08/03/10 — Arena show one of the week's highlights

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Arena show one of the week's highlights

By David Joyner
Published in News on August 3, 2010 1:59 PM

Special to the Messenger

The sun begins to set, tent flaps are quickly being secured, and 40,000 Boy Scouts fall into formation for a two-and-a-half-hour hike. They are on their way to the Arena Show at the 2010 Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill.

Friday evening, 40,000 Scouts packed in along with 30,000 visitors at the arena, anticipating for what had been promised as the "Scouting show of the century!"

While Scouts piled into the lawn-seat area, messages being texted in from all over the nation were shown on the stage's main screen. "BSA Rocks," "I love Jambo!" and even "Marry me Jennie!" flashed in front of the crowd

As a live feed from Durham came over the screen, showing Scouts participating in the celebration from major cities, the words, "North Carolina" appeared and Scouts from Tuscarora and other N.C. Councils applauded unceasingly. This repeated for contingencies from other cities such as New York and Dallas.

When all of the hometown live feeds had been show, special guest Sarah Santana made her way to the stage to sing "Picture to Burn" by Taylor Swift along with 40,000 of her new biggest fans.

Other guests included the band Honor Society and Vocal Point, a chorus of all Eagle Scouts.

Rumors had flown around the Jamboree that Switchfoot would be performing. It seemed too good to be true, but when the band appeared the crowd's noise-level was at least three times of what it had been for a pre-recorded video message from the President.

President Obama is the first president since the BSA's founding to refuse a live address to the organization. His absence did not take away from the presentation, though, with video segments on Scouting's history and movies featuring scout actors or scout characters.

The evening's highlight, however, was a speech by Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs.

"A Scout is clean," said Rowe, referring to the 11th point of the Scout law, "but he's not afraid to get dirty!"

The show ended at 10:45 p.m., but with another two-and-a-half-hour hike back to camp -- now in the dark -- the scouts didn't make it back to bed until after midnight.

A long sleep would have to wait, though, as Scouts awoke just after 7 a.m. to eat breakfast and get on the road to a church service.

For many Scouts, the church service was the final event needed for their rockers. "For the Duty to God rocker, we needed to attend a religious service of our choice," Matthew Womack of Rosewood said. "Since Sunday was the last day to earn rockers, it was also our last big event."

Arriving back at camp from the service, many Scouts opted to fall right back into their sleeping bags. The rest of Sunday was spent lounging around the campsite or trading patches.

The Jamboree ends on Wednesday. With only days left, scouts are enjoying the last experiences of Scouting's most celebratory event.