-- In the Boy Scouts' sprawling makeshift city of green and red tents, it's hard to tell that tragedy and a potentially fatal episode of mass heat exhaustion has unfolded.
The Scouts' quadrennial National Jamboree appears to have quickly returned to normal, and many Scouts and leaders say that this week's events have not distracted them very much from their daily schedule of scuba diving, sliding down a hillside of ping pong balls and, of course, trading patches.
"That's the nature of these kids. They don't fixate on the negative or frustrating aspects that adults do. They tend to work around it," said Renee L. Fairrer, a jamboree spokeswoman. "You have to take into account that we're building a city of nearly 50,000 people. There are going to be accidents, just by virtue of all of us being in an area."
On Wednesday, the Scouts postponed their opening arena show, an event that usually kick-starts the jamboree and that was supposed to feature a speech by President Bush. It was called off because of severe storms.
Then on Thursday, Bush's appearance and the arena show were canceled again by jamboree officials in order to give everyone a break.
"We feel our Scouts and leaders will benefit most from an opportunity to review and emphasize our safety procedures and replenish our resources," Jamboree Chairman Francis H. Olmstead Jr. said in a statement. "We want all participants to safely enjoy the many, many activities and programs at the Jamboree. Also, the drop in temperature is a welcome change which should provide an opportunity to refresh."
The scouts are hoping Bush can come Sunday for their closing arena show. But by last evening, they had received no word from the White House on whether he would appear.
It has been a turbulent week. A North Carolina man involved with the jamboree died of a heart attack walking on the grounds as the jamboree was beginning. On Monday, four Scout leaders from Alaska were killed when a pole they were holding to erect a dining canopy apparently hit a power line and they were electrocuted.
On Wednesday, as many of the scouts were waiting in nearly 100-degree heat at the base amphitheater for Bush to arrive, 306 people -- parents, Scouts and others -- suffered heat exhaustion, many of them collapsing on the ground.
Two people were hospitalized overnight. A jamboree spokesman said he did not know whether the two were Scouts or others. Most of the others were treated at an on-post medical facility.
The deaths jolted many Scouts out of their routine, but they also said the news has not dominated their minds as much as it has dominated the media.
"It's kind of like in the news, when you hear about people dying. You think, 'Oh, that's really terrible,' " said Andrew Richards, 12, a seventh-grader from Idaho Falls, Idaho. "But it doesn't really bug us because we didn't really know them."
Brett Gunter, 13, an eighth-grader, also from Idaho Falls, said Scouts have been talking about the deaths only when asked by reporters or parents or during evening prayer services. Details about this week's events are sketchy to them.
Brett said he thought two people had died from dehydration, when in fact, they had only been hospitalized.
He spoke about the deaths and their implications.
"There's a rumor going around here that if there's 10 deaths this week, everyone's going to have to go home. But I don't think that's going to happen. The jamboree goes on."
Many Scouts said that the cases of heat exhaustion are more distressing than the leaders' deaths because they seem closer to home. It's harder to relate to electrocution, they said.
Many expressed gratitude for cooler weather and hoped that Bush could carve out a little time for them Sunday. When they leave next week, they said, they will come away with a newfound appreciation for water, which they have been reminded to drink frequently.
"I'm definitely going to bring a Nalgene [water container] everywhere with me from now on," said Andrew Clouse, 14, of Greensboro, N.C.