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Local volunteers and Boy Scouts spent Monday overlooking Bluefield as they worked on beautification projects atop East River Mountain.
A troop of Scouts based around Amarillo and the Texas panhandle spent the day at the East River Mountain Overlook in Bluefield mulching flowerbeds, repainting names on a commemorative wall, and pulling weeds at the site. Monday marked the fourth day of the 2013 Boys Scouts of America National Jamboree Day of Service Initiative.
Marc Meachum, executive director of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, said the project was sponsored by both the chamber and Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“This was a project we pitched to the Citizens Conservation Corps (CCC) six months ago,” Meachum said. “It was one of the first projects we proposed. We are excited to have the Scouts here helping out with the refurbishment of the overlook. Bill Archer will be giving them a talk about some of the local history as well.”
Rob Marr, a Scoutmaster with the troop, said most of the boys are between 13 and 17 years old and three have attained an Eagle Scout rank. Marr said he feels it is important for the scouts to give back even while at the jamboree.
“They are having a lot of fun even if it’s a lot soggier and wetter than we thought,” Marr said. “It’s great they are also getting to help out another community they are visiting. We always give time where we live. West Virginia has done so much to get the Summit ready for us — not just the folks at the Summit but the entire state — so we should be giving back. The boys are always volunteering at home, so it is nice for them to be going out in another community and giving back.”
Marr said the jamboree experience has been plenty of fun for the kids.
“It is a lot more green here than Texas, but it’s beautiful country,” Marr said. “The bow and arrow shooting range is popular. The Summit is so big it’s just impossible to do it all. The kids are just having a great time. This is the premier site for scouting and I expect it will bring a lot of tourism to this area as well.”
Christian Marr, 16, is the senior patrol leader for the group, and said the view makes up for the hilly landscape in West Virginia.
“The summer here is a lot different,” he said. “We are all higher up while at home everything is flat. At the Summit we have to walk everywhere and instead of walking on flat land we are always walking up hill or downhill. Of course, it’s a pretty view. It’s also a lot cooler up here on the mountains.”
Marr said he and the other Scouts feel it is important to give back to the area for putting the jamboree together.
“They have been preparing for this or at least thinking about it since 2007,” he said. “They put so much work and time into this for us. It’s nice to give back to the people who helped this happen for us. The jamboree is huge. There is so much to do and there is no way you can do it all in 10 days. We’ve gotten to meet scouts from all over the U.S. and even countries like Sweden, Afghanistan and China.”
While the Scouts were impressed with the jamboree, local volunteers said they were impressed with the work ethic of the Scouts. Betsey Sorrell, a local volunteer working at the overlook, said all the scouts she has worked with in the area have made a good impression on her.
“They are incredible, enthusiastic and courteous,” she said. “I hold them in such high esteem for their service. I have not heard a single whine, complaint or anyone say ‘I can’t’ the entire time I’ve worked with them. It’s very refreshing.”
Sorrell said the Scouts have exemplified the meaning of teamwork.
“They accomplish a lot in such a little time,” she said. “They show how great it is when people work together for a common goal. They work very hard, even when it is sunny, hot and sticky outside. We are very fortunate to be involved with them and to benefit from all of their labor.”
— Contact Kate Coil at firstname.lastname@example.org