Day of Service helps kick off Jamboree

Jul. 21, 2013 @ 12:16 PM

After being immersed in all of the new, exciting things like ziplines and mountain biking here at the National Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, most of Troop A120 from Durham is busy trying as many activities as they have time for in a day.

It’s been a few days since our arrival on July 15th, most of us have started to get how the camp runs.

There are so many things to do for the 40,000 scouts from all around the world gathered here at the Summit. We get to test out all of them: whitewater rafting, climbing, BMX, skateboarding, ziplining, camping and earning merit badges.

The 10-day National Jamboree is a wonderful chance to meet interesting people from faraway places. A couple of days ago my troop had our “Day of Service,” which is a brand-new service project organized by the Messengers of Peace, the largest service initiative of the Boy Scouts of America. Troop A120 and all other Jamboree troops were assigned a day to travel on a bus to a community and work on a project.

Cheri Hunter, project manager for the Day of Service, said that 350 service projects are being held in nine different counties in Southern West Virginia, totaling 300,000 service hours and a $3 million value of labor.

Thursday, my troop traveled to Burning Rock Outdoor Adventure Park in Raleigh County, W.Va. We worked several hours to build permanent stone fire pits. Troop A120 split into three workgroups which used pickaxes, shovels and hoes to dig small, circular trenches. We then filled them with mortar in order to place stones to create the outer rings for three fire pits.

Jerry Sweeney, the owner of Burning Rock, was very pleased to have the Boy Scouts at his establishment to volunteer. Sweeney , a former scout and member of the Order of the Arrow, which is Boy Scouts’ National Honor Society, said that he believes that the BSA is the finest group of young men in the United States. He said that it is great that scouts can learn skills by working in the community and that it would be wonderful if we could come back to Burning Rock someday and say, “Hey kids, when I was your age, I built this fire pit!”

Sweeney added, “Keep up the good work.”

Service projects are also a great way to bond with your friends. Most Jamboree troops are made up of many boys from one region who have not previously met. Troop A120 is different because it has enough boys to form an entire Jamboree troop of 36 boys and 4 adults.

Scout Bryan Hager said during the project, “We’re having great teamwork!”