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JUST ONE GLANCE at the pedals told Gilbert Canady all he needed to know about a Scout’s chances of making the jump. “You’ve gotta watch their feet,” the Sacramento Scouter told a visitor at last summer’s Summit Shakedown. “If the pedals are level, they’ll get some air. If not, they’re going down.”


The Scout under tutelage fol-


lowed Canady’s advice and kept his left and right feet even, then sailed his bike six inches off the dirt ramp. He’s moving on. But the next Scout dragged his right pedal across the hump and nearly toppled. “Nope,” Canady told him. “Go back and try it again.”


Canady made a dozen of those snap judgments every minute at the BMX bike evaluation course at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. Scouts who passed the test moved on to the bigger, badder, air-grabbing BMX tracks nearby. Those who didn’t? Well, they just had to keep trying. Air? Since when did the BSA start


encouraging flight on BMX bikes? You might remember the 2010 jam- boree’s motocross course. Signs at each hump were emphatic: “NO AIR.” Canady supervised that event, too, and recalled, “If you came to see me [in 2010], we said the Big Dog doesn’t allow air. And I was the Big Dog. But here we encourage them to get air, and we’re making sure they have the knowledge to do it.” That knowledge will come from safety lessons—like the ones Canady


Forget everything you think you know about jamborees. Signs that read “NO AIR” on the BMX bike course? Not this time, as Colin Higgins, a Life Scout from Winston-Salem, N.C., ably dem- onstrates on the Summit’s jump course (left). No girls allowed? Try telling that to Lauren Larson (above), a Venturer from the Northern Star Council in Minnesota. For the first time in jam- boree history, Lauren and other female Venturers will join the ranks of Scouts at the jamboree.


taught at the Shakedown. Once the boys could prove they had it down, they got the OK to ride the tracks with sharper turns, higher jumps, and—oh, yeah—more opportunities to defy gravity. But he did more than give Scouts the thumbs up or thumbs down after their brief evaluation ride. He told them what they did wrong and gave them time to improve—even if it took two, three, or, in the case of one committed Scout, six more tries.


You might have been shocked to see bikers taking jumps on the BMX tracks at last summer’s Summit Shakedown. But as Eagle Scout Bryan Wendell reports from the site, that’s just one of the bigger, better, and badder changes you can expect at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.


photogr a phs by w. garth dowl ing


Canady said that the process tests Scouts on their own physical ability— neither too easy, like the 2010 course that played it safe, nor unsafe or intimidating. He called it “challenge by choice,” meaning Scouts of any skill level could find a high-adventure experience tailored just for them. That’s why Canady was manning the BMX course at the Shakedown, which served as a trial run for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. “We want to provide them with


the most exciting jamboree possible, but we don’t want to put them in harm’s way,” Canady explained, fixing his eyes on the next Scout biker’s pedals. “We want to mitigate the risk but escalate the excitement.” That philosophy will not only apply to the BMX course in 2013, but to every activity at the jamboree. Volunteers attending the Shakedown, scheduled to supervise the skate park, zip line, climbing wall, challenge course, canopy tour, and mountain- bike trails next summer, all said the same thing: Scouts at the Summit will get to choose their own adven- ture. And though each Scout will take a different path, his destination will be the same: an exciting, enriching, engaging experience a boy or girl can find only in Scouting.


IF JULY’S TRIAL RUN gave Shakedown participants a preview of the action in store for the 40,000 Scouts and Scouters who will descend on the Summit next summer, it also gave


 2012 ¿ SCOUTING 25


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