The place to be July 15-24 is in West Virginia! While most of the hubbub surrounds the much anticipated move of the National Scout Jamboree and the opening of the 4th Boy Scouts of America High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, everyone who’s anyone has a curiosity about what will be happening during those 10 days in southern West Virginia.
Not to be missed, a new initiative called Experience West Virginia aims to showcase Appalachian history and culture in an educational and entertaining way. This innovative program is a collaboration of six colleges and universities in southern West Virginia.
The schools have joined forces to offer workshops and special events on West Virginia’s southern college campuses. Open to the families and friends of the Boy Scouts, tourists, and anyone from the community, program offerings will vary from the history of coal mining to Civil War medicine to a hike along the Appalachian Trail.
“We are offering over 50 workshops and events that will engage the public and teach them about West Virginia culture and history while entertaining them,” commented Project Chair Holly Clark. Clark went on to say that each school will present a wide variety of programming. “Each college and its respective region will have interesting topics to present,” stated Clark. “We’re sure you’ll find something you’ll want to attend.”
Local storyteller, historian and writer Karen Vuranch is Experience West Virginia’s Programming Coordinator. Vuranch has extensive experience in presenting Appalachian and West Virginia performances, as well as working with tourists who visit the area.
“West Virginia is in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. The cultures and traditions that developed in these mountains are still vibrant today. Experience West Virginia is proud to celebrate West Virginia culture and share it with both our own community and the traveling public,” Vuranch stated.
The events offered range from workshops to concerts to walking tours. Each event will be sponsored by one of six local colleges, who will host the activity on or near their campus. The colleges participating are Bluefield State College, Bridgemont Community and Technical College, Concord University, New River Community and Technical College, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. All are within an easy drive of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, where the 2013 National Scout Jamboree will be held.
Whether you come for one program or 10 days of programs, you will find yourself immersed in the rich heritage and natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. More information about the unique programs offered by Experience West Virginia can be found on our web site at www.experiencewv.org. Take a look and you will see that there is sure to be something to pique your interest. If you have questions, please feel free to call and talk to our VISTA staff member, Tom Larson. In addition, the Experience West Virginia staff would be glad help you create a personalized student group tour package, designing a program for your student group that includes Experience West Virginia events and incorporating other area attractions such as whitewater rafting or zip lining.
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