More than 800 Scouts and 150 leaders sharpened physical and spiritual skills June 21-25 at the Florida Book of Mormon Scout Camp.
Conducted at the 1,250-acre Sand Hill Scout Reservation, the event included a variety of physical activities, a special "mountain-top" experience, campfire programs and an Eagle Scout banquet. About 250 Varsity and Explorer Scouts participated in separate activities.The week's theme was evident even in the naming of the five camp groups: Nephi, Alma, Helaman, Mormon and Moroni.
Special guests were Elder Hartman Rector Jr. of the First Quroum of the Seventy, and Robert Arnold and Lowell Snow from the Young Men General Board.
Scout and priesthood leaders throughout Florida spent more then a year planning the camp, which was directed by Bruce E. Belnap, regional representative of the Tampa Florida Region.
Speaking to the entire group Saturday at the concluding campfire, Elder Rector emphasized the blessing of having a prophet on the earth.
"We are blessed to have a prophet living with us today," he said. "If we will follow his counsel, we will be happy, and we will be able to return to our Father in Heaven."
He encouraged the young men to heed President Benson's call to read the Book of Mormon, honor parents, remain morally clean, earn Duty to God and Eagle Scout awards and serve missions.
Arnold and Snow led the "mountain-top" sessions, set in solitude and designed to emphasize the importance of setting goals and overcoming obstacles en route to the top of a physical, spiritual or emotional "mountain."
Arnold showed Scouts a piece of uncut, raw iron and a finished, steel hunting knife. He explained that heating, grinding and polishing transformed the iron into a steel knife, and that the heat of challenges and grinding of adversity can result in a polished person.
The importance of listening to the Spirit was emphasized by Snow.
On one occasion, as he spoke, his words were muffled by a helicopter flying overhead. He capitalized on the opportunity to explain how distractions of the world result in loss of the Spirit. But, he added, prayer and reading the scriptures can bring about its return.
Snow encouraged Scouts to listen to their feelings and to follow those prompting them to do right.
Spiritual teachings were balanced with an abundance of rigorous physical activities through the week.
"From Tuesday to Saturday, we saw a lot of changes," noted Belnap. "Scouts learned to work together and improve their skills; leaders gained a greater appreciation for the Scouting program. We were all a little tired, but everyone was very happy."