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6,000 Boy Scouts to bring $3.5M

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Thousands of young men and their families will begin arriving in Lebanon today for the Boy Scouts of America's 2014 Middle Tennessee Jamboree - an event expected to bring millions of dollars into Wilson County.

In all, more than 6,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers and their families will spend the weekend on the grounds of the James E. Ward Agricultural Center for an array of competitions and activities, according to representatives with the Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts of America.

Utilizing the most recent formula available to estimate the economic impact such an influx of visitors will have on the county, recently appointed Wilson County Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Terri Merryman said the number could approach $3.5 million - perhaps even more - over the two-day period.

"If you use the average and assume each family is made up of 2.2 people ... and that each person spends about $131 a day over two days, then it would be $3,458,400," Merryman said, noting the formula was based on guidelines issued in 2012 by Virginia-based D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a leading travel research firm that frequently works with tourism officials across the U.S.

As the 2013 formula will not be released by D.K. Shifflet & Associates until next week, Merryman added that - with the steady improvement of the nation's economy over the past year - the economic impact of this weekend's Middle Tennessee Jamboree could climb even higher.

Scouts representing 37 Tennessee counties as well as Ft. Campbell, Ky. will descend on the Ward Agricultural Center starting around mid-day on Friday, and events are scheduled throughout the weekend, including a special laser-light arena show scheduled for Saturday night.

The 268-acre Ward Agricultural Center will be open exclusively to Jamboree participants throughout the weekend. Organizers expect this year's Jamboree - which is held every four years in Wilson County - to be among the largest events ever held in the scouting organization's Middle Tennessee Council district.

Staff Writer Brian Harville may be contacted at bharville@wilsonpost.com.

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Boy Scouts, jamboree, James E. Ward Agricultural Center, Terri Merriman, Wilson County Fairgrounds, Wilson County Tourism
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