At the 2017 National Jamboree

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My son and I at the 2017 National Jamboree, Summit Bechtel Reserve, West Virginia, July 24, 2017

For more than the past week, my son and his Boy Scout Troop 3127 with the Northeast Georgia Boy Scout Council have been at the 2017 National Jamboree!  There are 33 scouts in his troop, and 3 scout leaders.  My son is a member of the second council contingent troop for our council; there is another troop with approximately the same number of people attending Jamboree, as well.

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My son at the Summit Bechtel Reserve – 2017 National Jamboree, July 24, 2017

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience people from around the country, including many international scouters from around the world, who have come to the National Jamboree!

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My son with his base camp in the background. 2017 National Jamboree; July 24, 2017

I had the pleasure of visiting my son at the 2017 National Jamboree, held at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, near Beckley this week.

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My son at the West Virginia State Police exhibit, 2017 National Jamboree, July 25, 2017

While I had to leave early on Monday due to President Trump’s visit and speech at the National Jamboree, I visited all day on Tuesday.

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My son standing in line, awaiting his turn at the U.S. Army simulator, 2017 National Jamboree, July 25, 2017

It was a wonderful experience to visit my son at the 2017 National Jamboree, and walk around (lots of walking!) the area, enjoying various exhibits, meeting people, and trading patches.

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My son at the U.S. Navy simulation area, 2017 National Jamboree, July 25, 2017

I especially appreciate the presence of the West Virginia State Police and Fayetteville Sheriffs in and around the 2017 National Jamboree.  It was great to observe the many police and sheriffs stationed around the area, for everyone’s safety and protection.

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My son with Regis, the bald eagle, and his handler. 2017 National Jamboree; July 25, 2017

On Monday, my son heard President Trump’s speech, after lining up to enter the speech/arena area with his troop at around 1:00 PM.  It was an all-afternoon wait to hear Trump talk – and while his speech was controversial for some, he did have many good things to say to the scouts.

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My son talking with an Eagle Scout Association representative. 2017 National Jamboree; July 25, 2017

On Tuesday, my son and I spent most of the day on Freedom Trail where the military and police exhibits are located.  My son really enjoyed participating in the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy simulation experiences.  He also received patches from military personnel, there, as well.

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My son talking with a scout representative at the Commissioner’s Tent. 2017 National Jamboree; July 25, 2017

While there was much walking, it was pleasant to talk with many fellow scouters at the 2017 National Jamboree!

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My son with Venturers from the Grand Teton Council. 2017 National Jamboree; July 25, 2017

We spoke with many kind folks at different areas, including the National Eagle Scout Association Tent (where we also saw Regis the bald eagle); William T. Hornaday Award Tent; Commissioner’s Tent; and others.

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My son with a scout representative at the William T. Hornaday Award Tent. 2017 National Jamboree; July 25, 2017

My son also earned a merit badge in mining – right there in coal mining country! And, he earned a religious award, a scouting award, and attended both a worship service and a mass on Sunday.  He has also spent time enjoying the Sustainability Tree House.

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My son at the Sustainability Tree House. 2017 National Jamboree; July 25, 2017

Yesterday, my son participated with his troop on a hiking trek up Garden Ground Mountain. Last Friday, his troop completed a Day of Service by painting three picnic pavilions at a local park. He has been keeping busy!

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My son with members of his troop, painting a picnic pavilion, for their Day of Service. 2017 National Jamboree; July 21, 2017

There is so much to do and see, and so little time at the 2017 National Jamboree.  I’m happy for the opportunity that my son and I have had to be at there!  I had a great time!

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Winter Fun (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Me after Snowboarding in North Carolina, February 2015

Me after Snowboarding in North Carolina, February 2015

Recently, my son and I enjoyed some winter fun!  It was a welcome change to get away from the regular routine, even for one day.  We enjoyed a discounted group rate by snowboarding in North Carolina, and camped overnight in the Georgia mountains.

