ARLINGTON — More than 50 volunteers on their way to the National Scout Jamboree in Fayette County made Upshur County their home for a day of community service.
Hudson Valley Council Troop 1245 and crew 5243C from New York completed several projects around the county.
Brian Colton, assistant troop leader, said there were 36 Boy Scouts and four leaders along with nine co-ed members and two leaders form the crew 5243C.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for a lot of our boys,” he said, noting the Jamboree happens once every four years. This is the second time for the Jamboree to be held in West Virginia following the completion of The Summit Bechtel Reserve.
A few are here for the second time but the majority are experiencing their second Jamboree.
Colton said one of the missions of Boy Scouts is to teach the Scouts to make ethical choices and community service is one of those.
John Tyrie, a patrol leader, has been involved in Scouting since he was 5 years old and in Boy Scouts since he aged out of Cub Scouts at 11.
He experienced the Jamboree in 2013.
“It was a lot of fun and that’s why I’m back,” he said. “I’m looking forward to experiencing the Jamboree now as an older Scout.”
Tyrie said he thought it was great to do the community service en route to the Jamboree. Troop 1245 does road clean ups and other projects including recently manning a station for the MS Bikeathon in their area.
Tyrie is also working on his Eagle Scout rank and plans to install a flag pole at his parish, something he has already started fundraising for.
Patty Zollinger, crew advisor for 5243C, said crews are made up of youth from ages 14-21 and can be co-ed if they choose like her group.
“We will be going down to the Jamboree and meet up with other units to make up a crew of 40 just like the Boy Scouts are troops of 40 down at the Jamboree,” he said.
“One of the things we do is community service with some of the Boy Scouts,” she said. “Some crews focus on certain aspects of high adventure or outdoor activities,” she said.
“We are sort of a generalist crew. We do camping, hiking and activities like that.”
Hudson Valley Council includes the suburbs east of New York City and above New Jersey and affords them access to state parks and a local camp.
The other half of Scouts and crew members were doing a list of projects at the Hampton boat ramp.
Troop 1245 Scoutmaster Mark Curran said the group was mulching, staining a fence and clearing weeds around the boat ramp.
The projects fit in with the three main tenets of Scouting: character, citizenship and fitness, he added.
Curran, who lived in Louisville, Ky. for a time, visited West Virginia often and also came to the 2013 Jamboree.
He said he is happy to be back in West Virginia.
The Scouts worked hard to raise money for the trip from car washes to popcorn sales and other community service projects, he added.
Buck Edwards organized the Scouting community service projects in the county.
The Upshur County Commission was contacted a year ago about participating in this project, so the commission contacted me to see if I would organize it,” he said.
“I had a year to organize this. I went to the board of education and secured the high school for the students to stay in and arranged for the Arlington Community Center, JAWS BBQ! and Chapel Hill to feed the kids, arranged the projects and secured the materials.
“To me, it’s a great project since these kids are coming to West Virginia anyhow to get these kids out in the community and giving back,” he said. “We have a visitors packet and we hope someday they will come back to Upshur County on vacation or stop if passing through the state again.”
After lunch, the volunteers were making their way to the trails at the Upshur County Recreational Park to continue trail maintenance.
Then, they were in for some fun.
“We are doing a barbecue for them at the wildlife center this evening and then we have a pool party for them at the high school after that,” he said.
Chapel Hill UMC was to provide breakfast today before they continue to the National Jamboree.
At Arlington Community Center where the group had breakfast and lunch, a group completed two service projects.
At the community center, the work consisted of stacking limbs, picking up trash and clearing access to the river behind the center.
Next door at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, some landscaping and sod work was completed quickly with many hands making light work.
Joyce Haymond, with the ACC and the church, said both were very appreciative of the help.
They planned to provide the meals regardless of any community service but learned they would be the recipients of some service projects as well.
Haymond said she made a few phone calls and “within two hours, I had most of the food donated.”
Donations for breakfast came from McDonald’s, Arlington Mini Mart, Country Griddle, Gaines Diner and the Rock Cave IGA.
Mountain CAP of West Virginia also donated milk and was providing lunch.
“Everything we used was donated,” she said. “Everyone volunteered to help, or if they couldn’t be here, they donated money.”
The improvements the volunteers are doing will help add to what is already going on with new playground equipment and regular Friday night music.
Haymond said the music nights were started as a way to raise funds for other needed projects at the center such as new flooring.
Kitchen renovations and a small stage for the music have already been done.