For the first time, some of the 50,000 attendees at the Boy Scouts of America National Scout Jamboree will be girls.
This year's jamboree, which will be held at its new, permanent home in Fayette and Raleigh counties, will allow Venturers, as well as Scouts, leaders and staff, to take part in the activities at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.
The Boy Scouts of America's Venturing organization is a youth development program for boys and girls 14 through 20. Those 13 who have completed eighth grade also may join.
"This is the first year that the BSA has extended an invitation to attend the Jamboree to all members of the Venturing program ... The fastest growing program in the BSA, Venturing is designed to reach as many young adults - male and female - as possible," said Larry Pritchard, the National Jamboree director.
"While working to shape its members into well-rounded and responsible individuals and leaders, the program uses a theme of high adventure to create a learning environment based on individual preferences, making it a great addition to the Summit," Pritchard said.
The Venturing program is an option for girls interested in the Boy Scouts of America or for boys who want to remain involved after age 17 - when Boy Scouts generally must become adult leaders.
"It's also co-ed, so it gives an element of proper social atmosphere to interact with girls. In the Boy Scouts of America, there are no youth girl members, but there are in co-ed programs," said Jeff Purdy, the scout executive for the Buckskin Council in Charleston.
"The program is also used by a lot of churches for their youth program. They can use the outdoor element to add value to their youth programs.
"Also if a Boy Scout has become an Eagle Scout and conquered leadership roles and fulfilled those duties, Venturing can be a new adventure."