Steamboat teens get chance of a lifetime

Local Scouts set out for national jamboree

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— A dozen Steamboat Springs Boy Scouts will fly to New York today to take part in an 18-day adventure that includes the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree.

The National Jamboree is held once every four years at Fort A.P. Hill near Bowling Green, Va. The event runs from July 24 through Aug. 1, but the Steamboat Springs contingent will also tour sites on the East Coast in the days leading up to the Jamboree and the days following.

"The Jamboree is awesome," said David Truly, Scoutmaster for Troop 194 in Steamboat who is making his second trip to the Jamboree. He went to the 1996 event.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of these kids, because it happens only once every four years. It's a chance to see how huge Scouting is."

Truly said 40,000 Boy Scouts, all between the ages of 13 and 17, are expected to attend the Jamboree, including 72 from western Colorado. Scouts from Steamboat attending include Winston De Wardt, Eddie Rogers, Carter Dunham, Steve Denton, Keith Denton, Burt Ver Haar, Spencer Roos, T.J. Matteo, Lewis Cutter, Drew Ganyer, Dalton Reed and Paul Tuck. Truly and assistant Scoutmaster Bop Matteo will accompany the Scouts. The group drove to Denver Thursday night and will fly from Denver to New York today.

Also, five adults from Steamboat Carl Dunham, Teddy Weber, George Weber, David Reed and David Denton have already left for the Jamboree to work at the event. Among the jobs they will perform are plumbing, food service and ham radio instruction.

"Overnight, Fort A.P. Hill becomes the second largest city in Virginia," Truly said. "It's a city with its own hospital, security, food service and all the other things that might be needed. It's really a big operation."

The Scouts will camp outside on the fort grounds and prepare their own meals for the nine-day event. During the Jamboree, the Scouts will have lots of time for recreation, including kayaking, swimming, canoeing and windsurfing. They will also have the chance to work on and earn any of the 125 Boy Scout Merit Badges.

The Steamboat Scouts will also get to visit New York, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Norfolk and Washington, D.C. during their tours before and after the Jamboree.

The guided bus tour is provided by Lakeland Tours.

The Scouts have been raising money for the trip for the last 18 months. At a cost of $2,400 per Scout, the group raised more than $28,000.The cost is well worth the trip, Truly said.

"To be in the presence of 40,000 other Scouts with similar ideals and values is just a tremendous experience."

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