It’s the day before thousands of troops arrive at the BSA’s National Jamboree at The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. I had the privilege of taking a preview media tour with members of the military who will also be serving as media escorts during the Jamboree. The experience was incredible! Let me share…
Summit Center is the public’s view of Scouting in action. It’s a preview of all The Summit and the National Jamboree has to offer today’s youth. Although work is still being done to prepare the site for the arrival of 40,000+ Scouts and leaders tomorrow, it was still a sight to see (both the Jamboree experience and the beauty of The Summit itself).
The first stop on our tour was the Sustainability Treehouse. A centerpiece of Scouting’s commitment to sustainability, this 126 foot tall interactive treehouse is engaging and educational. Alongside members of the military (who you will see in many of the pictures from today), visitors learned about recycling and how trees, the forest and the Treehouse itself all provide meaningful examples of sustainable stewardship they can emulate. The Sustainability Treehouse is designed to generate as much energy as it uses through an array of photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and geothermal energy. The building also captures and treats rainwater and wastewater for an overall “net zero” facility. Pretty cool!
All of this is connected to the roll-out of the BSA’s new Sustainability Merit Badge, which at the end of your experience at the Sustainability Treehouse, you leave with a coin made of all the recycled material collected during the creation of The Summit. On one side, it commemorates the Jamboree, on the other side it previews the Sustainability Merit Badge.
The next stop on our tour was to a very unique bridge that overlooks many of the campsites at the Jamboree. You might wonder how a bridge can be unique. Typically, it’s a path from one side of an area to another. This bridge however, allows for three paths from one side to the other. The first is a basic bridge, the second and third bend above and below the main span. I highly recommend taking the alternative routes as the views of the site are well worth the extra effort (and strain on your legs). We only got to experience a small portion of the bridge, but the overall span is 578 feet and connects the main center of the camp to the eastern half of the property.
The final stop on our tour was to BMX and Skating venues. While participants of the Jamboree will experience Thrasher Mountain which totals 28 acres of BMX and Skating adventures, visitors to Summit Center get a pretty solid taste of the excitement. The ramps and tracks are very impressive and instructional training is offered for those looking to expand their skillsets. It’s going to be quite a sight to see when experienced riders and skaters are taking on the challenge.
That concluded our tour of Summit Center for today. We barely made a dent in all there is to offer. While we weren’t up close, we could see the waterfront with iceberg inflatables, canoes, kayaks, standing paddleboards and fishing – all very temping on a very hot day like today. We could also see rappelling -which looked awesome, and the zip lines – more than 5 miles of zip lines in fact (ranked first in the world in total mileage)!
Stay tuned for more stories and pictures from the Jamboree and The Summit.