July 14-28 will be etched in the memories of four local young men for the rest of their lives.

Dawson Evans, Logan Odom, Drake Pennington and Joshua Wilmoth of Troop 525 in DeFuniak Springs journeyed to the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, to participate in the once in a lifetime experience of the National Jamboree. They traveled through Georgia, North Carolina, and toured Washington D.C. on the way.

On July 17 and 18 they explored the nation’s capital. House Rep. Matt Gaetz greeted the young men, giving them a tour of the Capitol, rotunda and offices. They attended the USDA’s National Ice Cream Day event, where they were treated to free ice cream. Other highlights of the tour included the 9/11 Memorial, the Boy Scout Memorial, the Mall of Monuments, and Arlington National Cemetery.

Arriving at the Jamboree the 19th, the young men experienced the outdoors as they never imagined. A few of their favorite events were paddle boarding, the BMX course, zip line, rock climbing, mountain biking and skate boarding. They also enjoyed team building events such as highland games, buckskin games, Spartan races, color runs, and STEM quests. The young men learned about the history and beginnings of the Boy Scouts of America. They were treated to concerts by Miley Cyrus, the X Ambassadors, and the Plain White T’s. On July 23, the boys attended a Protestant service where Dawson Evans and Joshua Wilmoth delivered the benediction to the group. On July 24, the young men waited in line to see President Donald Trump speak to the group. Along with the other young men, they participated in 220 service projects in 45 West Virginia counties.

On the return trip, they stopped in Benton, Tennessee, to practice their new skills at Outdoor Adventure Rafting. White water rafting added to the experience the young scouts will remember.