MARSHALL - It's a good year to be a Boy Scout attending the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, a gathering of between 40,000 and 50,000 Scouts from across the country July 15-24. This is the first year the Jamboree, which takes place every four years, has a permanent home - the new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia.
Ten Scouts from Marshall are going, including three from the same family - Ethan, Andy and Roger Claude, the sons of Chad and Laura Claude. The Claude boys range in age from 12 to 17.
The youngest a Scout can be to attend is 12, and Roger just turned 12 recently, said his dad, who is also a Scout leader and will attend the Jamboree.
National Scout Jamboree participants from Troop 238 pictured are, from left, back row: Christian Johnson, Nick Versaevel, Ethan Claude and Tyler Matson. Middle row: Carter Johnson, Sam Prorok, Andy Claude and Troy Timmerman. Front row: Roger Claude. Not pictured: Adrian Bentz. These nine scouts are in Contingent B228. Bentz is a part of another contingent.
You also have to be at least a first class rank and Roger "has worked his tail off to achieve that rank," said Chad Claude.
The oldest Claude boy, Ethan, is 17 and is an Eagle Scout, while the middle son, Andy, is 14 and is a Life Scout, which is one step from an Eagle Scout.
Chad Claude, along with Ryan Versaevel, will not only be in charge of looking after his three boys and the other Marshall youth, but they will be a part of a total of 36 in their contingent, which is boys from Scout troops from neighboring states from "Aberdeen, S.D., to Mobile, Iowa," Claude said.
"I've really been looking forward to it," Versaevel said. "I've been planning for over a year now for it. I can't wait to go."
Claude said he isn't concerned about having to police the boys' behavior - "they're the cream of the crop. There are 13 Eagle Scouts among them. They'll look out for each other, which makes it a lot easier."
The hard part, he said, will be the logistics of transportation, food and making sure the boys are participating in the activities of their choice.
"Just seeing that they are where they need to be when they need to be," he said, adding, "there are more things to do than there is time to do them."
Troy Timmerman, who was assigned to be a spokesman and send back news from the trip on behalf of his troop, is signed up for white water rafting and rock climbing and may do zip-lining and SCUBA diving as well. He has packed extra Sioux Council patches for trading with other scouts he meets - he's particularly interested in getting patches from Hawaii and Alaska.
Timmerman, who is a Marshall High School senior and an Eagle Scout, is glad he was able to attend a jamboree since he would be too old to attend the next one.
"I signed up one and a half years ago," he said. "I'm excited."
Troop 238 Scouts had many fundraisers to accrue enough money to attend, including pancake breakfasts, popcorn selling and a volleyball tournament.
"The American Legion and VFW generously donated as well," Timmerman said.
"We are really appreciative of the community supporting us at the fundraisers, which helped us pay our way to the Jamboree," Claude said.
Before they head to the Jamboree in West Virginia, the Scouts are flying to Washington, D.C. for four days, said Timmerman.
"We'll visit museums including the Air and Space Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Museum and the International Spy Museum," he said.
They will also visit national monuments, such as the Arlington National Cemetery and the Washington Memorial. The Scouts will also meet with U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a veteran lawmaker from Minnesota's 7th District, which includes Marshall.
At the Jamboree, in addition to camping, trading badges and participating in exciting outdoor activities, the Scouts will attend a concert.
Train and Carly Rae Jepson were scheduled to perform but canceled because of the Boy Scouts of America's denial of membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation.
Now that the BSA has changed that prohibition, the concert headliners are unknown, Timmerman said, but will probably be equally well-known acts.