By MITCH KENNIS Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — BECKLEY, W. Va. — Boy Scouts Troop C436, composed of northern Michigan area scouts, had a thrill ride of a two-week trip this month in West Virginia at the 18th National Scouting Jamboree.
They began their adventure a day before the Jamboree began with big Class 5 white water rafting on the New River. That night, they made camp with 40,000 other Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts, and began the morning at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, the Boy Scouts’ newest high adventure base near Beckley, W. Va.
Scouts were greeted by the West Virginia National Guard band.
“It was fantastic! I loved the way they played songs from a multitude of other artists,” said Scout Matt Dierking, 13, from Troop 27 of Traverse City.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin took the stage and expressed his gratitude to the Scouts for choosing the spot. He was followed by the Summit’s greatest financial supporter, Steve D. Bechtel, who donated to help create the site. He told them he was happy to see they were putting it to good use.
After the official part of the ceremony was done, everyone enjoyed a performance by the country music band, Taylor Made.
“They were great. I’ve heard some of their songs before and really enjoyed their performance,” Scout Andy Bakker, age 14, from Troop 131 of Suttons Bay, said after the show.
The Scouts were given an idea of all the new programs added to the Jamboree, including a skate park and forested high-ropes course, along with some from previous years such as rock-climbing, zip-lining and scuba diving. Merit badges also could be achieved, but many Scouts simply enjoyed the fun in a beautiful and open setting where activities were held.
The Summit is a pinnacle point of the Blue Ridge mountains that is surrounded by lush hills.
At the end of 12 days, the Scouts celebrated the closing ceremony with rock band 3 Doors Down, as well as an impressive pyrotechnic and fireworks show.
Troop C436 had the Scouting time of their lives at Jamboree 2013 and what was learned and experienced will inspire their local Troops to bringing better Scouting to northern Michigan.
Mitch Kennis, 15, of Frankfort, was among thousands of Boy Scouts who attended the National Scouting Jamboree in West Virginia. He attends Frankfort High School where he will be a sophomore this fall.