More than 3,600 Boy Scouts converge in Loudon for NH jamboree

Sunday News Correspondent
May 05. 2018 9:51PM

Lucas Dickson, with his sons, Milo and Levi, and Mike Gregory, right, with his son, Issac, attend the 2018 New Hampshire Boy Scout Jamboree Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. (TRAVIS R. MORIN/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

LOUDON - More than 3,600 Boy Scouts from across New England and as far away as Canada set up camp for the weekend on the grounds of New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the New Hampshire Boy Scout Jamboree, a three-day expo of camping, crafting, trade skills and entertainment that happens every four years.

With activities ranging from zip swings and target shooting to welding and robotics, the jamboree presents a cross-section of the many skills practiced by members of the Scout organization.

"This is an opportunity to bring all of the Scouts together in one place from across the council," said John "Jay" Garee, an executive of the Daniel Webster Council. "We're trying to get as many people as we geographically can to have one big skills weekend and participate in up to 120 different program experiences."

Gov. Chris Sununu, who paid a visit to the jamboree Saturday morning, spoke highly of the organization's role in readying young people to enter the real world.

"Whether it's communication skills, working together, or any of the things that really make us who we are today, this organization is getting these kids prepared for a big unknown world in the future," said Sununu. "To have all this together in one place is just an awesome opportunity."

Eagle Scout Tony Sergi demonstrates rappelling for some younger Boy Scouts. (TRAVIS R. MORIN/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

This year's jamboree stands out as the last one before the organization formally begins the process of accepting girls into its Boy Scouts program, which is set to be renamed Scouts BSA in February 2019. 

Garee, the father of two Scouts, said that girls attending Boy Scout events is nothing new.

"A lot of our families were already bringing girls to our activities," said Garee. "They were participating in those activities with their brothers or with their parents, but they weren't getting the recognition for their participation. Now they will get the opportunity to do that."

Lucas Dickson, an Eagle Scout attending the jamboree with his Boy Scout son Milo, spoke highly of the name and policy change. 

"I think it's a good opportunity. I don't have any daughters, but if I did, it would be something that I would want them to be able to do," Lucas said.

Mike Gregory, whose son Issac is a Boy Scout, chimed in his support for the change.

"I do have a daughter, and everything we teach at Scouting I want her to learn, too," Gregory said.

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