Boy Scouts from 11 troops in Virgin Valley sponsored by the Mesquite Nevada Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in summer camp at Kolob near Zion National Park the week of June 20 -25. Seventy scouts ages 12-14 went camping and twenty scouts ages 15-16 went as junior staff to help with camp activities.
Each morning started with a flag ceremony and a patriot story. Nearly 300 merit badges were earned including first aid, environmental science, archery, rifle shooting, wilderness survival, scouting heritage, emergency preparedness, orienteering, leather work, wood carving and basketry.
Eleven-year-old scouts were invited to come Tuesday and Wednesday staying overnight on Tuesday to earn one night for their camping merit badge. They worked on their trail to first class rotating through six stations learning maps, first aid, identification of plants, knot tying and fire starting among other things. Jeff Hughes, a counselor, spent many hours helping the 11-year old scouts pass their scout rank, tenderfoot, and second class ranks.
The scouts did a 5-mile hike from the top of Kolob down the mountain to Kolob Kamp the first day. After setting up camp they had five rotations of fun and games consisting of knot tying, water balloon contest, a trust fall and other skills.
Wednesday they had a flag retirement ceremony with President David Leavitt as the MC. He told the story of the battle of Fort McHenry in 1814 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. He also told the story of the prisoner of war in Vietnam who after being punished for having a tiny American flag sewn inside his shirt returned to his cell and immediately started sewing a new American flag with a bamboo needle.
Cody Law taught the scouts how to start a fire with a bow; many of the scouts tried this and were successful and earned a bead. They also earned beads for learning knot tying with David Leavitt. Mike Kazek did the cooking for the junior staff and taught some cooking skills. Mark Larson, a varsity scout serving on the junior staff, helped the younger scouts with their shelters for the wilderness survival merit badge. “I was really impressed with the shelters they built for sleeping in the forest,” Kazek said.
“The crawdad cook was awesome,” said Jaron Hafen. “There were lots of crawdads to catch at the reservoir and David Leavitt helped us cook them; they were awesome!”
Friday the scouts went to Kolob Reservoir for water activities with canoe races, learning how to swamp the canoe and right it again. The scouts built a raft by tying logs together and attempted to row it to the other side of the lake.
Campfire programs in the evening included skits, run-on and songs by each troop. Thursday night the scouts participated in the Honor Trail and one night they had a scavenger hunt. “A great deal of thanks goes to all the merit badge counselors and teachers for making Kolob a great week,” said Art Shaner, program director for the summer scout camp.