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.