Commission to consider BSA projects

Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

It was a quiet morning at the Pocahontas County Commission meeting Tuesday, as the commission worked its way through a series of appointments, presentations and updates.

Citizens Conservation Corp [CCC] Director “JAK” Kincaid and colleague Christian Vargo appeared before the commission to discuss partnering with the county to develop a community service project, which will serve as a joint venture between the Boy Scouts of America [BSA] and the Reaching the Summit Community Service Initiative [the Initiative].

Every four years, the BSA holds its National Scout Jamboree, and the 2017 Jamboree has chosen Fayette County as its host site. In 2011, CCC was tapped to help the BSA develop community service projects for the 2013 Jamboree held in Mount Hope. Boy Scouts from across the nation gathered at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in July, and 352 projects were completed across nine counties in a span of five days during the ten day gathering.

“Most of the scouts that we polled, talked to, and have been in contact with since have said that the community service projects were their favorite thing,” Kincaid recalled. “They got to get out, interact in West Virginia communities, take part in community service projects and just enjoy the people of West Virginia.

“Resoundingly, that was the favorite thing for them – not the zip lines, bike trails, rafting or swimming, but the going out and taking part in community service projects that helped southern West Virginia.”

The National Scout Jamboree will return to West Virginia in 2017, and the CCC has once again been tapped to serve as the gathering’s clearinghouse for projects. As a coordinator for the Initiative, it is up to Kincaid to engage counties – county commissions, local volunteer groups and more – in southern West Virginia and develop one to three projects for the scouts to complete.

Each project will provide work for a single, 40-scout troop or two troops with a combined head count of 80 scouts, and will cover one or more of the Initiative’s five community service project categories: Arts and Education, Construction, Green-friendly, Infrastructure, and Health and Wellness. Most projects cover a minimum of three categories, but it is possible to design a project that covers all five.

This year, the Jamboree will run a little differently, and rather than complete the projects during the 10 days of the Jamboree, the projects will be completed in the three days leading up to it. Scouts would arrive in Pocahontas County July 17, 2017, work six-to-eight hours July 18 before leaving for Fayette County July 19. According to Kincaid, the Initiative looks for projects that municipalities haven’t been able to tackle just yet, and if the commission were to agree, the Initiative would spent the next 15 months working alongside the commission and the community to develop quality projects that would benefit the county, as well as offer the scouts “scout value.”

“The goal is to create a project that is favorable and will allow the boys to take something from their experience,” Kincaid explained. “What the scouts can provide, overwhelmingly, is a very enthusiastic and very strong labor force for a day. They’re not shy about getting in and really working hard. They want to improve communities. That’s part of their mission.”

CCC – a non-profit organization based out of Beckley – works alongside state and regional efforts to engage adults looking to re-enter the workforce, as well as provide training for youth in the workforce.

No motion was made, but the commission expressed its interest in working alongside Kincaid in the future.

In other news:

  • Pocahontas County Convention and Visitor Bureau Executive Director Cara Rose presented an update on tourism in the county. The CVB is in the process of planning its annual Customer Service and Hospitality training programs; the tourism scholarship, which is normally an award of $1,000, has been matched by the Snowshoe Foundation and will be awarded at the Pocahontas County High School Senior Award Night; and Rose has been asked to join the Region 4 Strategic Planning Committee to offer a tourism perspective.
  • The commission approved the easement purchases presented by the Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board as follows:
    • Shannon and Susan Hanley, of the Hillsboro District
    • Brenda S. Cook, of the Hillsboro District
    • James and Constance Rose, of the Hillsboro District
  • Due to Commission Attorney Bob Martin’s absence, the discussion concerning the management of Cass Community Park was tabled until the next meeting.
  • The commission accepted Global Science Technology’s proposal to provide services to the 911 and Law Enforcement offices at an extra cost of $614. The added cost will be divided between the two agencies.
  • Glen Galloway was appointed to the Pocahontas County Civil Service Board to serve as the Pocahontas County Commission representative for an unexpired four-year term, ending June 30, 2017.
  • The commission moved to draft a letter in support of Region 4’s revision of its 2013-2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Five Year plan.
  • Robert Sheets was appointed to serve on the Pocahontas County Historic Landmarks Commission for an unexpired term, ending June 30, 2017.
  • The commission appointed the following to the Pocahontas County 911 Advisory Board:
    • Herby Barlow for the remainder of an unexpired three-year term, ending June 30, 2017
    • Kenneth Varner for the remainder of an unexpired three-year term, ending June 30, 2017
    • Laura Combs for a three-year term, ending June 30, 2019
  • The commission approved the American Lung Association’s request to use the former shoe factory building for overnight storage of bicycles on May 13 on the condition that they remain within their designated area of use and contact Administrative Secretary Sue Helton if they encounter any issues.

The next regular County Commission meeting is scheduled for April 19, 2016, at 5:30 p.m.

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