by Dave Halsey, NOHVCC Contributing Writer
Over six hundred Boy and Adventure Scouts were all smiles. They had just completed the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) RiderCourse® at the National Scout Jamboree, followed by a trail ride through the woods of West Virginia. For most of the Scouts, it was their very first time riding an ATV.
The 2017 National Scout Jamboree was held July 19-28, at the 11,400-acre Summit Bechtel Reserve, owned and managed by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). It was the first Jamboree that included both ATV safety training and a fun ride along ATV-designated trails.
For 11 days, 15 ASI Instructors worked 10 to 12 hour days at the Jamboree. They taught 8 Scouts per class, on 5 ranges, 3 times a day. “By the end of the day we’re tired, but it’s a good tired,” said Dan Moore, ATV coordinator with the Montana Council. “It’s a great feeling when the Scouts pull off their helmets; they’re a little dusty, but they’re all smiles. They told us they used everything they learned in the training course out on the trail. A lot of them said it was the best activity at the Jamboree.”
Over the past year, Moore and a team of professionals designed and built the training course and trail, part of the Polaris OHV Center for Excellence at the Scout facility. Polaris has a 10-year partnership with the BSA, providing ATVs, safety equipment, and ASI Rider Safety Training to BSA High Adventure Bases around the country. “Polaris said they wanted it to be an awesome program at the Jamboree, and they came to NOHVCC,” said Karen Umphress, IT and Project Manager with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council. “We helped create an experience that’s a lot of fun for the Scouts, and at the same time teaches them about safe, responsible recreation.”
Umphress recruited the ASI instructors and made their travel arrangements. She and Moore arrived at the Jamboree early, to get everything ready for the 11-day effort. Besides the trainers, what does it take to put 600 Boy Scouts through the ASI RiderCourse? Sixty youth ATVs; 10 adult ATVs for the instructors; plus 80 helmets, gloves, and goggles; 12 cans of disinfectant spray...and 350 gallons of fuel.