Local Boy Scout chosen as senior patrol leader

PARKERSBURG – The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared” and a Parkersburg teen is prepared to make a lot of memories at the upcoming National Scout Jamboree in Mount Hope.

Greg Thompson, 17, is one of a number of local youth who will be traveling to the new Boy Scout High Adventure Camp at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in southern West Virginia for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, being held July 15-24.

Everything fell into place for Thompson to be able to attend this Jamboree, having decided to pass on the last Jamboree. With a renewed commitment in place, he made it a goal to go to this Jamboree.

”I got more serious about this one and we decided to go ahead and do this one,” he said. ”I am excited.”

A national Jamboree is held every four years where Scouts, adult leaders and other converge for several days of fun, activities and more. Having been held at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., for a number of years, this will be the first Jamboree held at the new Summit facility. Activities for this Jamboree include camping, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, zip lines, shooting sports, a variety of outdoor activities and more. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the Jamboree, making the site one of the largest cities in West Virginia at the time, officials said.

Thompson, the son of Joel and Angie Thompson, is a member of Troop 17 of the South Parkersburg United Methodist Church in Parkersburg. He became an Eagle Scout in 2011 at the age of 15. He has 35 merit badges and is involved in the Order of the Arrow Honor Camping Society as well as the Kootaga Indian Dancers.

He was chosen as the senior patrol leader for one of the two special troops going to the Jamboree from Allohak Council, Troop B423. The Allohak Council serves more than 3,000 youth in 15 counties in central West Virginia as well as Washington and Athens counties of Ohio. Each council makes up one or more troops at the Jamboree with the boys, dividing out into patrols, electing its own youth leadership and so on, just like a regular troop does.

Troop B423 is made up of 36 Scouts from the western part of the council. Troop C421 is made up of Scouts from the eastern part of the council with a few from the local area going with them to even out the numbers between the two troops. A number of local people involved in the Venturing Program are forming a patrol and will be placed in camp groups with other such patrols.

Since the Scouts come from a variety of troops around the region, they had regular meetings and a practice weekend camping trip recently to learn how to work together, Thompson said.

”That way they are not complete strangers when they got to the Jamboree,” he said.

Thompson, as well as many of the Scouts going to the Jamboree, are looking forward to being involved in a number of the outdoor activities, including the whitewater rafting, mountain biking, mountain climbing and more.

”I have heard the zip lines are pretty cool, especially one that goes from one mountainside to another,” he said. ”I think it is 3,000 feet for one of the lines.

”I am looking forward to riding one of those.

Thompson and the other Scouts want to get in as much as they are able to do.

”Anything you want to do is pretty much out there,” he said.

Scouts will have the opportunity to work on a variety of merit badges. Thompson is not sure what he will try for, but said he is sure he will find something.

As a senior patrol leader, Thompson will be responsible for making sure various duties are done as part of a normal campsite. He will also have to make sure the troop works safely and are aware of any information the Scouts need to be aware of.

”I am going to make sure that everything is going the way it is suppose to be,” he said.

Following the Jamboree, the Summit is expected to attract thousands of people every year. The Boy Scouts operate four such high adventure facilities nationwide.

Thompson said the facility will provide opportunities for Scouts throughout the region to be able to have unique outdoor experiences without a high travel expense to get to the facility.

”This will be more accessible for many to take the trip,” Thompson said.

Thompson believe going to the Jamboree will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for everyone going.

”It will be something we will never forget,” he said. ”It will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives and look back at how much fun they had.”

Troop B423 is scheduled to depart from the First Presbyterian Church on Juliana Street around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Troop C421 will be leaving from Clarksburg on the same day.