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Heat wave strikes Jamboree

Editor’s Note: Chris Lenz, Farmington, is attending the 2005 National Scout Jamboree at Fort AP Hill, Virginia and has been designated a hometown correspondent.

By Chris Lenz


It is only the second day of the 2005 National Scout Jamboree at Fort AP Hill, Virginia and already the heat is affecting the Scouts. Temperatures on Monday and Tuesday were reported as record-setting highs at the event. Scouts donned cool clothing and put on lots of sunscreen, while the staff put out extra water and began the habit of spraying down people with hoses. Despite the heat and the saddening deaths reported on national news, everyone is managing to have fun.

All around the jamboree activities have been set up for the Scouts to enjoy. After completing a certain set of activities a rocker or piece of a patch is earned. Once a scout has earned them all, they adorn the official jamboree patch worn on the right shoulder.

On Tuesday, Life Scout John Libby, 15, a resident of Farmington, set out with me to see what we could do. Our first stop was the Air Rifle Range. We went through the safety course and began shooting at targets. We both did well and John was asked to post his target for display at the range.

Our next stop was the buckskin games. We were shown how to make 1700s lead bullets, did some rope work, and made fire from flint at steel. They were all enjoyable, but the fire making was my personal favorite. The rest of the day was spent watching a show called Twelve Cubed. It was fun, but loud. The last thing we saw before heading off to make dinner was a group of Army Leapfrog Paratroopers making a demonstration jump from a helicopter.

Wednesday arrived with unwelcome news. The heat index for the day was forecast to be 110 F. After eating a cold breakfast we set out for another round of activities. We did a Bikathlon and some BMX biking first. They were both extremely enjoyable, though it didn’t help that the bike I was riding was sized for someone a foot shorter than me.

I did some other fun activities, but my proudest achievement was the Rappelling Tower. I had never rappelled before in my life and was understandably nervous. I lowered myself gingerly down the ledge trying hard not to look down. I felt a momentary rush of panic as my feet slipped and I scrapped my knee against the tower. I was able to make a recovery, however, and I finished the event without further incident.

The President was scheduled to visit the Jamboree later in the evening, but with Scouts “dropping” left and right due to the heat, the event was canceled. Right now I’m in my tent listening to a rainstorm rip up my camp. At least it is supposed to cool down on Thursday.

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