American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill and Montana Legionnaire Elmer Palmer chat with Boy Scouts during the 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A. P. Hill, Va. Legionnaires have manned a booth at the past eight jamborees. Photo by James V. Carroll

National commander visits BSA Jamboree

American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill joined more than 43,000 Boy Scouts at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia Tuesday to help them celebrate 100 years of Scouting during the 2010 National Jamboree. While at the jamboree, Hill visited with Legion Scout leaders and Boy Scouts at the Legion's Relationship Tent in the National Exhibits compound.

"It's great to witness and be a part of such a great event," said Hill, who will be at the jamboree through Thursday. "It's not a coincidence the Legion Preamble and the Boy Scout Oath both contain the phrase for ‘God and Country'. Legionnaires and Boy Scouts have always shared many common goals and beliefs."

The four Action Centers scattered throughout the sprawling jamboree site were filled with Scouts from across the country. Each troop, adorned with shirts of differing hues, provided visitors with an ever-changing quilt of colors as the Scouts moved from tent to tent.

Camping is not the main focus of the week and a half jamboree. Scouts have the opportunity to learn about Scouting history, as well as immerse themselves in the future at Technology Quest. They can participate in one of four regional 5K runs or dive for jamboree souvenirs in a clear-water pool. They can learn dozens of skills such as how to kayak, trap shoot, mountain board, or ride a BMX bike on a challenging dirt track lined with jumps. Scouts can also begin work on, or earn, merit badges in more than 90 categories at the Merit Badge Midway.

While the Boy Scouts and Fort A.P. Hill have enjoyed a longstanding relationship, the 2010 Jamboree may be the last on the U.S Army installation. The Scouting organization will soon have a new home in West Virginia: the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will be the fourth BSA high-adventure base, as well the permanent home to the National Scout Jamboree starting in 2013.