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Boy Scouts to Bring World-Class Center of Scouting Excellence to West Virginia

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Boy Scouts to Bring World-Class Center of Scouting Excellence to West Virginia

Posted on 18 November 2009 by admin

New River GorgeIn a room filled with hundreds of supporters and local leaders, the Boy Scouts of America today unveiled its plans for a world-class, national center of scouting excellence in the New River Gorge region of West Virginia. The site will serve as a premier Scouting destination, offering a new high-adventure base and national leadership programs and will become the permanent home of the National Scout Jamboree.

The BSA’s selection of the 10,600-acre site near Beckley was chosen after an extensive, nationwide process that lasted more than 18 months aimed at finding the perfect location for realizing the vision of a national center of Scouting excellence. The development of the site is made possible by a $50 million gift, the largest in BSA history, from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

The new site, to be named “The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve,” will help the BSA fulfill its mission of serving America’s youth for another 100 years, providing character-building opportunities, a respect and appreciation for the outdoors, physical fitness, and leadership development. With its extensive and diverse program offerings, the site will become a pinnacle of the Scouting experience.

“Today is a great day for Scouting. Thanks to the generosity of the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the development of The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will be a source of fun, adventure, and discovery for hundreds of thousands of Scouts and leaders for generations to come,” said Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca. “As we prepare to enter another century of service, this announcement demonstrates that Scouting is as relevant and vital today as it was when our journey began.”

Area residents, Scouts, community leaders, and elected officials attended the unveiling celebration at the Glen Jean Armed Forces Reserve Center. Guests included Gov. Joe Manchin, D-WV; U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-WV; Superintendent of the New River Gorge National River Don Striker; Fayette County Commissioner Matt Wender; and Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr.

“I commend the Boy Scouts of America, Stephen Bechtel, and all of the supporters for working so diligently with our state and local officials to bring this project to fruition. This partnership will reap tremendous benefits for young people across the country and the Mountain State for many years to come. West Virginia is proud to be a part of this new chapter in Scouting history,” said Gov. Joe Manchin.

The vision to establish a permanent home for the National Scout Jamboree and a new high-adventure base evolved from an intensive, highly competitive site selection process that drew 80 proposals from 28 states. The New River Gorge Region in West Virginia was selected because of its outstanding natural beauty, its world-class high-adventure opportunities, and the availability of superior local infrastructure, including roads and public services. A nonprofit organization formed by the BSA, Arrow WV, recently signed the agreement to purchase the property, some of which is reclaimed mine land and is adjacent to more than 70,000 acres of National Park Service land.

“The story behind this project is one of true partnership,” said BSA National Executive Board member and project leader Jack Furst. “This new site would not be possible without the Bechtel family, the State of West Virginia, Fayette County, 4C Economic Development Authority, the National Park Service, and dozens of others who have played such an instrumental role in making today a reality.”

The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will complement the BSA’s existing three high-adventure bases in New Mexico, Minnesota, and Florida and help meet demand for new high-adventure activities not offered elsewhere. Annually, the BSA’s three existing high-adventure bases serve more than 50,000 youth – with 20,000 or more regularly wait-listed to attend.

The site, located in the Glen Jean – Mount Hope area, will offer unique opportunities for high-adventure whitewater rafting, technical rock climbing, mountain biking, and other extreme outdoor sports. The beautiful backdrop of the New River Gorge serves as a living outdoor classroom, offering activities that build leadership skills and the strong principles rooted in the Boy Scouts’ mission.

The New River Gorge property will require a large investment. The effort has already received a large boost with the announcement of the $50 million gift from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

“Scouting made a tremendous impact on my life,” said Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. “It’s the source of some of my fondest memories. I’m proud to be a founder on this project, and I’m thrilled to know that it will be a part of the Scouting legacy future generations will enjoy.”

Construction of the project will be based on the BSA’s long-standing commitment to “leave no trace.” Strict stewardship of the New River Gorge environment will be enforced throughout site development and reinforced daily when the property opens for use.

“In order to maintain the natural beauty of the New River Gorge, we rely heavily on the creation of strategic partnerships, such as the one we are developing with the Boy Scouts,” said Don Striker, superintendent of the New River Gorge National River. “Collaborative efforts like this are essential to carrying out the Park Service’s mission to protect our nation’s natural and cultural heritage.”

“Thanks to the vision of the Boy Scouts, the significant contributions by the Bechtel family, and the coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal partners along with dozens of other individuals and organizations, the development of the New River Gorge site represents a remarkable opportunity for our country’s youth and the State of West Virginia,” said Congressman Nick J. Rahall.

Detailed plans for the site will be finalized soon, with construction scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010. It is expected to take approximately three years to have the site ready for a full array of Scouting activities.

Serving nearly 4.1 million youth between the ages of 17 7 and 20 (updated 12:20 p.m. Nov. 18 EST), with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the BSA is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting movement is composed of 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the BSA to remain the nation’s leading youth-serving organization. For more information on the BSA, please visit www.scouting.org.

More information about 100 Years of Scouting can be found at www.scouting.org/100years.

Source: BSA Press Release

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National Board Approves Purchase of more than 10,000 acres

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National Board Approves Purchase of more than 10,000 acres

Posted on 14 October 2009 by Dan

New River Gorge BridgeChief Scout Executive, Robert Mazzuca, send out an email about the National Executive Board taking another step to set up a permanent home for the National Jamboree and a premier outdoor adventure Scouting site. He also mentions more information being available in November; this is in line with previous rumors of a November 16th announcement.

