Safety top concern at Boy Scout Jamboree

By Matt Butner - bio | email

CAROLINE COUNTY, VA (WWBT) - The National Boy Scout Jamboree kicked off today at fort A.P. Hill. The expected hot weather heads a long list of safety concerns for organizers responsible for 35,000 scouts.

Day one is set-up day, with thousands of tents springing up across the grounds of fort A.P. Hill. With scouts, volunteers, and extra troops, the fort's population will swell by 45,000 over the next 10 days.

"By sundown tonight, all of these tents will be up and ready to rock and roll for a week," said Bob Dries, a spokesman for the Jamboree.

With so many gathered in one place, safety becomes a tall order. The last Jamboree, in 2005, was marred by tragedy- four scout leaders were killed when a tent pole came in contact with a power line.

"There's been a lot of thought, a lot of work to make this the safest Jamboree ever," said Dries

Heat exhaustion was another problem in 2005, affecting thousands of scouts. This year, each scout gets a set of safety cards, showing how much water to drink as the temperature rises.

Tristen Adams and his troop came all the way from Utah- a decidedly drier climate.

"I think it's going to be really hot up here, and humid- that's one of the things I don't like," said Adams

But Tristen has been well trained. When asked how to handle heat and humidity, he was quick to answer: "Wear sunscreen and drink lots of water."

This year's Jamboree coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. It will likely be the last time the event is held in Virginia- a new site in West Virginia is being eyed for 2013. Organizers want this Jamboree to be memorable for all the right reasons.

"(Scouts) will say something like, 'this was one of the best things I've ever done in my life- I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life'," said Dries.

Tristen Adams has a positive outlook for the days ahead.

"As long as I'm having fun with my friends, I won't really worry about the humidity and heat," he said.

The 2010 Jamboree wraps up next Wednesday.

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