It took three years and a lot of fundraising, but a half-dozen Boy Scouts from Troop 1492 in Sequim made their dream a reality this summer, joining hundreds of other Scouts at the national jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia.
Held July 27-Aug. 3, the national jamboree saw about 44,000 Scouts and Scout leaders flood the Bowling Green, Va., area for a particularly special jamboree, as the Boy Scouts celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The Sequim contingent, including Scouts Eli Berg, Will Bittner, Mikey Cobb, Joe Durning, Trenton Mason and Josh McConnaughey, started planning for the jamboree in the summer of 2007, when they were part of Cub Scout Troop 4490.
Originally a group of 10, the Scouts chartered Troop 1492 and started collecting the $3,500 per Scout needed to make the trip. Over the years, the troop lost and gained members, but by the summer of 2010, the six remaining original Scouts maintained a desire to attend the national jamboree.
Scouts sold flags and popcorn, did car washes, sold water at the Irrigation Festival parade, held pancake breakfasts, and carved and sold about 75 hiking sticks.
With funding still in doubt, Bryan Gunnerson, a Sequim resident and Eagle Scout, offered a substantial donation for the purchase of gear, and when funding for the jamboree looked beyond the Scouts' reach, he offered to make up the difference.
"No Bryan, no jamboree," says Scout leader Michael Cobb.
Sequim's Troop 1492 was one of six troops from the Seattle area to attend the jamboree.
The trip consisted of a tour from July 21-26, covering sites in Philadelphia, Pa.; Washington, D.C.; Mount Vernon, Gettysburg and Arlington National Cemetery, all in Virginia; plus a day trip to Kings Dominion amusement park in Richmond, Va.
Once at the Scout jamboree, Scouts found activities included a wide variety of challenging tests of skill, endurance and just plain fun. There were four action centers spread across thousands of acres, each with a climbing wall, air rifle range, BMX course, an archery range, a bike-athalon (combining BMX racing with target shooting stations), a confidence course, buckskin games and a trap shooting range.
In addition, unique events were sprinkled around the site such as mountain boarding, black powder rifle shooting, tomahawk tossing, a scuba and snorkeling pool, an Armed Forces area and a radio station broadcasting internationally where a Scout could be a guest disc jockey for 15 minutes.
Beyond the nonstop activities, the jamboree provided advancement opportunities for Scouts by offering 95 of the 120 merit badges described in the Boy Scout handbook. Badges included Dentistry, Disabilities Awareness, Coin Collecting, Space Exploration, Geocaching, Railroading, Pioneering, Crime Prevention and Archery. Sequim's troop came home with 78 merit badges.
On the way home, a main point of discussion was planning to attend the 2013 Scouts jamboree at the soon-to-be-completed permanent site called the Bechtel Summit in West Virginia.
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