Scouts recount adventures from travels and Jamboree

Published 11:19 am Friday, August 11, 2017

by John Howell

The July trip that took five members of Batesville Boy Scout Troop 478 to the National Jamboree in West Virginia last month was the culmination of travels and adventures that covered over 4,700 miles during the last two years. The Scouts and their leaders have participated in traditional Scout camps like Kia Kima in Arkansas and Camp Comer in Alabama. They have been on a fun camping trip to the White River, also in Arkansas; they have competed with other troops in tests of outdoor skill at Camp Currier at Eudora — the list is lengthy
and was shared with members of the Batesville Exchange Club last week as leaders and Scouts joined them at their weekly
breakfast meeting. “Everywhere they go, our boys represent us
well,” Scout leader Johnny Pace said. Last summer during a trip to tour the U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile, their visit coincided with a reunion of sailors and Marines who had served on
the battleship. “We spent the night on the ship,” Pace said. “They got the run of the ship.” The next morning, the Troop 478 boys were the fi rst uniformed Scout troop to raise the colors over the venerable warship. When they stayed overnight
at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, National Guard soldiers at
the end of a day’s training opened their tanks and allowed the boys to climb inside, according to Pace. A National Guard helicopter pilot who is also a Scout leader heard about their visit and landed nearby to give them a closer look at his aircraft. “They’re always welcome and invited to come in,” Pace said. The troop visited indoor swimming facilities at Ole Miss where they underwent grueling water tests that led to the boys earning their Swim and Water Rescue Merit Badge. “Our troop is known as the Victory Patrol, they are all very proficient,” said
Pace. Scouting is on the rebound after controversies have engaged the national Scout organization in recent years, according to veteran Batesville Scoutmaster Jim Whitten.
“What happens nationally doesn’t affect us locally,” Whitten said. Whitten also expressed appreciation for the new generation of Batesville adult Scout leaders who have stepped up as their boys arrived at Scout age. Last month’s trip where
the Batesville boys joined other Scouts from the Chickasaw Council to travel to the quadrennial National Boy Scout Jamboree included a number of additional sightseeing side
trips: the Bristol, Tenn. Motor Speedway, tours in Washington, D.C., the Mason, Ohio Kings Island Amusement Park and, of
course, the Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve at Mt. Hope, WV. In Washington, they toured the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building on the first day of its reopening to the public since September 11, 2001, said Smith Murphey, a Batesville Scout leader who, along with Eagle Scout Ryan Darby, accompanied the boys on the trip. “The entire tour was brand new,” Murphey said. The Scouts saw the boat where the Boston Bomber was finally captured in 2013. They visited the FBI building’s indoor shooting range and watched while the chief of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ security detail was qualifying with his handgun. “The Attorney General is in good hands as far as security protection,” Murphey said. When they arrived at the Jamboree, they were among 40,000 Scouts and adult
leaders who participated in outdoor activities, patch trading and — cooking. “They cooked all their own meals and came back a few pounds lighter,” Pace said. “We’re all about teaching
these boys to be good citizens and to give back to the community,” Pace said. Whitten said that the Jamboree trip included “just a fraction” of Troop 478’s Scouts because of the cost. “Our goal is to go to the Jamboree every four years,” he said. “We’d like for y’all to be more involved with us. Fund-raising is really hard.”

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