President Ezra Taft Benson was presented the Bronze Wolf, highest award in international Scouting, at the priesthood session of general conference Saturday night.
A medallion, a framed certificate and a citation honoring the 89-year-old LDS Church leader were presented by Eugene F. Reid, a member of the Executive Committee of World Scouting Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland, and Edward C. Joullian III, Oklahoma City, international commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the international committee.The Bronze Wolf was instituted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting, and is the only international award given by the World Scouting Bureau. It is given for outstanding service to Scouting in a recipient's own country and other countries.
In reading the citation, Reid said President Benson is a member of the BSA's National Advisory Council and first joined Scouting as an assistant Scoutmaster, serving later as a Scoutmaster and on a number of regional and national committees and boards.
"He has served with distinction on the National Executive Committee, National Executive Board and National Council's International Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.
"As president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ezra Taft Benson has exerted vast influence of the church's strong support of Scouting throughout the world. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is today the largest sponsor of Scouting in the United States, and its relationship with Scouting in other countries is also strong. The World Scout Committee confers on Ezra Taft Benson the award of the Bronze Wolf for outstanding service to the Scout movement," Reid said.
Nearly 320,000 youth are registered in 23,277 LDS-sponsored Cub packs, Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams and Explorer posts in the United States. LDS Scouts and units are affiliated with 149 other Scouting organizations throughout the world, said Robert M. Mills, BSA's director of Mormon relationships.
Two Salt Lake area Scouts assisted at the awards presentation, Eagle Scouts Nathan Bay and Erick Oldroyd, both of Bountiful. Also representing BSA at the meeting were Julian Dyke, national director of public affairs; K. Hart Bullock, Great Salt Lake Council executive; and Boyd Ivie, Area 2 director.