The Order of the Arrow (OA) Summit Corps project being conducted in partnership with the National Park Service, is possible because of the outstanding support of the West Virginia National Guard. According to Captain Jamie Bowen, of the Glen Jean Armory, “The Armory serves as the Incident Command Center for the project, where classrooms utilized by the military have been temporarily converted to office space for volunteer staff overseeing the operations, logistics, plans, and finance for the project.”
As the base of operations for nearly 1400 SummitCorps participants ages 14 – 21 and adult volunteer staff from across the country. The Glen Jean Armory is currently home to hundreds of tents that now cover a field the size of two football fields that was cleared by Soldiers and Armory employees over a period of two weeks.
Soldiers leveled the ground and hauled and packed gravel to make a transportation route for tents, portable toilets and showers near their camps. Soldiers also constructed an amphitheatre that stands near the tent city, for evening programs for the Arrowmen including the opening and closing ceremonies and a Wednesday night campfire. Perhaps equally as important to the young people, after a full day of building trails and removing invasive plants the Scouts return to the Armory, to enjoy a welcoming hot meal in the dining hall.
“This project lays the groundwork for a future of working hand in hand with the Boy Scouts of America on the jamborees and other projects. SummitCorps 2011 is the start of a strong and long lasting relationship between the BSA and the National Guard,” said Captain Bowen. Over the last year, Captain Bowen participated in multiple meetings and hosted three on-site meetings leading up to SummitCorps 2011.
Now in its third week, SummitCorps 2011 is operating safely and successfully for all participants and partners, in large part because the West Virginia National Guard has made every participant and partner feel welcome at the Glen Jean Armory. Mark Ishizu of Honolulu, HI and Youth Incident Commander for Week 3 shares his gratitude toward the Soldiers: “The Service they provide to our country goes beyond military deployments, but also impacts the younger generation. The fact that they are hosting us for this project is a perfect example of this impact.”