Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24th, 2010 - Day 1

Bag – Check

ID – Check

Scout Uniform - Check

Airline Ticket – Check

I’m sure these thoughts were going through several of the minds of scouts and their parents this morning as they awoke early to arrive at the Kansas City International Airport. We asked that everyone leaving with the Pony Express Council contingent for the National Scout Jamboree arrive no later than 6:30 AM at the B Terminal for our Southwest flight to Baltimore Washington International Airport. Everyone arrived on time making the check-in process that much easier, and relieving much stress for the adult leaders. I heard several different stories regarding the various ways in which the participants spent their last night before our departure. Some were at Camp Geiger, some spent the night in nearby parking lots, and some woke up early to eat breakfast at a local restaurant before making their way to the airport gate. One thing was apparent though and it was that no matter how each one spent their last night back home everyone was excited to board the plane to start our adventure.

In order to make the check-in process go as smoothly as possible the adult leadership relied heavily our youth leadership to help control the boys and make double and triple counts of everyone in attendance. Mack Cory (Senior Patrol Leader) took charge of the group and worked directly with each of the Patrol Leaders to make sure everything got accomplished and no boy was left behind. This was quite the challenge because for many this was their first flight, and the security process can be very overwhelming. However we made it through without a hitch and took to the skies as if we had done it a thousand times. So far the only downfall that we have had is that the “Bags Fly Free” guys were not there this morning to greet us and send us on our way. It’s probably better for everyone that the small shirtless painted chest crew was not outside our plane window, but you never know and being a good scout, I was prepared with camera in hand.

Our group of 34 scouts consists of 29 youth, and 5 adults, and as we took to the skies many watched the ground outside their window get farther and farther away as we made our two and half hour flight east. With the scouts scattered amongst the plane many of the other passengers asked questions about our destination and purpose for our trip, they were all pleased to see each of the boys in uniform and living up to the scout oath and law. While on the plane some of the boys slept, some read, and some just had fun conversing with friends and other passengers making the trip seem not so long.

We landed in Baltimore just before noon eastern time and we stepped off the plane to be greeted by the hot and humid 95 degree sunny weather to begin our touring of the area. Meeting up with our bus driver (Barry Taylor) just outside the gate we boarded the bus and were set for adventure with nothing but the clothes on our back. Well I guess the clothes in our backpacks on our backs to be me more precise. Our first stop was the Old Post Office building to grab some lunch before we began the rest of our day. The boys had a plethora of restaurants to choose from so choosing something they wanted to eat was hard. This will be the case for most of the places we will stop to eat; each boy receives a card that will be used as their meal token for the place of their choosing. Some ate quick enough to do a little shopping and were able to gather a few souvenirs to take home to remember the trip by. Our stay wasn’t long for we didn’t travel such great distances to sit and eat. Loading back onto the bus we met our tour guide for our stay in Washington D.C. his name is Harry Bass and is a seasoned vet at giving these types of tours. He has been giving tours for nearly 20 years and this will be his third time working with the boy scouts going to the National Jamboree.

Our next stop was the Naval Museum, and by this point the temperatures had to have been pushing 100 degrees. It was starting to get very hot so we did our best to move through the outside portion as quickly as possible. The major highlight here was that we got to board an old naval destroyer (USS Barry) and tour the vessels ins and outs so to say. We stopped for a group picture underneath one of the cannons before de-boarding and heading inside to cool down. Inside was a wonderful museum of naval artifacts from over the years that show just how far our United States Navy has come in country’s history.

Getting back onto the bus we decided it was a good time to stop and rehydrate, so we swung by a local Safeway store to get enough water for everyone for the rest of the day. Making sure everyone got plenty to drink we decided to head to the National Archives but by the time we got there the line was out the door and down the street so we thought it would be best to move on with our tour and try to come back at a later time.

With the change of plans, we decided our next stop would be the World War II Memorial. Arriving at the site we quickly got off the bus and stopped for just a few minutes to take pictures and find our home state’s victory wreath. This memorial’s location sits between the both the Lincoln and Washington memorials so it provided a great opportunity for the boys to not only get good pictures of the World War II Memorial but the other two monuments as well. We got back on the bus just as quickly as we got off and we were on our way to the Jefferson Memorial.

By this point the temperature was easily 100 degrees and the energy levels of some were beginning to dwindle. However more great photo opportunities were taken at the Jefferson Memorial as we gathered a good portion of the boys for a picture on the front steps. After everyone had their chance to get enough pictures we got back on the bus to head to supper. Supper was at the Pentagon City Mall and was the same format as lunch in which each boy received a ticket that got them a meal at the restaurant of their choosing.

After supper was over we thought we would try to go back to the National Archives to see if the line had gone down to allow us to get in. Luckily we got there just in time and were able to get in as one of the last groups for the day. Here the boys got to see some of our Nation’s most precious documents and witness some of the history that made this country so great. On display were the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the Magna Carta. Although no photography was allowed I’m sure the boys were able to take mental pictures which will last a lifetime.

As we gathered back onto the bus and took off for our next destination we learned several facts from our tour guide about the different places we had see throughout the day, and where our next stopping point would be. Making our last touring stop for the day we arrived at the FDR Memorial to see the memorial dedicated to our only president to be selected to serve 4 terms in office. As the sun began to set the heat began to drop as well, and allow for some great pictures and more memories to be made.

Back on the bus, our last stop is our hotel and for some the pool conveniently located on our floor. Located on the 3rd floor of the Hyatt Reston everyone begins to settle for the evening, take a nice shower and prepare for another day tomorrow. Everything is well here and we hope the same for everyone back home, goodnight to you all and be careful on the trails.


  1. Wow- what a great first day! I'm Noah's aunt and will be following your blog. Thanks for taking the time to write about your days for the families and friends back home to "travel with you".
    Rana Killingsworth

  2. Matt, thanks so much for taking time to post this blog page. We look forward to checking in every day to read of all the adventures our boys are having! Surely you would much rather be spending your evenings doing something more exciting than typing in the day's activities and posting pictures. Just know that those of us back home truly appreciate your effort to keep us informed. Thanks again!
    Gordon & Heidi Meyer

  3. This is great Matt! I miss Caleb but I am so happy he is having a great time. It really helps to see him and see him happy. Thank you so very much!!!

    Dawn Eisenhauer