BOWLING GREEN, Va. – The tent city that houses the National Scout Jamboree (search) every four years at Fort A.P. Hill vanished overnight as the event came to a close Wednesday.
Acres of land that just days earlier had been filled with more than 40,000 Boy Scouts (search), leaders and volunteers from around the world suddenly lay vacant.
"As amazing as it is to see an empty field nine days previous all of a sudden become a whole city, it is almost as amazing to see that whole city go away in about two hours," said Jamboree spokesman Renee Fairrer (search). "It's a little bittersweet."
The 10-day event made headlines when four adult Scout leaders were killed in an electrical accident on July 25, the event's opening day. The tragedy was followed by days of intense heat that sickened more than 300 Scouts and visitors.
And a scheduled visit by President Bush was postponed twice due to the harsh weather.
But Scouts such as 16-year-old Justin Jansen braved the heat throughout the week, spending the days canoeing, fishing and scuba diving.
"Besides the fact that it was really hot, it was a really good time," said Jansen, of Oak Harbor, Wash.
The next Jamboree will take place in 2010, the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. Fairrer said organizers will pay "special attention" to reduce the possibility of fatal accidents and other incidents.
Still, Wayne Marley, a 63-year-old staff volunteer from Lewiston, Maine, said in a city of more than 40,000 people, accidents are all but inevitable.
"It's certainly tragic what happened ... but things happen in a city of this size," he said.
The accident occurred when four men were trying to pitch a tent and lost control of the center pole and it fell into nearby power lines.