If the BSA’s Summit Bechtel Reserve is the face of adventure programs of Scouting in America, then the summer staffers who work here are its heart.
“Our seasonal workers here at the Summit are just a breed apart,” said Gary Schroeder, adventure program chairman. “They add so much value to what we do and how we do it.”
“The average Scout that comes to the Summit arrives with a high enthusiasm level and a low skill level. It’s the staff that are here all summer that channel that energy into a positive experience,” Schroeder explained.
“For instance, our Wheels staff know that when they put a Jamboree Scout on a bike, that bike is in great shape because they’ve been riding and tweaking that bike all summer themselves. That’s the kind of invaluable combination of skill and experience that you’ll find throughout all our programs at the Summit. Our staff gets things done at the Summit — they’re the ones who make adventures happen.”
The Summit Adventure Area Experience programs are grouped into aerial sports, target sports, extreme sports, mountain biking, aquatics and off-site programs like white-water rafting and rock climbing that are nearby.
This year, about 280 summer staff members are living in Base Camp Echo, and their backgrounds are as diverse as the range of activities they lead.
For example, Jacob Wiper, 20, came back to the Summit from his home in Seattle, Washington, to work for the summer teaching mountain biking skills.
“I came here for a lot of reasons,” Wiper said. “I’m an Eagle Scout, made my first visit to West Virginia for the Jamboree in 2013. I knew I wanted to be here for the 2017 Jamboree. I hope to get into the adventure guiding industry someday, and I knew working on staff here would help my teaching skills, I’d get to ride everyday, and it would be great for my job resume.”
“I got to run the merit badge programming for three weeks, so that keeps me involved on the Scout level, but mostly I’m just doing what I love to do — riding and passing those skills onto others,” he said.
Wiper and Schroeder both pointed out that while the Jamboree is a Scouting event, not everyone’s experiences and skill set they bring to the Summit are steeped in Scouting.
“We’ve got former Scouts, staffers who’ve never been around Scouting at all and everything in between. The girls that come here to work are the very same breed as the guys. We’re from all over the country, all kinds of backgrounds, and we all live together as friends and equals,” Wiper said.
That makes for a pretty chill living and working environment, according to staffers that JamboLink talked to. They work together, eat, bunk and play together, and that builds a special camaraderie.
“Everyone is trustworthy here, I don’t give my personal belongings a second thought. Everyone shares what they have, and everyone gets along because we’re all kinda in the same boat,” Wiper said. “I’m having the time of my life.”
“The quality of the seasonal staff we get here at the Summit is raising the bar on what this place can really be,” Schroeder said. “They are reaching out and making things happen for their own lives and for the awesome experiences that the participants who come here will have.”
“Join our staff and be a hero!”