About 2,300 Scouts and Scouters from the Greater Kansas City area braved rain and thunderstorms at Theodore Naish Scout Reservation to participate in a Centennial Camporee on March 8-9 celebrating the relationship between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America for the last 100 years.
During the historic event at Camp Naish, said to be the largest gathering ever there, the Scouts commemorated what Scouting has done to improve lives over the last century by participating in a myriad of events, including outdoor activities, educational booths and displays, and chatting with visiting dignitaries.
There were plenty of hands-on activities during the day. Zachary Terry, an Eagle Scout from Leavenworth, Kan., toured the activity sites and said there were many fun things to do, but his favorite activity was throwing tomahawks. “The trick to throwing a tomahawk is keeping your wrist straight,” he said. Terry said the “hands on” application at the various activities made the camporee an enjoyable experience. He also commented on the midway where numerous displays were available. One display in particular, the Nova program, caught his eye because of his interest in science, mathematics and engineering. “It provided insights about job opportunities,” Terry said.
The highlight events were a mid afternoon presentation and evening firesides where participants enjoyed guest speakers discussing the significance of Scouting, the values taught and the opportunities Scouting offers.
Several dignitaries visited the camporee, to include Randall Ridd, a member of the Young Men general board for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Donald and Jackie Keyes, president of the Missouri Independence Mission; Alvin Townley, nationally acclaimed author; and Kendrick Miller, Scout Executive for the Heart of America Council. Local church leaders also visited with their Scouts.
Planning for the camporee required a concentrated effort for the organizers and staff. Camporee co-organizer, Niel Campbell, said, “This has been a year in the process working with a great group of volunteers on the Centennial Committee whose number one goal has been to provide a memorable experience for the young men.”
When asked about the outcome of the event for Scouts and Scouters Campbell replied, “Everyone had a great time and an enjoyable experience, while understanding the rich history that the Church and the Boy Scouts of America share.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints formally affiliated with Scouting in the United States as its first institutional sponsor on June 13, 1913. Today, the church sponsors more Scouts and Scouting units in the U.S. than any other organization. Hundreds of thousands of young men are enrolled in groups or units sponsored by the Church.
Campbell’s advice to anyone planning such an activity, “start planning early.”
- Story by Jeffrey Wingo