ADAMS — Local Venturing Crew scouts who attended the 2017 National Jamboree — with the Boy Scouts of America program at Summit Bechtel Reserve —got home late Friday evening with stories to share.
“The rock climbing was the best activity,” said crew member Nolan Shelmidine of Adams. Nolan was one of 15 local scouts, including two leaders, who made a two-week journey from the north country — along with 121 others from surrounding counties — to the hills of West Virginia.
“We went to Washington, D.C., for a few days and got to see the museums and eat at Medieval Times, which was awesome,” said crew member Jewel Montgomery of Adams.
Walking through D.C. helped to prepare the youths and adults for an unexpected challenge that awaited them.
“Once at Jamboree, we walked roughly 100 miles between July 19 and 28,” said crew advisor Shon Montgomery of Adams.
“It was a great experience, but we did a lot of walking in heat and humidity that we just could not prepare enough for up here,” said crew advisor Jeanina Boone of Watertown.
“What was worth it for me was the big zip,” said crew member Demetrius Boone of Watertown. “It was an exhilarating event. … It was a 3,200-foot zip-line that went over a lake and provided an amazing view.” He added, “it was a four-hour wait… . But worth it.”
The scouts worked on fund raising for nearly a year, and many also used personal finances, but they all agree the programming did not disappoint.
“Also of value with the whole experience was being able to see the president of the United States in person,” Demetrius said. “It was a nice surprise and I enjoyed the time he spent there… . I think it was an important memory regardless of where you stand in politics.”
President Trump’s controversial speech to the scouts at the Jamboree was widely criticized for containing political talk. Scouts and leaders had the option to attend, and many chose in advance to remain at their campsite.
“His speech was a little unexpected because politics don’t really belong in scouting… . But, it was still really interesting,” Nolan said.
Emily Haynes of Sackets Harbor also spoke of the president’s address during the event, saying, “I think it’s really cool to have the president of the United States talk to us live, in person … . He had some inspirational things to say, he could have left out the politics, but it was still a great experience.”
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson also paid a visit to the scouts. And the local scouts, along with the other Longhouse Council crew members — were partnered with the scouts who traveled to Jamboree from Korea.
Nicolas ‘Teo’ Luciani of the Venturing Crew said, “it was so neat to be with the international scouts, they were amazing and we learned so much… . I had an amazing time.”
“It took us a bit to work on the communication, but in the end we are all scouters and we were able to figure it out,” Nolan said. “It was an unforgettable experience.”
Along with high adventure activities like the rock climbing and zip-line, scouters were able to participate in scuba diving, white water rafting, biking, shooting, archery and many other sports. Also on hand were the branches of the military with acres available for each display which featured machinery and hands-on demonstrations. Many religious organizations and vendors had stations to visit.
The event began with a performance by the musical group, X Ambassadors, and then ended with a bang as the scouters were treated to a performance by national recording artists, Plain White T’s — who wrapped up their set with the popular song, “Hey There Delilah” — followed by an extravagant fireworks and laser light show.
Other local scouts in attendance were Matthew Liddiard of Lowville Troop 162, Alexander Klindt and Richard Neddo of Brownville Troop 2, Marcus Boone of Troop 496, Nicholas Montgomery of Venturing Crew 13, James Wheller and Ethan DeGraff of Adams Troop 37 and Dean Nutter of Carthage LDS Troop 34.