My Son after Snowboarding in North Carolina, February 2015

My Son after Snowboarding in North Carolina, February 2015

As a veteran and experienced skier, I was surprised to find that snowboarding was not as easy as I thought it would be.  You don’t know unless you try, of course, but I think I’ll stick with skiing.

This was the first time in nine years that I had hit the slopes, and my son’s very first time.  It was a great experience, and I hope we can go again…sometime sooner than nine years from now.

Frosty Oak Leaf (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Frosty Oak Leaf, Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia, December 14, 2014

Frosty Oak Leaf, Lake Lanier, Gainesville, Georgia, December 14, 2014

My son and I enjoyed viewing this frosty oak leaf on the shore of Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia while camping last weekend.  The tiny icicles that formed on the bottoms of the stones were pretty neat, too!  Overnighting in freezing temperatures and taking in the sun’s warm afternoon rays, it was nice to enjoy the wintry outdoors.  I hope you enjoy the photo, too!

Camping in the Great Smokies (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Summer is a great time of the year for camping, and this summer is no different.  Last week, my son went camping with a group in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  He hiked, cooked, and photographed the outdoors.  There were many beautiful trees, creeks, rocks, plants, and other wildlife to photograph.

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

At one point during my son’s camping trip, a mother black bear and three of her cubs walked along the outskirts of the camp.  It was quite an experience for the campers and the bears.  One of the cubs got scared and climbed up a tree.  Thankfully, the bears remained at a safe distance from everyone, and vice versa.

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

My son had a great opportunity for camping in the Great Smokies, and he returned home feeling even more inspired than he already was to conserve nature and protect wildlife.  I’m glad that he had a good experience and was with other campers who were responsible and who looked out for each other.

Thankfully, my son was no longer in the area when lightning storms and tornadoes swept through on the next day, however most of his group remained.  Luckily, everyone was okay.

Note: The photos in this post were taken by my son.

“Fun at Annual ScoutBlast Scout Show” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

At Scoutblast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

At ScoutBlast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

For the past three years, my family has enjoyed attending and/or participating in the Scoutblast Scout Show at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  This year, the Scout Show was held during this past weekend, April 26-28, 2013.  My son attended this year’s event as a lone scout with me as his leader.

A Lilburn Boy Scout Making a Double Helix Bracelet for my Son, Scoutblast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

A Lilburn Boy Scout Making a Double Helix Bracelet for my Son, ScoutBlast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

This year, my son had opportunities to observe and/or participate in activities that he had not done previously.  For one, he had the pleasure of having a double helix bracelet be made for him by another local scout whom he knows, and who is an excellent role model. 

My Son with his Double Helix Bracelet, Scoutblast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

My Son with his Double Helix Bracelet, ScoutBlast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

The Boy Scouts from the Lilburn group who created the double helix bracelets truly had their work cut out for them as the bracelets were extremely popular with everyone, from children to adults.

Chess Activity Opportunity for Scouts, Scoutblast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

Chess Activity Opportunity for Scouts, ScoutBlast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

Additionally, for nearly one hour, my son participated in the chess activity for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  Cub Scouts had the opportunity to earn a chess belt loop.  My son has completed enough requirements to earn both a belt loop and pin.

Chess Activity Opportunity for Scouts, Scoutblast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

Chess Activity Opportunity for Scouts, ScoutBlast Scout Show, Lawrenceville, Georgia, April 27, 2013

Interestingly, the much older Boy Scout who played my son told his friend, prior to the match, that it would be easy to beat my son, as I overheard him say.  Indeed, the match was very challenging.  Further, even though a troop leader approached the boys’ match and coached the Boy Scout in his troop, my son defeated his opponent.  It was a great feeling of accomplishment for my son.

There were also many other fun and interesting activities at Scoutblast for the boys to do, including weekend camping, blasting small objects from a makeshift plastic pipe cannon, shooting off small rockets, observing and enjoying model train sets, and earning other belt loops, such as in marbles, geology, and other areas.

For the two years prior to this, my son participated in the District’s Pinewood Derby Championships, representing his pack.  This year, he did not have the opportunity to do so, however, he still enjoyed a wonderful time at the Annual Scoutblast Scout Show!