The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 15, 2013

Local Boy Scouts head out to National Jamboree

By Bill Foley
The Daily Item

— NORTHUMBERLAND — Among the 50,000 Boy Scouts from every state and several countries who will whitewater raft, zipline and mountain-climb beginning Monday at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree are three dozen 12- to 17-year-olds from the Valley’s Susquehanna Council.

The 10-day crush of Boy Scouts will be the first at the new permanent home of the national jamboree, the 10,000-acre high adventure-themed Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

The physical and mental challenges awaiting them excite Boy Scouts from the Valley.

“I’m looking forward to all the high-adventure stuff, rock climbing, ziplines, the high-rope course and whitewater rafting,” said Tristan Brosious, a 17-year-old Life Scout, senior at Shikellamy and member of Troop 342, Northumberland.

Added fellow troop member Adam Leister, 17, a Shikellamy High senior and Eagle Scout: “I’m looking forward to the whitewater rafting. It’s in New River Gorge, and that’s a big thing. I’ve (whitewater rafted) before, but never in West Virginia. This will be a new experience for me.”

Encountering new challenges head-on is among Boy Scouts’ attributes, said Rick Divers, Scoutmaster of Troop 622, Turbotville, the leader of the Susquehanna Council group that will leave for Mount Hope, W.Va., at midnight Sunday.

“The Boy Scouts have so many different systems in place that lead to success, with the end goal they can accomplish what they set out to do,” Divers said. “I think the biggest obstacle for boys is insecurity. We give them the opportunity to measure themselves against themselves.”

Thirty-one of the 36 Susquehanna Council Boy Scouts will be attending their first national jamboree, Divers said. That includes Kyle Ehmann, of West Milton.

“I can’t wait to see all the various troops,” said Ehmann, 16, a Life Scout in Troop 513 in Winfield, and junior at Lewisburg Area High.

“There’s going to be a large number of people from everywhere. I am interested in seeing how different people from different cultures work, how different troops function in different areas.”

Scouting, he says, has changed his life.

“It has given me a sense of leadership and understanding of how managers work and have to do their jobs by organizing people and their activities,” Ehmann said. “Prior to Scouting, I would not have known that.”

Wesley Bowers, of Turbotville, a 15-year-old Eagle Scout from Troop 622 in Turbotville and a sophomore at Warrior Run, has applied the leadership skills he has learned to help others.

“Sometimes in school, when someone doesn’t know how to do things, like in math, I can go through the EDGE method, explaining, demonstrating, guiding and enabling.”

Someone may have to show him how to zipline next week.

“I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “I haven’t done it. I won’t chicken out.”

Each Boy Scout from the Susquehanna Council will pay $1,450 to attend the jamboree.

“They did fundraisers to help cover the cost,” Divers said. “We want the boys to earn their own way.”

They’ll sleep in tents, cook their own food on camp stoves and knock off high-adventure obstacles, one by one.

“What I tell people all the time,” Diver said, “is that Scouting builds character one boy at a time. We see that on a regular basis. You take a boy on a hike, on a course, and some may want to give up, quit. We believe in them until they believe in themselves. And that becomes a bridge for the next obstacle they face in life.”