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them a useful list of what problems could arise at the jamboree and solu- tions to those problems that could improve their experience. On arrival day, some 2,000

attendees became the first troops to have their boots on the ground at the site. But not before Mother Nature threw them a curveball. Prior to dawn, charter buses pulled into Crossroads Mall in Mount Hope, W.Va., where unrelenting overnight rain filled the mall parking lot with puddles. The rain’s real damage, though, took place five miles away. The Summit’s dirt-road entrance was now a mud pit, forcing the big charter buses to stay put. Troops and crews transferred their

belongings onto smaller, more-agile school buses while road crews at the Summit laid down fresh gravel for traction. Finally, three-and-a-half hours after the first buses were due on site, the Scouts rolled in. After the unexpected speed bump, none of the Scouts—and only a few of the adults—complained.

Great Lakes Council Scouter Mark

Fobare wasn’t one of them. Fobare was all smiles 30 minutes into the Shakedown as his troop pitched blue- dome tents with orange rain flies. “Just coming through the front, it’s so much prettier than A.P. Hill,” he said, comparing the Summit to the Virginia military base that hosted every jambo- ree from 1981 to 2010. He nodded to the rolling mountains surrounding the campsite. “That was just so flat. Here we’ve got trees, you know?” And the rain? “You know what?” Fobare said. “It’s Scouting.”

RAIN OR SHINE, Scouts crave adven- ture, which is why skateboarding will play a role in the 2013 jamboree experience. But if you have trouble picturing a teenage Scout as a teenage skateboarder, you won’t for long—if Tim Birt has his way. “Scouts are action-oriented kids,”

said the 51-year-old Scouter from the Columbus, Ga.-based Chattahoochee Council. “Embracing the things that kids do today keeps Scouting fresh.

But also it teaches a lot of boys some- thing they’ve never done before.” Birt and several other adults have

domain over the activity making its jamboree debut next year. Just like Canady’s BMX course, this event requires Scouts to pass a skills test to demonstrate that they’re comfortable starting, turning, and stopping on those four polyurethane wheels. If they pass the test, they get access

to the half-pipe, grind rails, and the kind of ramps you’d expect from a skate park designed by one of the minds behind the X-Games. But Scouts stepping onto a board for the first time won’t be rolled to the more-extreme park and left to fend for themselves. They’ll sharpen their skills first with laps on a flat oval track, just like you’d see at a roller rink. “We’re not going to put a beginner

on a course where he’s gonna end up upside-down,” Birt said. “That’s just not going to happen because we want to be safe. But the reality is, we want kids to have high adventure. It’s the Summit. It’s the top. It’s the ultimate experience.” The ultimate, perhaps, but not the

only game in town. Birt knows other activities beckon. If the BSA wants to compete, it must ensure that today’s Scouts go faster and higher than any Scout before. Teens will skateboard one way or another, Birt said, so why not let them do it with their troop or crew where they’ll get a dose of Scouting values along with the adrena- line? That’s something not found at a local skate park. That’s helping Scouts become “Prepared. For Life.”

Even at 51 years old and with an artifical leg, Tim Birt, a Scouter from the Columbus, Ga.-based Chattahoochee Council, floats around the Summit’s skate park with ease. This makes Scouts stop and take notice, and when they do, Birt shares skating tips on proper weight distribution, turning, and jumping. He talks safety, too, including the impor- tance of selecting the right equipment. Speaking of, Summit staff used the Shakedown to identify a need for wristguards when skateboarding. You’ll see them in full use at the 2013 event.


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