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Shakedown Observations

Summit Director Dan McCarthy

A week ago the last shakedown Scout left the Summit. Over 2,000 Scouts, Venturers, and Scouters participated. While we got off to a wet start, the weather cooperated sufficiently to enable us to complete the entire program, including mountain biking, BMX, skateboarding, canopy tours, challenge courses, whitewater rafting, and a challenging hike up to Garden Ground Mountain. It was an exciting five-day adventure. Check out the photos at the Summit’s Facebook page.

We learned a lot. Here’s a sampling:

  • Thanks to the Bechtel family, we have an absolutely spectacular piece of property whose potential we’ve only just begun to tap.
  • It’s really hard navigating buses through mud; fortunately, we’ll have roads for the 2013 National Jamboree!
  • Scouts participating at the shakedown only received a taste of what will be offered at the 2013 jamboree (e.g., the 1,100-foot shakedown zip line will be over three times as long at the jamboree; instead of one shakedown BMX track, there will be nine at the jamboree; the four short shakedown canopy tours will be a 90-acre canopy complex at the jamboree; and some jamboree venues were not even available at the shakedown — like rifle ranges, archery ranges, aquatics, fishing, scuba, rappelling, bouldering, and Technology Quest).
  • We need additional staff members to man the various challenge course elements we will offer at the jamboree and ensure they can be operated at capacity.
  • Sunscreen is a must on the site, particularly when participating in programs on Garden Ground Mountain and riding the white water on the New River Gorge National River.

One very important lesson was reinforced at the shakedown: This site demands a level of fitness not required of past jamboree participants. The hike to Garden Ground Mountain is about six miles and involves an elevation change of about 800 feet. When the jamboree site is fully operational, movement around the site is anything but a walk in the park. So, if you’re signed up to attend, start getting in shape now. And if you’re not signed up, there’s still time to do so at

See you at the jamboree!


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