Scouts hear from ‘Dirty Jobs’ star

Published 8:31 pm Thursday, August 5, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: Boy Scouts from Suffolk, Franklin and Smithfield —designated Troop 1736 — have been at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County, site of the 2010 National Scout Jamboree, which celebrates 100 years of Scouting in America. Cole Barclay, a 16-year-old Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior and a member of Suffolk Troop 16, was on the scene and filed this report.

What happens when you take a big field, give it a huge stage and speakers, fill it with more than 70,000 people, provide music, movies and speeches, throw in parachutists and fireworks, call it a centennial, and set it in America?

What happens is the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th-anniversary Jamboree, which culminated this week with an arena show full of excitement and surprises.

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The show began with a jet flyover, which was followed by musical performances by steel drummers from Barbados and Sarah Centeno, who was definitely a favorite of the Scouts.

While people were still pouring onto the field, an AT&T message board flashed greetings.

An opening video sequence was set off by fireworks and fire cauldrons surrounding us. The Star Spangled Banner was sung by Honor Society, a breakout band from California. There were more fireworks while Scouts in uniform danced on stage.

We were then greeted by Eagle Scout Mike Rowe, star of the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs,” the favorite speaker of the night. In the 20 minutes he had with us, he told us a story about how Scouting changed his life.

He said that in his first Scout meeting he was thrown down twice and got a bloody nose doing things that many Scouts find fun, but for some reason he kept going back, and before he knew it, he was an Eagle Scout.

“Scouting forces you to like it,” he said.

Later, the band Switchfoot performed and got everyone on their feet and moving.

Then, in the closing ceremony, everyone received a candle that was lit from the same fire, and we all said the Scout Oath simultaneously. The ceremony concluded with another fireworks display

It was a moving event that I will surely never forget.