National Jamboree

During the National Jamboree, the Summit Bechtel Reserve is the densest town in the USA hosting more than 35,000 scouts and volunteers. The reserve boasts not 1, not 2, but 5 parallel zip lines spanning 3/4 mile. Riders can reach 50 mph. Scared of heights? Then spend a day white-water rafting in the class-V rapids of the New River.

We are scouts – We have to visit the 2017 National Jamboree for the day and Live Scouting’s Adventure.

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Our trip started early Friday morning from Bethesda, Maryland. The ride consisted of sleeping, rest stops, and staring outside the window of our vehicles. Once we passed the Washington DC suburbs, the skyline opened to green pastures and gentle rolling hills of the Appalachian.

Rolling hills – Photo by Phong Huynh

We finally arrived to our new home for the weekend at Quality Inn in Beckley, WV. The amenity of a small-town hotel is not comparable to that of a big city. However, the hospitality warmed our hearts, the cookies filled our tummies and the pool is a welcoming relief in sweltering east-coast heat.

The pool – Photo by Phong Huynh


We arrived at J.W. and Hazel Ruby Welcome Center around 9:30am. This is the staging area to shuttle all participants to The Summit. Already, the temperature was creeping toward the high 80s. The helpful staff directed us to the proper lines to get our badges, go through security, and get onto our buses.

Getting badges – Photo by Phong Huynh

There was a line of tour buses snaking through the parking lot waiting to receive the visitors. The bus ride from the visitor center to The Summit was about 20 minutes. We didn’t mind the long ride in a cool bus.

Photo by Phong Huynh

Finally, we arrived at The Summit. Looking around, we saw the scouts either wearing their class A or class B uniforms. For the moment, we felt a part of the team already. The sun was beating down on us but we were all excited to see what The Summit had to offer.

Photo by Phong Huynh

There were many booths at The Summit. Here at the Sea Scouts booth, we learned about pollution, life vests, and what sea scouts do. This group of Sea Scouts hailed from Houston, TX.

Photo by Phong Huynh

Climbing can be a challenge on a hot day like today.

The long lines did not stop some scouts trying the BMX racing.

BMX Racing

Toward noon, we met with a few LD Potomac and area HDVN Crew members who called The Summit home for the past few days. They were glazed in sweat and a layer of sunblock. No surprise! Just a matter of a few days, the sun had turn their skin shades darker. We, on the other hand, were green with envy as they had a great time at The Summit living scouting’s adventures.

Photo by Phong Huynh

The Sustainability Treehouse is a 5-story showcase of green living. It has both solar panel as well has wind turbine. There are many interactive exhibits teaching us about our intertwined environments.

Tree house

Toward the late afternoon, we attended the Opening Show. The outdoor stage and the surrounding areas are alive with a sea of scouts and visitors. The scorching heat of the afternoon receded as the cool mountain breeze pillowed over the landscape.

Show headliners:

  • Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive
  • Charles W. Dahlquist, National Commissioner
  • Inky Johnson, Former NFL Player
  • The X Ambassadors


Inky Johnson


We left Quality Inn early to get to our next adventure – The Green Bank Telescope. The observatory sits in the National Radio Quiet Zone. Which means you will not be able to listen to your FM radio nor have cell service. Also, no wi-fi. Gasp!


Photo by Phong Huynh

Finally, another photo opportunity at the first radio telescope in the area. This telescope not operating and only a museum piece.


Photo by Phong Huynh

We went home