By Jeff Mullin Senior Writer
It was hot, humid and they had to walk a long way to get almost anywhere they wanted to go.
But a group of 36 Boy Scouts and four Scout leaders from the Cimarron Council wouldn't have traded their experience at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree July 25-Aug. 3 at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., for anything.
The boys, leaders and their families will re-live the experience at a banquet at 6:30 tonight at Willow View United Methodist Church, 3525 W. Purdue.
Formation of the Cimarron Council group, designated as Jamboree Troop 1733, began more than a year ago. Dale Huse was chosen Scoutmaster for Troop 1733. His assistant Scoutmasters were Tom Newby from Enid's Troop 11, Lyle Eastman from Stillwater's Troop 20 and Scott Shipman from Stillwater Troop 28. This was Eastman's second Jamboree, the first coming in 2001.
"It's a pretty big deal for Scouts," said Dale Huse, troop committee member and former Scoutmaster for Troop 27. "The Jamboree experience of nine days is something like you've never seen before in Scouting because they have everything going on."
The some 41,000 Scouts gathered hailed from all 50 states, as well as other nations.
"We had people there from Japan, from Europe, from Puerto Rico," said Huse.
Among the highlights was a visit and speech by President Bush. Two of Troop 1733's Scouts, Joshua Frazier, of Troop 27 in Enid, and Robert Harden, of Troop 276 in Buffalo, were chosen to serve in an honor guard and stand on stage with the president, who passed within two feet of Frazier.
Four of the boys, Chris Kirkham, of Enid's Troop 52; Nathan Meyer, of Troop 26 in Ames; Kyle Brewer, of Troop 251 in Woodward;, and Jeremy Duck, of Troop 820 in Stillwater, were chosen to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
This year's Jamboree was marred by tragedy July 25 when four adult Scout leaders from Alaska were electrocuted when a tent pole they were erecting touched an overhead electrical wire.
"Of course we were shaken by the tragedy of the four Scoutmasters from Alaska who were killed the first day," said Huse. "They were helping erect a large tent from underneath and the pole fell into high power lines, killing them. They couldn't see the lines since they were inside the tent and it was very large and cumbersome.
"I went to the site, and there were a great deal of power lines in that area. It was about three miles from our site and we had no power lines near us, so there was no danger of that happening at our site."
The high heat and humidity caused a problem July 27 when about 300 people, most of them Scouts, suffered from dehydration, fatigue and lightheadedness while waiting for a visit by President Bush. His visit that day was postponed due to bad weather.
"The weather the first three days was usually hot and lots of people got dehydrated," said Huse. "We had to keep a close eye on the boys to ensure they stayed cool and drank plenty of water. We had four boys who required medical attention."
Troop 1733, which consisted of boys from Alva, Ames, Blackwell, Buffalo, Cleveland, Enid, Lahoma, Ponca City, Stillwater and Woodward, also gathered for meetings at Sundance Scout Ranch, Will Rogers Scout Ranch and Vance Air Force Base. They also visited various sites in Washington, including the White House and the U.S. Capitol. After the Jamboree, the troop toured Gettysburg National Military Park.
"To me, one of the best things about the trip was the tour of Gettysburg," said Huse.
Jamborees are normally held every four years, but the next one won't be until 2010, when it will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Scouting.
By Jeff Mullin Senior Writer
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