This July, thousands of Order of the Arrow members are traveling to the New River Gorge for SummitCorps 2011: The New River Experience. For this project, the Arrowmen are building two trail systems for the benefit of West Virginia and all people who come to explore the region.
Just like most Scout projects, SummitCorps is primarily youth-led. Members of InstructorCorps (I-Corps) came to West Virginia early and learned how to build sustainable hiking and biking trails from the folks at the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and the National Park Services.
Davis, an Order of the Arrow and I-Corps member from Georgia, has been right in the middle of it all.
“We’re going to be leading and really coordinating the backbone of the project of building the trails,” Davis said.
While every Scout at SummitCorps will gain valuable conservation and trail-building experience, Davis has already spent a lot of time in the field.
[pullquote]“It’s not only going to make me a strong leader, but one that’s also ready if something doesn’t really go as planned.” — Davis, I-Corps member[/pullquote]
“I’ve built trails before and I’ve done conservation work,” Davis said. “I’ve learned a lot of techniques. Not only trail-building techniques, but leadership, wilderness survival and wilderness first aid.”
Scouting has also motivated him to study environmental engineering in college and inspired him to work professionally in a field related to conservation.
“I developed a love of the outdoors from Scouting,” Davis said.
Not only has Davis gained valuable experience at Scout service projects, but he has also developed his leadership skills.
In 2008, Davis was a squad leader in the last Order of the Arrow conservation project, ArrowCorps5, in northern California. He was in charge of a unit of 10 Scouts maintaining the scenic Pacific Crest Trail.
Now, as an I-Corps leader, Davis is once again in charge of a group of Scouts. An average day means teaching them leadership techniques, safety and, of course, how to effectively build trail.
“It’s not only going to make me a strong leader, but one that’s also ready if something doesn’t really go as planned,” Davis said. “To adapt and really go.”
There’s no doubt that the Boy Scouts of America develops strong leaders, like Davis, through service projects like SummitCorps.
Check back in at the end of July to see just how many miles of hiking and biking trails the thousands of Arrowmen will have finished!
Stay connected to SummitCorps 2011 all summer. Check back often for more stories straight from the trails.
Have you completed service projects with your troop? How do you think your experiences have made you who you are today?