1,000 Scouts visit city the Prophet founded -- Priesthood principles, Scouting skills blend

It had a two-pronged approach in developing young men: achievement of Scouting skills and magnifying priesthood power. These objectives were attained through a variety of service projects and a choice of 41 merit badges. In addition, many completed a 23-mile trek called the "Trail of the Martyrdom," which retraced the steps of the Prophet Joseph Smith from Nauvoo to Carthage Jail.

During the week, many Scouting units were involved in service projects. At least three groups gave up trail and event time to engage in service activities.

The first evening, a Saturday, all the Scouts attended the annual "City of Joseph" pageant at Nauvoo, the outdoor musical based on the Prophet Joseph Smith and Nauvoo, the city he founded in 1839 that served as Church headquarters until 1846.

The first opportunity for service occurred following the final performance of the pageant. Scouts put away thousands of folding chairs, then cleaned up the grounds, removing trash and fireworks debris.

And on the final day, several groups stripped bark from logs for the building of log houses in Historic Nauvoo and generally cleaned around the foundation areas.

On the grounds of Camp Eastman, the Scouts put together the COPE course with obstacles, ropes and blindfolds. COPE is an acronymn meaning Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience. Its activities are designed to build self- confidence and teamwork.

Other service projects included unloading food products from semi-trailer trucks that provided meals for camp participants and working on a daily newspaper, which was published and distributed throughout the camp to keep participants updated on events of the day and future calendar items.

Among the 200 adult leaders involved in training the young men were Elder Robert K. Dellenbach of the Seventy; Elder Bruce Bingham, an Area Authority Seventy; and K. Hart Bullock, director of LDS relationships for the Western Region of the Boy Scouts of America.

On Aug. 9, Elder Dellenbach spoke to the young men and challenged them to seek a personal testimony of the "four absolute truths" of the Book of Mormon that are found in the introduction: the Book of Mormon is true, Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Church is the Lord's Kingdom re-established on the earth.

He said that if one's testimony is on shaky ground, one should firm up the ground by studying, pondering, praying and testifying.

On Aug. 10, Elder Dellenbach conducted leadership training, counseling Scout leaders to bring the scriptures with them whenever they are with the boys and to teach them from the scriptures.

"Give them a spiritual experience every time you meet with them," he said.

He spoke of the parable of the prodigal son, and reminded them that they are all prodigal sons because everyone makes mistakes. "We come home to the Father while we are here, through prayer," he said.

One popular segment of training was daily missionary preparation. Elder Bingham said, "The encampment will be a success if we produce faithful missionaries, stronger fathers in the future, and the shakers and contributors of the local communities of tomorrow."

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