morning and have set up camp!
Troop C117 arrived at Jamboree this morning. This is our new home for the next 9 days.
Today we got to go White water rafting!!! Fortunately nobody got hurt, but a couple people did fall out of the rafts. 🙂 tonight also we had our chapel service and campfire.
Tonight we will get to sleep in cabins at Adventures at the Gorge. Then tommarow we will go white water rafting, have a Chapel Service and an awesome campfire with skits and all.
We arrived at Chickamauga National Battlefield this morning and watched a film about the battle. Our Park Ranger Chris gave us a very informative and passionate talk about the Civil War and it’s history in the region. Chattanooga was a pivotal battleground because of its significance as a rail and river trade route.
We all study the Civil War in school. However, nothing makes it more real than visiting a battlefield. At Chickamauga, we watched a brief documentary about the battles for Chattanooga, with Chickamauga being the deadliest (and the second most deadly of the war).
After the documentary, we went out back and was met by park ranger Chris, who was dressed as a confederate soldier. He gave a fantastic history lesson.
I was both moved and impressed by the sincere reverence and respect displayed by our entire troop. Everyone listened intently and asked great questions. It was a very sobering experience.
Below is a picture of some of the artillery on display as well as the view of part of the battlefield.
It’s hard to believe that we had so many activities packed into a single day. The Tennessee Aquarium made the day that much better. We were greeted by Loribeth and her crew who treated us to an informative behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. In the picture below, one group gets a top view of the largest salt water tank, with over 600,000 gallons of salt water.
There, of course were lots of fish and other aquatic life. We also got to play with the butterflies.
One of the groups also managed to squeeze all 21 members into a shark cage. They would have made quite a feast for some shark.
We stayed overnight at the aquarium and got a chance to catch up on some sleep. In the morning, we played with the otters before we headed out.
Before we left in the morning, we got some pictures in front of the aquarium with our hospitable hosts. Thanks Tennessee Aquarium!
Everybody’s having an amazing time at the Aquarium!!! We got to see a lot of really cool sea creatures!!! ( sorry, I wasn’t able to post a photo).
Ruby Falls was a pretty awesome visit. The next stop was the Incline Railway. We went from being 1100 feet under the mountain to being on top of the mountain. The ride is a mile, most of which is at a very steep incline. The view was great and the ride was relaxing.
The picture below shows the train path up the mountainside.
Fletcher and Caleb use the view as an opportunity to make a video. Wonder what they are up to?
The next stop for the day was Ruby Falls at Lookout Mountain. This was a cave tour that culminated in an amazing waterfall at the end if the tour (really the half way point). The water fall is 145 ft water fall located over 1100 feet below the surface of the mountain. You can learn more about it by visiting rubyfalls.com.
It is difficult to get good pictures in the dark caverns, but a couple of decent pics are available.
After traveling all night and sleeping on the bus, the crew arrived at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum around 8:30am eastern time. We set up shop and ate breakfast in the parking lot.
After breakfast, the boys were able to hang around the living museum and hop on some of the cars. Below are some pics of the boys milling about the RR cars.
Everybody’s having an amazing time at the Tennessee railroad museum. We are now on a locomotive train for a nice long ride.
Everyone is doing great and ready for our morning at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Muaeum!!
We had an awesome turnout of friends and family to see our Jamboree contingent off on our adventure. As is customary, we took the time to take group pictures before disembarking. Check this awesome group out!
I don’t believe it’s a tradition to get pics of the “photographers”, but it really should be. These friends and family members have been behind the scenes encouraging and helping these boys prepare for this adventure.
This jamboree will be different than the last seven or eight because it’s the first one that will be without Bill. We will be traveling with his wisdom and leadership as our badge. Bill sent us off with three rules. Check the video below.
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The following notes were sent by John W. Manz, Area Commissioner, Area 5 Western Region BSA regarding expected conditions at The Summit during Jamboree.
Fellow Jamboree Scouters:
Some heads up items:
- It is projected to rain on 8 of the 10 Jamboree days (most may have thunderstorms as well as showers), including arrival and departure days.
- The duffel bags are not waterproof:
- I have double coated mine with the heavy-duty CampDrY from Kiwi – the 3rd coat goes on tomorrow. This will help but not solve the problem completely or reliably due to seams and zippers.
- I suggest each Scout have 3 of the 55 gallon heavy duty (3 mil thickness) extra large (3′ wide x 4’8″ high) contractor size plastic bags in their gear – can buy at any good hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowes. Iron Hold is one of the brands
- Use one (1) of the bags as an inner liner for the duffel bag, the same way we use a plastic bag in a pack basket, before departing the final tour stop enroute to the Jamboree. The other 2 bags are to put bedding, etc. in before leaving camp in the morning or to keep the gear dry as an inner liner when departing the Jamboree.
- You might want to pick up a couple of cheap plastic drop cloths or the equivalent to cover your gear with while setting up camp and tearing down camp.
- If it is raining on arrival at the Subcamp, I suggest you get out of uniforms and into swim suits or shorts,T-shirts or the equivalent, and shoes and socks as soon as you arrive at the campsite as it will be wet and soft.
- Drying will be far more difficult at the Summit than at Ft. Hill due to paucity of dryers in town and any reasonable way to get to them – bring a couple of lines to string for drying when the sun comes out.
- Solar chargers may be of limited use if the sky is totally overcast much of the time.
- This could be another wet one – ala the 1973 Jamboree at Moraine State Park, PA just 270 miles almost due north of the Summit. The Scouts have always called it “Mo’ Rain State Park” as it was a cold rain for ten (10) straight days..
- Be alert for hypothermia especially if we get a sudden temperature drop after a rain or thunderstorm. Most hypothermia occurs when wet between 30o F and 50o F.
- Trenchfoot and other foot ailments could become an issue, especially for those wearing Gore=Tex lined boots. 10 days in a “sauna” is a breeding ground. Foot checks for this and other ailments like blisters are a best practice. I am now going to bring an extra pair of moccasins that are the L.L.Bean rubber bottoms – they do stay dry but are not great for walking cross-country.
In answer to several questions:
- I do not have a phone number yet for the Subcamp HQ. Subcamp Director Mike Hale is working on that.
- I do not know the size of the American flag in the Troop kit at this time, still looking for an answer.
Looking forward to the adventure.
John W. Manz
Area Commissioner, Area 5 Western Region BSA
Commissioner, Subcamp Blue Jay, 2013 National Scout Jamboree
Please check out the Summit Blog for more information about the upcoming Jamboree! It has some great information for your Scout and you! Link to Summit Blog: http://www.summitblog.org/