Reservation to welcome Boy Scouts

COVINGTON -- About 5,000 metro Atlanta Boy Scouts will head to Covington next week for a special celebration.

Bert Adams Scout Reservation, off Ga. Highway 36 in Covington, is host to the Campout of the Century, scheduled from Friday to May 16.

"We're really excited about it," said Tom Wilson, director of Support Services at the Atlanta Area Council's Boy Scouts of America. "(Newton County and Covington) has really rolled out the red carpet for us."

He said schools have supported the organization by providing parking, emergency management teams have developed an emergency plan of action in case of bad weather or other events and former Mayor Sam Ramsey also has helped out.

"Everybody has really supported this event," Wilson said, adding that he encouraged team leaders to purchase gas and other items in the county during their trip to help thank them. "I can't imagine how they could make us feel more welcome than they have done already."

Scouts from 13 metro Atlanta counties, including Newton and Rockdale, are expected to attend the weekend event.

"It's going to be a terrific time," Wilson said. "It's not only for activities, but it connects Scouts to generations of Americans who have been Scouts. We want them to leave the event with the understanding that they are part of a world-wide movement."

The event features four Atlanta Falcons football players, fireworks, a "Rock Band" game competition and a performance from Christian artist Chris Sligh, who was a finalist on "American Idol" season six. Scouts will camp jamboree style with their dutch ovens.

The event marks the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America and the 50th anniversary of the Bert Adams Scout Reservation, which is in the midst of some special renovations that include new dining halls, meeting rooms, a trading post, nature center, program area, archery range and camping facility areas. The improvements are part of a $12.3 million capital campaign.

"The theme of this anniversary is 'celebrate the adventure and continuing the journey,'" Wilson said. "We will celebrate the future and reintroduce Scouting. We need to reengage the future, while we celebrate the past."

Registration for the event continues until the day before the event online at www.atlantabsa.org or by calling 770-989-8820. A limited number of spots is available for registration the day of the event. It costs $10.