Encampment marks Idaho centennial

Youths urged to prepare to spread gospel to those gaining religious liberty

An estimated crowd of more than 9,000 enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Idaho Centennial Jubilee Boy Scout Encampment in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Organizers estimated that about 80 percent of the 7,200 Boy Scouts, Explorers, Varsity Scouts and Cub Scouts and leaders registered at the June 15-18 event were from units sponsored by LDS wards and branches. Many of the Scouts and leaders were accompanied by their families.Officials estimated that with families staying in the Cub Scout family camping area and with those not officially registered at the camp headquarters, there were between 9,000 and 10,000 in attendance.

For participants, the highlight of the four-day encampment was the visit of Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the Seventy, who is also Young Men general president.

The Centennial Jubilee was jointly organized by the six Boy Scout councils in Idaho.

Scouts traveled to the event, held at Elk Meadows near here, from Malad and Montpelier on the south, from Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry in the Idaho Panhandle, and from virtually all areas in-between.

The event was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Idaho's admission to the union as the 43rd state, which occurred on July 3, 1890.

Historians have credited early Mormon pioneers who migrated north from Utah with playing a major role in Idaho's bid for statehood.

Sunday services on June 17 were dampened only slightly by a cold breeze and light rain as some 6,000 LDS Scouts and their leaders gathered in a stadium-like bowl area that was once a gravel pit to hear from Elder Featherstone.

The meeting was conducted by Pres. Kyle Blacker of the Nampa Idaho Stake, with the assistance of Pres. Jay Neider of the Stanley Branch of the Salmon Idaho Stake.

After the sacrament was passed to the huge congregation, addresses were delivered by a deacon, teacher and priest selected from the group.

Elder Featherstone shared experiences with President Hugh B. Brown and Elder LeGrand Richards that he recalled from his early days as a General Authority. He commented on the worldwide changes experienced during the past several months and admonished the Scouts to prepare for their missions in spreading the gospel to people who only now are achieving religious freedom.

Rain that had threatened to shorten the services earlier ceased as he began to speak. A spirit of love and unity filled the cool mountain air as the group rose to sing "God Be with You" to close the meeting.

As they left the meeting, hundreds of young men filed past the speaker's platform to shake hands with Elder Featherstone.

Other events during the encampment included a patrol flag competition, a campwide game, a "Skill-O-Rally" featuring a display from each unit, council competition and field events, and a "Merit Badge Midway" allowing Scouts to begin completing merit badge requirements.

The Scout groups cleaned up, broke camp, and headed homeward June 18 with a renewed appreciation for nature, the blessings of 100 years of Idaho heritage, and the importance of Scouting as a companion program to the Aaronic Priesthood.

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