GLEN JEAN, WV – With West Virginia welcoming tens of thousands of scouts from across the entire world this week for the 24th World Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, several State agencies are on-hand to assist in the operation of the two-week-long event.
This year’s World Scout Jamboree, which officially began on Monday, July 22 and will run through Friday, Aug. 2, marks the first time in more than 50 years that the event will be held in the United States. It is being tri-hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
With attendance reaching approximately 44,000 scouts, the Summit Bechtel Reserve temporarily has a population larger than all but two West Virginia cities and larger than 42 of the state’s 55 counties. As such, extensive planning on a state level has been underway for months leading up to the Jamboree.
The Tourism Office has been working to serve as the official welcome committee for scouts traveling to the Jamboree, with a goal of encouraging return visitation and the extension of group stays while visiting West Virginia.
The office has also been working for months in coordination with leadership at the World Scout Jamboree to prepare itineraries, handouts and email content that explains all there is to see and do in West Virginia.
Throughout the Jamboree, staff will be stationed at Yeager Airport to personally greet and assist attendees as they come and go. Staff will also have a welcome station set up at the entrance of the Ruby Welcome Center to greet scouts as they arrive and assist with travel plans and day trips.
Staff have prepared interactive experiences as well, including custom social media filters set up throughout the site that feature six different West Virginia destinations with signage that shares more information about each destination and encourages folks to share on social media using the hashtag #AlmostHeaven.
At the request of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, more than 1,200 military members, from all branches of service, as authorized by Congress, are providing critical support for the lead up and duration of the Jamboree.
More than 700 National Guard troops from West Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Texas will support the event under the command of Brig. Gen. Christopher “Mookie” Walker of the West Virginia Air National Guard. Active duty members provided by the U.S. Northern Command as well as members of the U.S. Coast Guard are also on hand to assist.
These service members are providing logistics, security, aviation, air traffic control, weather detachment, transportation, limited medical, search and rescue, communications, and public affairs support to all of the Jamboree attendees.
DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Meanwhile, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is serving as the primary liaison between the World Scout Jamboree/Boy Scouts of America entities, and other entities involved in the event.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN RESOURCES
The DHHR has established a health command structure to support and coordinate any health or medical issues or resource requests, including a communication plan to include response for mass care or for a mass casualty.
Additionally, the DHHR has established and is staffing a Family Assistance Center in the event of a mass care or mass fatality response and coordinate local behavioral health teams to be on stand-by.
Officials have been providing inspections to x-ray facilities on-site, while also assuring that the Jamboree staff has been educated on proper specimen collection, packaging and shipping, and the conditions for transport should the need for dry ice or refrigeration arise.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
The DOT is providing support for all transportation-related issues during the event, with a particular focus on the first and last days of the Jamboree, as buses with scouts and other attendees move around the state.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
The DEP is prepared to work alongside the United States EPA on any water and air quality issues that may arise, while also serving as the state agency dealing with waste water and/or hazardous materials issues on site.
The West Virginia State Police are serving as the lead state law enforcement agency for the event. They would be in charge at the state level in the event of a terrorist incident. State Police are also providing traffic control, security, and would work with scouting entities on any criminal issues. The Crimes Against Children Unit also is involved and would work any issues under their purview.
STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is responsible for enforcement of all life safety code and construction issues on site, also providing law enforcement support if needed. The SFMO has inspectors, who normally work at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, on site during the event to ensure the occupancy and life safety guidelines are followed. They would coordinate with any external fire departments in the event that fire service is required.
DIVISION OF FORESTRY
This office is on hand to provide logistical support manpower, and fire suppression support if needed.
DIVISION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
DNR Police are at the event to provide additional law enforcement support to State Police, while also being able to provide water rescue operations if need be.
DEPARTMENT OF ARTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
The Department of Arts, Culture and History is on hand to provide educational content about West Virginia and the state’s history, with a goal of driving interest in the area to all event attendees to spur interest worldwide.
Staff from the Development Office is on hand at the Jamboree to speak with attendees about business opportunities in West Virginia, also sponsoring an evening reception during the event.
The Governor’s Office role is to coordinate communications across any and all state agencies present at the event and to operate as a liaison between Gov. Justice and any agency or agency officials as necessary. In the event a State of Emergency, or if any other authorization from the Governor is needed, the Governor’s Office will provide that coordination and any related support.