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Local Scouts emphasize safety at Jamboree

The Boy Scout Jamboree in Bowling Green was the scene of a tragedy last week that claimed the lives of four scout leaders.
The Bowling Green, Virginia venue also saw about 300 people, most of them Scouts, suffered the effects of a heat wave. Sunday night Scouts heard from President Bush and by Wednesday they will be on their way back to their respective hometowns.
Through it all, local Scout leader, Peter Kreckel of Tyrone, said there was a concern for safety as there always is at the Jamboree. He said actual temperatures of 100 degrees translated into feel-like temperatures of 119.
“We’ve been pushing fluids on the kids,” said Kreckel. “We tried to keep them in the shade. All the kids from central Pennsylvania must be a hard-nosed bunch of kids. We only had one kid get sick. He was an asthma patient. He did not go to the hospital.
“Safety is a primary concern here as it always is when we take our younger Scouts out to these opportunities but, they are having an incredible time.”
He said water buffaloes were provided during the peak of the heat that hit last week just before President Bush was first scheduled to visit on Wednesday. Kreckel noted security was extremely tight due to the President planned visit. However, that visit was canceled due to threatening weather.
The Associated Press reported last week that more than 40,000 Scouts, volunteers, and leaders attending the event had been standing in the sun about three hours when word came that severe thunderstorms and high winds forced the president to postpone his appearance. He was then supposed to appear Thursday but the visit was pushed back at the Scouts’ request and eventually appeared on Sunday evening.
Kreckel noted security was heightened last week because of the president’s scheduled visit. He said they were required to have clear water bottles so security personnel could more easily check the items.
The AP noted at the last jamboree four years ago, Bush\’s trip was also canceled because of bad weather, in which lightning strikes caused minor injuries to two Scouts. He spoke to the group a day later by videotape.
The Associated Press said in an article the heat troubles came as many were still reeling from the deaths of four Boy Scout leaders from Alaska. Some Scouts had been watching as the metal pole at the center of a large, white dining tent touched power lines. Screams rang out as the tent caught fire and the men burned. Three adults were injured, and one returned to the Jamboree after being released from the hospital.
Kreckel said the group from Central Pennsylvania, about 80 in all, were among the first to arrive, a week ago this past Sunday. The Scouts are due to return to the area on Wednesday. He said all the scouts and leaders in his group are part of the Penns Woods Council Scout Troop 407.
Kreckel said his son, Philip Kreckel and junior scout leader from Bellwood, Travis Mills, made the trip with him and the others.
He said Mills’ experience as an EMT came in handy during the heat problems.

On the Net: www.bsajamboree.org