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The Summit looks beautiful under a blanket of snow and ice

Start a fire or grab a blanket before viewing these stunning new images of the Summit Bechtel Reserve in winter.

The fields where 30,000 jamboree participants camped seven months ago are now coated with snow. Lakes where Scouts and Venturers tried paddleboarding, dragon boats and “Water Reality” last July are iced over. The AT&T Summit Stadium, where tens of thousands gathered to hear Mike Rowe, 3 Doors Down and the King of Sweden, looks more suited for downhill skiing than a show.

The gorgeous aerial photographs are the work of Gary Hartley, director of community and government relations at the BSA’s newest national high-adventure base.

They prove that the Summit holds magic in any season. But the base really shines in the summer. Don’t miss what they have planned for your Scouts and Venturers during their first season as a high-adventure base.

And see the cool winter photos after the jump. Continue reading

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Trick-shot tacticians Dude Perfect use the Summit as their latest playground

What happens when you send the purveyors of insane basketball and football trick shots to the BSA’s newest high-adventure playground?

You won’t believe me until you see for yourself.

Last month the guys at Dude Perfect, with 1.7 million YouTube subscribers to their name, visited the Summit for their latest round of extreme trick shots.

Almost anyone can make a half-court basketball shot with enough tries, but these guys take long-distance accuracy to new extremes. I’m talking swishes off climbing walls, nothing-but-net shots from atop the Sustainability Treehouse, and you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me makes in a moving whitewater raft. And that’s just the beginning.

Now, these guys aren’t Scouts as far as I can tell, but what they’ve done here is raise awareness about Scouting and its newest high-adventure base, officially called the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit (opening summer 2014!). That’s publicity you can’t buy.

As of this writing the video has amassed nearly 800,000 views. That’s more than any BSA video I know of, but it’s the comments that really get me pumped. Like this one: “It is videos like these that make me proud to be a boyscout [sic].” And this: “That place looks sick.” Or this: “Not you [sic] average Boy Scouts video. Check it out!”

What he said. Watch the video for yourself and see a few behind-the-scenes photos after the jump. Continue reading

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Tech blog Gizmodo: Summit treehouse ‘looks just like an Ewok village’

summit-sustainability-treehouse-2I can think of no higher praise than the words used today to describe the Summit’s Sustainability Treehouse.

Alissa Walker, who writes for the popular technology and design blog Gizmodo, said in a blog post that the treehouse “looks just like an Ewok village.”

Any Star Wars fan knows that’s high praise indeed. If the Summit’s creation is suitable for those furry little forest-dwellers, it’s certainly a great spot for Scouts seeking a new perspective on sustainability.

Walker writes:  Continue reading

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Putting jamboree attendance numbers in historical perspective

As any sports fan will tell you, numbers don’t always tell the whole story.

Earlier this month, I shared the final attendance figures from the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

The count was 30,037 youth and adult participants, a number that doesn’t include staff or visitors.

But what I didn’t know at the time was this: The 2013 jamboree had the third-largest attendance as a percent of Boy Scout membership in our history. Only 2005 and 2010′s events had a higher number.

Roughly 4.42 percent of registered Scouts and Scouters attended the 2013 jamboree. For comparison, the first jamboree, held in 1937, was attended by about 3.49 percent of registered members.

Here are the year-by-year numbers, in case you’re interested:  Continue reading

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Here are 5 inspiring letters from some satisfied jamboree customers

After I posted this heartfelt letter from a mom about her son’s jamboree experience, even more positive jamboree anecdotes poured in.

I heard from Scoutmasters, Venturing advisors, visitors and even members of local West Virginia communities. Every last one was a glowing review of the BSA’s first jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

This isn’t me cherry-picking the positive emails; the overwhelming message in my inbox shows that while some of you were initially apprehensive about the 2013 jamboree, that feeling faded fast. In the end, it seems, nearly everyone left with indelible memories and a new connection with the Scouting movement.

Here are some excerpts from five of my favorite emails:  Continue reading

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After jamboree, Connecticut Scouter returned to his car to find this…

jamboree-garys-windowConnecticut Scouter Gary had just finished a “wonderful week serving on the national jamboree staff” when he returned to the mall parking lot where his car had lived for the past two weeks.

But when he spotted his car, his heart sank.

Here’s how Gary described what happened in an email sent over the weekend:

The bus had dropped me off at Crossroads Mall, a short walk to my car. As I got closer to my automobile, I noticed that a plastic garbage bag was duct taped to my passenger side front window. A depressed feeling came over me.

Had someone smashed my window, and will I need to call the police? I decided to unlock my car, sit down and gather my thoughts. Continue reading

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Been there, built that? Get the official BSA racing and Team SLR T-shirt

scotty-shirts-orderYou’d have to be crazy to get behind the wheel of a race car built by a bunch of Scouts, right?

Then I guess NASCAR driver and BSA Racing partner Scott Lagasse Jr. is a little crazy. At the 2013 jamboree, I reported on Team SLR’s wildly popular exhibit up at Technology Quest where Scouts and Venturers built a real race car, piece by piece.

“I don’t know of anyone in the racing world doing it,” Scotty told me at the time. “They’re gonna say we’re nuts.”

Crazy or not, the Scouts did it. The result is a car covered with Scouts’ signatures and put together by Scouts under the guidance of Team SLR professionals.

Sadly, Scouts didn’t get to keep the car for themselves — Scotty needs it for an upcoming race. But now, they can get the next best thing with the official “I Built This” T-shirt. There’s even one for Moms and Dads that says “My Scout Built This.”

Whether you attended the jamboree or not, it’s a nice way to show your support for Scouting and BSA Racing. Continue reading

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Final attendance numbers from the 2013 jamboree

The photos have been shared with Mom, Dad, and everyone on Facebook; the patches found a safe place in a binder or box; and the muddy clothes have been washed (and rewashed).

All that’s left to do is look back on a game-changing, awesome 2013 National Jamboree. Just as many of you have spent the last week thinking about those 10 days, so too has the hard-working staff at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Who needs sleep, right?

Today, the Summit team released the final attendance numbers for participants, visitors and staff. We even got a count of the number of service hours recorded during all those Messengers of Peace Day of Service projects.  Continue reading

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Own autographed jamboree gear worn by Mike Rowe

Update, Aug. 5: Bidding on the main auction finished at $910! The winning bidder was anonymous per eBay policy, but if he or she wants to contact me to be recognized, please fell free.


Mike Rowe has some C.R.A.P. to sell you.

That’s “Collectibles Rare And Precious,” of course.

The Eagle Scout, Dirty Jobs star, skilled labor advocate and memorable speaker at this month’s jamboree is auctioning and selling some signed jamboree gear to benefit his foundation.

Rather than trying to explain it myself, I better let Mike handle that. Just watch this video in which he compliments the Scouting organization and shows what he’s putting up for bid or purchase: Continue reading

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My top 10 jamboree memories

After 10 phenomenal days at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree earlier this month, I have just one regret: I couldn’t see it all.

I never rolled by the skate park or BMX track, didn’t take a dip in the Pools, and bailed on whitewater rafting. (Fortunately, the fine folks at the Summit Blog and Jamboree Today covered all that and more.)

No two jamboree experiences were alike, and so rather than focusing on what mine lacked, here’s a look back at my top 10 jamboree memories. As for everything I didn’t get to see? The countdown to the 2017 jamboree has already begun. Continue reading