Pictured: two Boy Scout troupes from the Iroquois Trail Council (ITS), which covers Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston, Orleans and Niagara counties.
This band of 36 youths -- ages 13 to 17 -- are going to Fort A.P. Hill, Va., for the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree, which takes place from July 26 until Aug. 4. Fort (Ambrose Powell) Hill, named after a Confederate general, is an active-duty Army installation near the town of Bowling Green.
The Jamboree normally takes place every four years; this time, however, there was a five-year interim so it would coincide with the 100th anniversary celebration of Boy Scouts of America.
The boys will be accompanied by two adult Scoutmasters -- Guye Smith, of Lima, and Jim Yencer, of Avon, and two youth assistant Scoutmasters (one of whom is from Alexander), making a total of 40 area scouts attending this national event.
Planning for this trip started about two years ago, according to Smith. Since then, the boys have worked very hard to raise money in order to cover the cost.
"Some of them raised every penny (that they needed to pay their individual fares)," Smith said. "That's part of the scout way -- to pay your own way."
The ITS scouts raised money by doing two bike-a-thons, one in July 2009 and the other in October 2009.
The boys biked all the way from Lockport to Brockport -- with an overnight stay in Albion for the first one -- and then from Holley to Macedon all in one day for the second.
The troupes are leaving by bus today. Yencer said they will spend Saturday in Philadelphia, then take the U.S.S. New Jersey (a retired navy vessel) to Aberdeen, Md., to visit the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum on Sunday morning. From there, they proceed to Fort A.P. Hill.
While attending the Jamboree, the boys will be treated to a wide variety of activities such as air-rifle shooting, scuba diving, canoeing, archery and a 5K run; there will also be a musical group performing at the "arena show" (which will be broadcast online) on Saturday, July 31, and if tradition is kept, they may also get a visit from President Barack Obama.
Not only is this Jamboree historic because it is being held during the scouts' centennial, it is also the last one to be held in Fort A.P. Hill (where it has taken place since 1981).
For more information on the Jamboree, please visit www.bsajamboree.org.
For more information on the ITC, visit www.itcbsa.org/Joomla/index.php.
Photo courtesy of Jim Yencer