At 6:29 a.m. Wednesday, First Class Scout Elchanan G. from Troop 1304 made history by becoming the first Scout to step onto the Summit Bechtel Reserve to commence the 2017 National Jamboree.
Elchanan, 11, is part of an all-Orthodox-Jewish contingent organized by a northeastern Scout camp. Their contingent is composed of Scouts from eight separate councils that span across the entire United States. As Elchanan’s fellow Scouts followed him off the bus, some of them noticed one of the Summit’s best amenities — “Wi-Fi! Cheer for Wi-Fi!” one said — but another lamented his lack of sleep on the way over, griping, “I’m not awake enough to help unload!”
The contingent’s Scoutmaster, Sheldon Freidenreich, is also the first Scoutmaster to arrive at the 2017 National Jamboree. This is his seventh Jamboree and sixth as a Scoutmaster for a Jamboree contingent. He said he is looking forward to seeing all of his youth contingent have an incredible time at the Jamboree.
The contingent had been welcomed at the Ruby Welcome Center by Operation Arrow staff members Patrick Mapp and Ryan Thomure. Once at the campsite, the two helped start an assembly line for personal gear, thanked the Scouts, and grabbed a quick selfie with them, screaming “Jamboree!” before leaving to meet their next troop.
Elchanan said he is excited for patch trading at the Jamboree. He has a rare ghost patch from Okpik, and he’s looking forward to finding some new ones, including a special limited edition lodge flap. However, the first thing he’s going to do is check out the BMX biking at the Summit’s low gear program area.
As the next few days roll on, over 800 buses are expected to arrive at the Summit; transporting thousands of Scouts to five base camps on-site. Contingents will set up their new homes for the next 10 days and then venture out to explore the best of what Scouting has to offer.