BSA Must Read: National Executive Board News

I am writing to share some exciting news. Today, our National Executive Board took another significant step toward establishing a permanent home for future national jamborees and creating another premier outdoor adventure Scouting site. The board approved the purchase of more than 10,000 acres of some of the most spectacular land you’ve ever seen. It’s located in the New River Gorge area of West Virginia-an area that offers some of the best rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking anywhere in the country. It is a perfect site for the full complement of activities we intend to offer at our new facility: extreme sports, leadership training, camping, high adventure-anything you can imagine doing in the great outdoors, and, of course, the national jamboree.

We still have a lot of work to do, but under Jack Furst’s tremendous leadership, we are well on our way toward going from vision to reality. As Jack said to board members, “We are only limited by our own creativity and ingenuity.” And as we know, with Jack at the helm, that means there are no limits to what we can accomplish through this effort.

Stay tuned for further details and a formal unveiling of our plans in November. Until then, my sincerest thanks to the team for its tireless efforts in bringing this exceptional opportunity to our Scouting family. It is, truly, one of the best investments we will make in serving Scouts for the next 100 years.

The picture is of the New River Gorge Bridge and is not of the property that is being purchased by the BSA…

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BSA to Pursue Negotiations to Establish National Scouting Center

Posted on 11 February 2009 by admin

As on outgrowth of an 18-month process aimed at establishing a permanent home for its iconic event, the national Scout jamboree, the Boy Scouts of America announced today that it will enter negotiations with sites in Virginia and West Virginia to explore the vision of a National Scouting Center. The National Scouting Center will comprise three major areas of focus: the permanent home for the national Scout jamboree, a new high-adventure base, and expanded opportunities for national leadership and outdoor skills training. The vision for a National Scouting Center evolved from an intensive, highly competitive site selection process that drew 80 proposals from 28 states.

The site selection process, referred to as Project Arrow, was overseen by a committee that narrowed submissions to three outstanding finalist proposals from Virginia, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Today, after serious and thorough consideration, the BSA’s National Executive Board took action to proceed with further investigation and negotiations with Virginia and West Virginia. Plans call for placement of the permanent home for the BSA’s national jamboree in Goshen, Rockbridge County, Virginia, and the new high-adventure base in Fayette and Raleigh counties, West Virginia.

“This new vision of a National Scouting Center represents an incredible opportunity for the BSA, our Scouts, and the nation. In its entirety, the center will offer a new American landmark-a multipurpose, year-round destination for Scouting activities that will become the epicenter for the best that Scouting has to offer,” said Jack D. Furst, chairman of the Project Arrow Committee and retired partner of the private equity firm HM Capital Partners. “It will be a dynamic place where people from all over this country and the world come together to share their common values, partake in America’s best leadership programs, and challenge themselves through rigorous outdoor activities.”

Furst noted that although an important step has been taken, there is still much work to be done. “We are moving from vision to reality, and there is still much process to go through.”

“Serving as the home for the Boy Scouts’ national Scout jamboree is a great honor for the commonwealth of Virginia,” said Patrick O. Gottschalk, Virginia secretary of commerce and trade. “We are committed to this process and know that we have a tremendous amount to offer in the long term to this time-honored celebration and the organizational goals of the Boy Scouts.”

Kelley Goes, cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, says her state is eager to continue progress with the BSA. “We appreciate the Boy Scouts’ recognition of what our land has to offer with its spectacular and diverse topography. There are opportunities to bring new adventure outlets to Scouts, and we look forward to continuing this discussion.”

Experiential learning activities, such as the ones offered at BSA high- adventure bases and the national jamboree, are a core element to fulfilling the BSA’s mission of serving America’s youth with character-building opportunities. Both the jamboree and high-adventure bases reflect the skills and values of Scouting — appreciation for the outdoors, physical fitness, environmental conservation, and understanding our national heritage.

Every four years, the BSA hosts a 10-day jamboree celebration that draws more than 240,000 Scouts, volunteers, vendors, and visitors. Annually, the BSA’s three existing high-adventure bases, Philmont, Northern Tier, and Florida Sea Base, serve more than 50,000 youth — with 20,000 more wait- listed. The new proposed adventure base would complement the existing three and help meet the demand for high-adventure activities with completely new programs not offered elsewhere.

Furst says the BSA extends its sincere thanks to the jamboree site finalist in Saline County, Arkansas. “We are so grateful to Governor Beebe and the officials of Arkansas for providing us such a compelling option, and showcasing their state’s great leadership. Their incredible site had many outstanding elements,” Furst said.

Among other criteria that were considered, potential jamboree sites were to:
* Have spectacular natural beauty
* Have water for recreational activities
* Be at least 5,000 acres and available for donation, long-term lease (100-plus years), or sale
* Be within 25 miles of an interstate or a four-lane divided highway
* Be within 150 miles of a commercial service airport with medium or large hub status
* Be in an area with adequate medical services
* Be accessible year-round via standard modes of transportation

The BSA partnered with McCallum Sweeney Consulting in Greenville, South Carolina, to aid in the search and evaluation process. During the more than 18-month site selection process, a three-phase, systematic review and assessment approach gave each proposal thorough consideration.

About the Boy Scouts of America
Serving more than 4.6 million youth between the ages of 7 and 20, with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the BSA is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The Scouting movement is composed of 1.2 million volunteers, whose dedication of time and resources has enabled the BSA to remain the nation’s leading youth-service organization. For more information on the BSA, please visit http://www.scouting.org.

More information about 100 Years of Scouting can be found at http://www.scouting.org/100years.

The following was a press release issued by the Boy Scouts of America.

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