Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 18, 2013

National jamboree — Scouts visit should spur growth

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— In a little less than a month hundreds of Boy Scouts will help complete about 49 community service projects in Mercer and McDowell counties. It’s all a part of the National Scout Jamboree at the new Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County.

The arrival of the Boy Scouts is a win-win for the entire region.

First, the Boy Scouts will be helping to complete a number of important community service projects across the region. Secondly, the thousands of youngsters, along with their parents and relatives, will be needing places to eat, sleep and shop while in the region. And there simply are not enough hotels and motels in Fayette County alone to accommodate 40,000 Boy Scouts and their parents.

That means many hotels and motels along the Interstate 77 corridor in Mercer County will also be packed to capacity during the national jamboree, which gets underway July 17 and continues through July 23. Area restaurants, convenience stations, department stores and malls can also expect to see a big increase in traffic thanks to the national jamboree.

The actual community service projects will range from brush removal and cleaning trails to landscaping and building animal shelter kennels. Many of the community service projects in Mercer County will be focused on school-improvement efforts.

“Mercer County Schools really stepped up and requested a lot of projects to enhance their individual schools,” Jeff Disibbio, Mercer County champion for the Boy Scouts, said.

The Scouts will do landscaping work and other tasks at the Mercer County Technical Education Center, Sun Valley Elementary, Athens Elementary, Brushfork Elementary, Whitethorn Elementary, PikeView High School, PikeView Middle School, Ceres School and other local schools. In Sun Valley, the Scouts will help the Sun Valley Ruritan Club clean up the local community center’s parking lot and reseal the lot’s asphalt.

Scouts will also work in the town of Athens, assist the Bluewell Improvement Council, Bramwell Presbyterian Church, the town of Bramwell, and even build dog houses for the Prayers and Paws organization. The local United States Forestry Service plans to have the scouts help clean trails and work on benches. In Bramwell, the youngsters will have four projects: the restoration of an iron fence, brush removal, installing signs and cleaning headstones in a cemetery. They will also help to restore a historic cabin in Glenwood, assemble playground equipment for the Princeton Salvation Army and a build a brick wall at the East River Mountain Overlook in Bluefield.

Another 18 community service projects will be completed in McDowell County, including a cemetery clean-up project, cleaning out dugouts, bleachers and scoreboards at a baseball field and clearing brush, installing outdoor kennels at the McDowell County Animal Shelter, and pouring concrete at the Anawalt Lake and Recreation Area.

This is great news for all of the communities that will benefit from the arrival of the Scouts. This is shaping up to be one of the largest community service initiatives in the history of our region.

The arrival of the Boy Scouts should bring positive economic growth and the completion of many worthwhile community projects across southern West Virginia.