By JORDAN NELSON
GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — At the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree, some of the 27,000+ Boy Scouts took their shot Thursday at participating in high-adventure activities at the National High Adventure Base (NHAB) at Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR).
Tucked away in a small pocket of the 11,400 acres of land on SBR, the adventure base contains a multitude of obstacles the Scouts can choose from to bring them high-adrenaline sensations.
As Scouts carried their gear under the hot sun and trudged along the rocky dirt roads, many stopped to see what NHAB had to offer.
A first stop for many was the Jared Harvey Mountain Bike Track. As Scouts lined up to get fitted for safety gear, they prepared themselves for the 36 miles of trails the track has to offer, ranging from easy, medium and hard difficulty levels.
Mike Murphy, 14, of Troop 164 in Ohio said he was overwhelmed with excitement when it came to the high-adventure activities. “I have so many things I want to try out. I mean, I might stink at them but that’s OK. It’s awesome to get to try new things.”
Murphy, who said this was his first Jamboree, hopped off of his bike and headed over to another popular area of NHAB, the skate park. “This is going to be intense. I can’t wait,” he said.
Dave Atkinson, assistant manager of Extreme Sports Skatepark at the Jamboree said there is no other word to describe the high-adventure activities other than “awesome.”
“This has to be the best thing I’ve gotten to experience as an adult,” Atkinson said. “I love being able to give these guys an opportunity they might not be able to receive back home, it’s amazing.”
According to many officials at SBR, training is one of the most important aspects regarding the high-adventure activities.
“They get a brief training narrative, and have to explain it back to us. It’s important we know they’re comfortable with what they’re about to do,” Atkinson said.
Whether it was biking, ziplining, skating or canopy tours, the Scouts were able to get their taste for adventure in more ways than one.
The high-adventure didn’t stop there, though. As Scouts ventured deeper into NHAB, they discovered rock climbing, key logging and an array of aquatic sports.
As Scouts took turns getting into the miniature pool set up for key logging, using it as a way to try out something new while taking a dip and cooling off.
Emily Ward, director of National Sales & Program Development at Key Log Rolling, said she knew the Jamboree would bring popularity to the unique sport.
“The company was started by a world-champion log rolling family, and they really wanted to bring more light to the sport,” Ward said. “It used to be done on a 500-pound wooden log, but things have advanced and we now have this portable synthetic log.”
As Scouts stood in the middle of the pool on the synthetic log, they attempted to stay balanced while others took their shot at trying to knock them off. Many fell off the log, laughing, while getting to take a quick dip in the pool.
“I can’t even count how many kids have been here today, and it’s great seeing the enjoyment and excitement they have at this station,” Ward said.
Cameron Sarang, 14, of Troop 518 in Indiana said the high-adventure activities at the Jamboree have been what he is most excited for. “I woke up, ate breakfast and headed straight over here. But this place is so huge and we got lost,” he said with a laugh. “I just got off the rock climbing wall, and I want to try key logging next.”
Boulder Cove, NHAB’s rock climbing wall allowed for multiple Boy Scouts to go up the wall at once and work together and give support while making their way to the top.
“I’ve never been to West Virginia until now, and it’s really nice to be here and experience adventurous activities with my friends in such a cool place,” Sarang said.
As the temperature climbed, Boy Scouts made their way to Goodrich Lake to participate in aquatic adventures.
Terry Budd, Water Reality and Aquatics director at the Summit, said aquatic sports give Scouts the opportunity to work together.
“It’s really rewarding getting to see all the Scouts work together within these sports,” Budd said. “Seeing them get off the water feeling proud that they worked together to achieve something is special.”
As Scouts climbed over the inflatable obstacle courses, they weren’t able to go to the next section of the course until each individual in their group completed the section.
“They go in groups of four and have to work over five elements,” Budd said. “They actually want to work together, and they want to help each other. They don’t leave one another behind,” Budd said.
Once finished with the aquatic obstacle course, many Scouts headed to the paddle boards for a more laid back adventure.
“The paddle boards have definitely been popular,” Budd said. “Many lifeguards in the aquatic section use them by paddling around and keeping track of the Scouts.”
Although many things are offered for the Scouts enjoyment at SBR, the adventure base is just one of many they get to choose from. Thursday was only the beginning of a jam-packed 10-day quest.
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