By July 2, 2017 Read More →

Girls Scouts from all over the country take on WV 2017 Jamboree

By Jordan Nelson

The Register-Herald of Beckley

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Over 1,000 Girl Scouts from all over the country traveled by automobile, train, and plane to come to West Virginia and attend this year’s Girl Scout Jamboree at the Summit Betchel Reserve in Glen Jean.

While Girl Scouts are known for practicing leadership skills through girl-led experiences, Jamboree is just one of the many things they get to be a part of, but according to some of them, it’s one of the most exciting things they’ve gotten to experience in a very long time.

Beth Casey, CEO of Girls Scouts of Black Diamond Council, said this is the Girl Scouts’ third year at the Jamboree, and it just keeps getting bigger and better.

“Our division serves six different counties in four different states, but all the girls here at the Jamboree are representing 166 troops from 24 states,” Casey said.

The Jamboree is designed to provide the girls with “world-class high adventure,” where they get to make their own schedule throughout the day, based upon their personal interests.

“There’s everything from zip-lines to tree-top canopies, and skateboarding, mountain biking, BMX, and several different water sports,” Casey said. “The water sports are always a favorite.”

Casey said they are supplementing the girls’ personal interest activities with other badge activities as well.

“They’re able to receive badges through activities that involve STEM, art, the outdoors and healthy living,” Casey said.

The Girl Scouts mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place.

Girls gain skills at the Jamboree to empower themselves for life and become go-getters, innovators, risk-takers and leaders.

“My mom was a troop leader when I was little and she created our troop,” said Grace Stueven, 13, of Kansas. “So me and my best friends have been doing this together since we were in kindergarten.”

Grace said her troop is currently working on their Silver Award, which is a 50-hour community service project, and she was glad to take a break and come to the Summit.

“Zip-lining and swimming have been my absolute favorite things while being here,” Grace said. “We don’t have as much room in my small town in Kansas, so we don’t have as many chances to do stuff like this.”

Grace said she has been taught multiple survival skills and how to get along better with others if she’s ever stuck in a situation she doesn’t want to be in.

Kassidy Stueven, 13, also of Kansas, said being in West Virginia has been such an exciting experience for her. “We don’t have a place to do archery back home, so it was really cool to be able to do that,” Kassidy said.

Kassidy said kayaking was something completely new to her and she would love to be able to do it again.

“We had so much fun while doing that,” Kassidy said. “I’ve loved being here, I’ve made so many friends, and it was so worth the day and a half getting all the way here,” she said, laughing.

“I think I have become more of a leader while being here,” Savannah Athy-Seldbrok, 13, of Kansas, said. “We’ve been taking a break from the outdoors and playing some games, but I can’t wait to get back out there again.

“Shooting guns was completely new to me,” Savannah said, laughing. “I shot a gun with my dad once, but that was it.

“It’s cool to go to a place and do something you have never done before; it was awesome!”

Savannah said she isn’t worried about growing into an adult because being a Girl Scout and having the chance to go to the Summit has taught her to be comfortable with going up to people she doesn’t know and forming relationships.

“I just feel so much more confident and powerful.”

According to these girls, they are the future authors, accountants, chefs, dancers, meteorologists and archeologists of our country.

“It’s all about teamwork,” Casey said. “It’s amazing watching these girls push each other to do better and do great things.”

At the 2017 Summit, the girls simply encouraged one another to be the best they could be.

“They’ve achieved that, and so much more,” Casey said.

— Email: jnelson@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @jnelsonRH

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