They descended from most corners of Utah's Wasatch Front, 12,000 Boy Scouts and their leaders migrating with their tents and Dutch ovens to Swaner Ranch to celebrate the fourth and concluding Utah Centennial Heritage Jamboral of the Great Salt Lake Council Sept. 20-21.
"The sea of blue hats was quite a sight," said Steve Luna, event adviser and a member of the Kearns 8th Ward, Kearns Utah South Stake, as he looked over the throng of Scouts who were standing – sardine-like – during the Saturday morning ceremony where President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency was the featured speaker. (See separate article on this page.)The Heritage Jamboral series was created in 1990 by the Great Salt Lake Council, in the spirit of the national Boy Scout jamboree, "to help Scouts identify with the rich heritage of the state as part of the state's centennial," Brother Luna said.
Held every two years since 1990, the jamboral has emphasized some aspect of the state's uniqueness, such as the famous people, places and events of Utah.
This year's jamboral highlighted the state's 29 counties. Scout troops were encouraged to visit major sites in the different counties in preparation for the jamboral. The Scouts were also encouraged to earn the Utah Heritage Award, which required a study of the state's symbols, history, culture, as well as a service project.
The culmination of events came during the weekend jamboral where Scouts participated in 22 events such as bike-a-thons, hatchet throws, wall rappelling and four-way tug-of-wars.
"It is important for each Scout to see that he is part of something bigger," said Brother Luna, "part of something special. We want them to rub shoulders with 12,000 other boys who have the same attitudes and values as they do," said Brother Luna.
By late Saturday afternoon, after the make-shift tent city had been torn down and carted away, "only footprints and matted grasses remained," Brother Luna said. "There was enthusiasm for good, effective Scouting."