Lorenzo "Ren" N. Hoopes, at age 97, received the 2010 Spirit of Scouting Award from the San Francisco Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America on Saturday, Oct. 9. The award recognized his 84 years in Scouting.
More than 250 guests attended the award ceremony at the Claremont Country Club in Oakland including Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, religious leaders of other faiths and members of the community.
Brother Hoopes began his Scouting experience in Brigham City, Utah, in 1925. Over the years, he served in various roles including troop scribe, senior patrol leader, assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster and troop committee chairman and held various district and council assignments. He received the Silver Beaver Award on Jan. 28, 1995.
In accepting the Spirit of Scouting award, he said, "What I have given to Scouting pales in comparison to what Scouting has done for me."
Brother Hoopes' Church service includes serving as president of the England Bristol Mission from 1979-1982, president of the Oakland California Temple, president of the Oakland California Stake and serving twice as a bishop.
Most of Brother Hoopes' professional career was spent with Safeway Inc., where he retired as a senior vice president and director of stores in 1979.
In 1953, during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he was granted an 18-month leave from Safeway to serve as the executive assistant to President Ezra Taft Benson, then the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
Brother Hoopes also served on the Oakland Board of Education for 17 years where he was president twice. Other boards he served on include: chairman and member of the Board of the Foundation for American Agriculture; vice chairman and member of the Board of the Farm Foundation; president and member of California's Coordinating Council for Higher Education; chairman, director, and secretary of the National Dairy Council; and chairman and member of the National Advisory Council.
Delivering the award ceremony's keynote address, Elder Clayton reflected on his own Scouting experience and that of his four sons, all of them Eagle Scouts. He described how when he was a teenager he got lost and spent the night alone on a boat on Lake Powell because he failed to bring a map, follow marker buoys or ask for directions. He explained how Boy Scouts is about rescuing youth before they need a "real rescue."
Scouting provides youth with a map for life and the most important map they can have is that of example, of a Scout leader who shows what a man looks and acts like, he said. The Scout Oath and Scout Law are like marker buoys, showing which way to go, he added. Scout leaders are there to talk to and provide direction.
A recent study cited by Elder Clayton showed that youth between the ages of 8-18 spend seven hours and 38 minutes each day using entertainment media of some type. "They aren't talking to adults and we are losing contact with this upcoming generation," Elder Clayton continued, saying that Scouting is counteracting that trend. It "provides a vehicle where men who are exemplary can reach out and help young men find their way," he said.
Brother Hoopes and his wife, Stella Sorensen Hoopes, who passed away in 1996, are the parents of two children, David C. Hoopes and the late Janet H. Washburn. They have seven grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.?
Brother Hoopes acknowledged that living up to the Scout Oath has served him well over his long and active life. He quipped that society would be a better place if all elected officials, and perhaps lawyers and doctors, were required to ascribe to and include it in their oaths of office, as well.
Richard S. Kopf, chairman of the board for the San Francisco Bay Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America, summarized nicely who Ren Hoopes is: "He is the epitome of Scouting."