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    Boy Scouts turn attention to jamboree

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Two months after a vote that accepted openly gay boys as Scouts, officials for the Boy Scouts of America say they have put the issue aside and are focused on their 10-day national jamboree.

    Some 30,000 Scouts and their leaders arrived Monday at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in southern West Virginia. Thousands more staff and volunteers have been at the 1,000-acre site since last week.

    Months of divisive debate led to May’s vote by the Boy Scouts’ National Council to allow gay Scouts to participate while keeping a ban on gay adults. The policy change is effective next January.


    ‘‘We don’t see any changes in the way we do things at the jamboree at all,’’ said Wayne Brock, the organization’s chief executive.

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    With much negative attention directed toward the Boy Scouts in recent months, Brock said, the hope is that the jamboree proves to be a big, positive event.

    ‘‘People are going to see kids getting together, having a great time, and learning,’’ Brock said. ‘‘What the public will see is what scouting is really all about.’’

    National president Wayne Perry said scouting leaders have been too active to reflect much on the decision.

    As Scouts get settled into their tents and dive into the dozens of adventures that include white-water rafting, mountain biking, and rock climbing, national Boy Scouts’ spokesman Deron Smith said the organization is unaware of any openly gay Scouts attending the jamboree.


    But Pascal Tessier, 16, of Kensington, Md., an openly gay Scout who isn’t attending because of prior commitments, said some of his gay friends who are Scouts are attending. ‘‘I don’t think they’re too worried about anything happening there,’’ he said. ‘‘They’ve already been accepted. But they’re also not making a big deal about it.”

    Rich Ferraro of GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said the media watchdog group has no planned events around the jamboree and is continuing work to end the Scouts’ ban on gay adults.

    John Paterson and John Bode from Colorado Springs helped bring 50 Scouts to West Virginia on Monday.

    Paterson is at his seventh jamboree. And it will be his last, he said, because of the vote to allow gay Scouts and the push to include gay adults and others.

    Associated Press