It should be no small source of pride for all of West Virginia that the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, in Fayette County, is the host of the 24th World Scout Jamboree.
The event, now underway, is hosting as many as 50,000 kids from scouting organizations in 150 countries.
It’s a good time to celebrate the diverse nature of scouting on a global scale. After all, the Scouts BSA (formerly the Boy Scouts of America) has undergone some revolutionary changes of its own, including officially allowing girls to join, which was approved by the organization earlier this year.
Opening the organization up to girls (something the Scouts in the United Kingdom did in 1976) is perhaps the final step in a long evolutionary process for the Scouts.
In 2015, the organization repealed a ban on homosexuals, although that ban can still be upheld if a particular Scout troop is part of a religious organization. The Scouts allowed transgender people to join in 2017. Looking at those changes, it’s almost odd that the last gate to be opened was the one barring girls. Those who broke those barriers to make the Scouts more inclusive should be proud. And, although the struggle at times was difficult, it’s appropriate to appreciate how far the organization has come.
Now that the Scouts is open to all in the United States, it’s the perfect time to have the rest of the world come visit.
Hopefully, those visiting from other countries will enjoy the natural beauty of West Virginia, along with the state’s hospitality, and will want to return one day. No doubt, many will form lifelong friendships that span the globe during the next few days.
With such a fantastic event taking place here in the Mountain State, it’s a great time to be a Scout, and a great time to be a West Virginian.