Submitted by Mesquite LDS Public Affairs

Eighty boy scouts from Virgin River Valley District ages 11-14 spent a week at Camp Konear Zion National Park. Scout and leaders represented 10 troops sponsored by the Mesquite Nevada Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  The first day the scouts hiked into camp about 2 miles and on Tuesday the 11year olds went on a 5 mile hike up a winding steep road through the forest.  Scouts worked on requirements for merit badges including: rifle shooting, archery, pioneering, first aid, basketry, leather-work, camping and environmental science. Older scouts came and helped as members of the junior staff.  Eleven-year-old scouts came for an overnight and to work on trail to first class and did a service project to clean Camp Kolob.

Thirty scouts worked on their wilderness survival merit badge by going on an overnight hike, building their own shelter and sleeping alone in the wilderness.  An award for the best shelter was given to Hyrum Baker.  On Friday the scouts went to Kolob Reservoir and worked on canoeing and swimming merit badges.  During the week they also had time to do a COPE course consisting of trust events and challenges and rope and obstacle course that sometimes required thinking backward to return to the starting point.  COPE course was a Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience especially when they were challenged to do it blindfolded.   Another afternoon the boys divided into two teams and played capture the flag using 3 giant flags.  Other activities included a water slide down the hill into the meadow, campfire programs with skits, songs and run ons.

All the scouts participated in the honor trail stopping at 12 stations where leaders taught them about each of the 12 points of the scout law and how to use that point in their daily living. One morning at 5:15 am, the boys went to Kolob Reservoir and did a polar bear plunge. Coming up out of the water, they had to say the scout oath and coming up again they had to repeat the Scout Law in order to earn their Polar Bear Award.

Every morning the boys had a flag ceremony.  A most memorable flag retirement ceremony was held one evening when the scouts retired 50 flags in a very reverent, patriot meeting where David Leavitt explained the symbolism of the flag and the colors and how it is folded. With a large battalion flag unfurled, they all joined in singing the Star-Spangled Banner.   Leavitt further explained that the blue represents heaven and reminds the scouts that God set this land of America apart to be a place of freedom.  Fifty scouts each holding a furled flag to their chest walked to the fire and laid the flag reverently in a spot while David Leavitt played taps and Brian Mickelson played the echo from a nearby hill.