It was high adventure for ten days, 40,000 or so scouts, 10,000 more adults, on 10,000 acres.
The Boy Scouts National Jamboree ended Wednesday and two buses full of local Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts arrived at Thorne’s Plaza in Warren shortly after 8 p.m.
The event was held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in southern West Virginia, a place developed specifically for hosting jamborees.
This year’s jamboree has been called the most physically challenging ever.
Several local scouts mentioned the white-water rafting, rock climbing, the zip-lines, and the scuba diving.
“It was really awesome,” Branden Lake said. “It was amazing all the stuff they had there.”
They also likened the experience to a very busy amusement park, with long lines for the most popular attractions.
“I got a fast-pass to get to the front of the line,” James Cowan said. “The most I heard of was a seven-hour wait.”
The canopy tour – zip lines through the trees – was his favorite event of the jamboree.
“I’ve never been zip lining,” Cowan said. “At first, you think you’re going to fall off and die. Then you just go with it and just have fun. It was a lot like flying.”
Some of the lines on the Big Zip extend more than half a mile, at about 150 feet above the ground, Ian Proctor said. He was one of the four Chief Cornplanter Council scouts to have his name drawn for a ticket to the Big Zip.
One of the highlights of Proctor’s trip came during the closing entertainment.
At the performance by 3 Doors Down, he caught one of the drum sticks hurled into the crowd by drummer Greg Upchurch.
Zip lines weren’t the only events with long waits.
Lake’s favorite area, the shooting sports, included “rows upon rows of trap… sporting clays…” and others.
He had to wait in line for about two hours to get to the orientation area prior to shooting. After 15 minutes of instruction in safety and protocols, he had to wait more than another 30 minutes to actually shoot.
Michael Betts enjoyed his first white-water rafting experience on the New River Gorge at the jamboree.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said, adding that despite having several first-timers among the paddlers, “We were always in control of the boat.”
As advertised, the Summit’s activities “are more extreme” than those found at local scout camps, Jacob Devereaux said. “It’s more fun.”
“My favorite event was the ropes course,” he said. “It’s a Cope Course in the air. The goal was to make you fall.”
Far from taking a cautious approach, Devereaux said, “I went full bore.”
Not all of the popular activities involved high speeds and adrenaline.
“My favorite part was hanging out with friends I don’t see very often,” Ross Betts said.
He spent a lot of time talking and trading patches – a tradition at Jambo. He traded a Chief Cornplanter Council patch for his favorite acquisition of the event – a Halo video game patch.
Bryan Maynard “traded at least 20 sets of patches,” but had a different take on the jamboree. “The coolest part was there was lots of diversity of people,” he said.
On one side of the Cornplanter Council camp was a group from Texas. On the other, a group from Bangladesh.
Whether they went for the zip lines, the BMX, the rock climbing, white water, shooting, patch trading, or anything else, all of the scouts put in a lot of walking.
“Where our camp was, was on the top of the highest hill,” Maynard said. After a day filled with walking miles to the many activities, returning to camp involved “a nice incline.”