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Local scouts headed to national jamboree

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

The National Scout Jamboree is held about every four years for the Boy Scouts of America, and this year, seven members of Troop 136 have been chosen to participate, according to Mari Sweat, unit commissioner and fund-raising chairperson for Troop 136 in Jonesboro.

Bubba Boyd, 15, Mark Cline, 16, Will Uphouse, 14, Andrew McIntyre, 15, Brian Wallace, 15, Zach Reese, 15, and Nash Woodlief, 15, will be attending the jamboree, from July 21, to Aug. 4, in Fort A.P. Hill, Va., said Sweat.

The seven boys were the only ones chosen from the Tara District of the Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Sweat said. The district lies within Clayton County.

"They are all Life Scouts, which is one rank away from getting an Eagle," said Sweat. Eagle Scout is the highest level a Boy Scout can achieve.

Tom Morin, a contingent leader for the National Scout Jamboree for the Atlanta Area Council Boy Scouts of America, said about 50,000 youngsters are part of the Atlanta Area Council, and only 208 of them are attending the prestigious event, which is open to boys, ages 12 to 17.

The boys attending the event had to complete an application, be referred by their Scout Master and attend an interview, according to Morin.

Sweat said officials asked the boys a variety of questions, including their intent, and motive, for attending the jamboree.

"The interview process was set up with leaders from councils," added Sweat.

Morin said the boys will be able to meet scouts from different parts of the United States, and different countries, at the jamboree.

"A contingent of scouts from Saudi Arabia will be staying with us [Atlanta Area Council] in the jamboree," he said.

Boy Scout Nash Woodlief said he is curious to see how scouts of different states conduct themselves in activities, and camp-outs, at the event.

"I will bring good things back to my troop, so that I can help my troop to be better," said Woodlief, of the skills he will learn from other scouts, during the event. "I will bring back new skills, new knowledge to my troop, that we can use on camp-outs, and become more experienced overall in all fields of scouting."

Morin said those at the jamboree will participate in an array of activities, including shooting sports, repelling, and operating flight simulators.

"They basically have a giant workshop set up, and you go to whatever thing you want to do," added 15-year-old Woodlief.

The jamboree has been celebrated by Boy Scouts of America since 1937. Its goal is to bring scouts together in fellowship and games, according to Morin. This year, scouts will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, he said.

The jamboree has taken place at Fort A.P. Hill, since 1981, and this will be the last year the event will be there, added Morin.

The Boy Scouts of America have acquired 80,000 acres of land for the event's permanent site in West Virginia, near New River, and it will be ready for the next jamboree event, he said.

Will Uphouse, a Boy Scout in Troop 136, said his father, and older brother, have attended the jamboree, and he is ecstatic about going this year.

"I am happy to go," said 14-year-old Uphouse. "I don't know how to fathom it, yet ... I am really excited for it."