From the Boy Scout Jamboree: Learning About Water on the Conservation Trail
By Jim Condon
July 27, 2010
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Day 1 Saturday Setup Day
On Saturday there were several volunteers on site to start doing the hard work of setting up the exhibit area. There was a lot of pitchforking, wheelborrowing, and spreading of mulch. For those of you who have not worked with this mulch it can make everything it touches dirty in a heartbeat. A lot of dirty clothes this day. Because of the heat (+107 heat index) the work was stopped at noon to get in out of the heat.
Day 2 Sunday More Setup
I arrived on site in the morning. Again another scorching day. Ken Spear, a main coordinator of the volunteers, called me and said to stop and get my parking permit on the way in. Thus starts my Jamboree adventure. Go to the brick building with the big asphalt parking area in front on the way in to the site. OK no problem. Found it. Got in line. It was the line for registration not the parking permits. This only took 20 minutes in 105 degree heat. Go around to the back of the building for the parking permit. OK, will do. There was another line, in the sun (of course) moving at about 1 foot per hour more or less. Then I got to the window. At this point I want to thank Steve Harrison, who helped coordinate for the jamboree. Thank goodness, my name was on the list. I got the sticker and was on my way to the Conservation Trail, at the appropriate military post speed of 25 mph on the nice blacktop for several miles.
When I finally arrived at the site I found that stopping for the permit was a mixed blessing. The work for the day at the site was done. Again several volunteers with axes, saws, hammers and other tools had set up stations, walkways and other areas of the exhibit. The banner was in place, the watershed map was bolted down, tables and chairs were there. That is when they decided to take the rest of the drivers to get their permits. I told them to “be prepared” (Boy Scout Motto) for a wait in the sun. About an hour and a half later they were back. Again Steve Harrison did a good job. This was much shorter than it took me. After that several of the volunteers got into my van and we proceeded to the Econolodge to check in or return as appropriate. Had a nice dinner with several of the group in the evening.
Day 3 First Official Day of the Jamboree and More Setup
Today (Monday) we all were up and at’em for breakfast around 7:00. We all met according to Tim’s instructions at 7:30 by the hotel lobby. We had 15 volunteers today. It took a little organizing to round everyone up. It kind of seemed like herding cats to me. We were finally on our way about 8:00. When we got to the gate of Ft. AP Hill there was a line of cars, buses, and trucks. But since we had our stickers from the previous day we got in fairly quickly.
At the site we continued to prepare for the noon opening of the Conservation Trail. I helped with the site communication system. This was a box with three lights, three switches with two positions (hold, and send) and some wire. With the help of one of the volunteers we laid the wire to each of the three tent areas where we discuss the wastewater treatment process and water quality testing using the World Water Monitoring Day Kits. The basic concept of the system is simple. When one of the tents is empty and ready for scouts the switch is placed in the send position. This lights up a light at the pipe inlet for their “plant”. This lets the people at the inlet pipes know they are ready for more scouts. When the scouts have arrived in the tent the switch is placed in the hold position and lights in the box by the pipe inlet go out so they know not to send scouts until the light goes back on. A simple concept right? We are still training on this system.
Fairfax County Wastewater Authority brought down some wastewater treatment plant models for use in the exhibits to explain the treatment process to the scouts. We set these up and were ready to go about 11:00 when we broke for lunch at the concession stand. This has the traditional Scout gourmet fair of, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, nachos, chips & etc. After this we were ready for the Scouts to start at noon.
Noon came and went. Not a lot of people early in the afternoon. Lots of scouts were still arriving on site and setting up. As it got closer to shutdown time more scouts started to show up. Overall it was a slow afternoon with about 125 scouts and leaders going through the exhibit. Which, by the way, was more than most of the other trail exhibits had today.
Evening activity for most of the group included BBQ at one of the local places.
We are expecting a big day tomorrow.
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