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Boy Scouts ready for Jamboree

Jamboree
Jul. 14, 2013 @ 11:30 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Three dozen boy scouts and four adult leaders from the Tri-State area are headed to Mount Hope, W.Va., for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree -- the first at the expansive new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve near Beckley.

The 10-day jamboree, which starts Monday, is conducted every four years to celebrate scouting. Approximately 40,000 scouts, visitors, volunteers and staff from across the country will make Mount Hope the third-largest city in West Virginia.

"It is important that kids get to experience the national jamboree," said John Pickens, a Kenova resident who will serve as the scoutmaster for the 36 scouts attending from the Tri-State. "Most kids in scouting only get one chance because it's only held every four years."

The 10,600 acres of scout reserve boasts more than six miles of zipline challenge courses, 36 miles of mountain bike trails, 13 acres of shooting sports, kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, skateboarding, BMX and other activities.

But make no mistake, Pickens said it will be intense.

"Kids have to prepare mentally and physically," he said, noting that the group has met for full-day training sessions in the past few months leading up to the jamboree.

Besides all the fun activities, Pickens said scouts and leaders will have to hike to all their destinations, as no vehicles are allowed on site. And, they will have a lot of responsibilities in taking care of their camp site, preparing food and even cleaning the latrines. They'll also be taken by bus to a nearby town to participate in a day of service.

While it can be exhausting, Pickens said it is quite a spectacle that serves to re-energize scouts and leaders.

"It's a realization that scouting is bigger than the six to eight boys getting together at a church or even the 100 who go to summer camp," he said. "You are mixed in with kids from all around the world, and you come back with a whole box of memories, friends and memorabilia."

That is an apt description of what the Franks' contingent will bring back with them. Dr. Adam Franks is serving as an adult leader, while his two sons, 16-year-old Bradley and 13-year-old Colin, will experience the jamboree together just like he did with his brother 24 years ago.

They signed up more than a year ago, with the elder Franks saying it will be a great opportunity for his sons to gain self reliance and leadership experience. That's especially true for Bradley Franks, who was elected by his peers to serve as senior patrol leader.

"The biggest goal as senior patrol leader is to help the troop function properly and be organized," he said. "I like to get leadership opportunities when I can, to help people be the best."

Besides scouts, there also are folks from the Tri-State on site to serve as volunteers, who want to be a part of the opening of the history.

That history in southwestern West Virginia is having an impact statewide, as those traveling to the jamboree have stayed or are staying in hotels and spending money at restaurants.

But, it is expected to spark some traffic congestion in the Beckley and Oak Hill areas. The West Virginia Department of Transportation and the state police are highlighting three days where traffic will be heaviest on the turnpike, U.S. 19 and W.Va. 16: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, July 15, as scout buses arrive; 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday, July 20, for the jamboree concert; and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, as scout buses and staff depart.

There also will be daily bus traffic as scouts are taken to nine surrounding counties for service projects.

"Keeping the public moving safely is our goal, and we've taken every measure to assure that for visitors to the jamboree and for our locals," said Paul Mattox, transportation secretary. "Being prepared is the key, and the state's 511 Traveler Information System is the perfect tool to keep travelers in the know before they go."

The statewide system provides information on construction, lane closures, crashes, congestion and severe weather affecting traffic. The free service is available by dialing 5-1-1 from a landline or cell phone. At www.wv511.org, there is access to traffic cameras showing new additions on U.S. 19 in Glen Jean, U.S. 19 in Sunoco and U.S. 19 near Bradley.

Three dozen Boy Scouts and four adult leaders from the Tri-State area are headed to Mount Hope, W.Va., for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree -- the first at the expansive new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve near Beckley.

The 10-day jamboree that starts Monday is conducted every four years to celebrate scouting. Approximately 40,000 Scouts, visitors, volunteers and staff from across the country will make Mount Hope the third-largest city in West Virginia.

The Tri-State contingent includes four adult leaders: Marshall Aanestad, Troop 235, Athens, Ohio; Adam Franks, Troop 12, Huntington; John Pickens, Troop 672, Huntington; and David Spurlock, Troop 96, Milton.

The scouts include Anthony Eythen, Trooper 68, Charleston; Benjamin Bower, Trooper 62, Huntington; Alexander Bradley, Troop 82, Huntington; Kyle Bryant, Troop 12, Huntington; Joseph Davis, Troop 400, West Hamlin; Joseph Enders, Troop 12, Huntington; Mason Estep, Troop 59, Huntington; Sean Evans, Troop 235, Athens, Ohio; Kenneth Filkins, Troop 258, Point Pleasant; Colin Franks, Troop 12, Huntington; Bradley Franks, Troop 12, Huntington; James Gibbs, Troop 61, Huntington; Daniel Gregg, Troop 74, Hurricane; Jacob Gross, Troop 62, Huntington; Richard Hoffman, Troop 96, Milton; Jeffrey Jackson, Troop 12, Huntington; Thomas Kasey, Troop 74, Hurricane; Ross Keller, Troop 235, Athens, Ohio; Matthew Martin, Troop 99, Charleston; Daren Matthews Jr., Troop 258, Point Pleasant; Teddy McGee, Troop 12, Huntington; Griffon McKinniss, Troop 200, Gallipolis; Quenton McKinniss, Troop 200, Gallipolis; Spencer Nicholas, Troop 733, Barboursville; John Oehler, Troop 200, Gallipolis; Jacob Oehler, Troop 200, Gallipolis; Shamil Patel, Troop 62, Huntington; Harrison Randolph, Troop 74, Hurricane; Gage Ross, Troop 96, Milton; Andrew Scarberry, Troop 82, Huntington; Ryan Spurlock, Troop 96, Milton; Seth Spurlock, Troop 96, Milton; Thad Taylor, Troop 12, Huntington; Joseph Touma, Troop 62, Huntington; Wesley Whelan, Troop 124, Catlettsburg; and James Zimmerman, Troop 74, Hurricane.

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