SALT LAKE CITY — The headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America may be in Texas, but the \"capital\" of the BSA is in Utah.
what Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell said at what was believed to be the
largest gathering of Scouts and leaders in the nation to celebrate
American Scouting's centennial.
2,500 Scouters gathered Thursday night in the Grand Ballroom of the
Salt Palace Convention Center for a sold-out anniversary gala,
sponsored by the Great Salt Lake Council of the BSA. It was truly the
celebration of a century, amid an ocean of Scout uniforms.
a hoot! Look at this,\" Robert \"Bob\" Mazzuca, the chief Scout
executive/CEO of the Boy Scouts of America from Irving, Texas, said in
amazement as he looked at the huge audience as its keynote speaker.
For the fifth consecutive year, he said, the number of Eagle Scouts earned in the nation increased.
the record-high 52,470 Eagle Scout awards earned in the United States
during 2009, 5,640 of them — almost 10.8 percent of the total — came
\"We did not make it less difficult,\" Mazzuca said. \"Something is working out here.\"
reflected on the century of progress in Scouting, but stressed it is
really all about the future and the challenges that lie ahead.
are 50 million living (Scout) alumni out there. The need is enormous,\"
he said as he explained that Scouting is needed today more than ever.
rare \"Honor Medal with Crossed Palms\" award was also given at the gala
to two council Scouts, Cole H. Carlstrom and Clayton S. Holding. They
had both risked their lives to try and save Cole's mother in what
proved to be a fatal fall for her on Mount Olympus.
\"Spirit of the Eagle\" award was also given posthumously to Pfc. Aaron
Thomas Nemelka. a former Scout in the council, who lost his life at
Fort Hood last November in the service of his country.
Earlier Thursday, a special Scouting in Utah report was given to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert at the state Capitol.
is strong in Utah,\" the report states, with 189,920 youth involved;
95,390 adult volunteers and 14,794 Scout units in the state.
Scouts in Utah — through its three Scout councils (Great Salt Lake,
Trapper Trails and National Parks Council) — provided 1.2 million hours
of community service during 2009, valued at nearly $25 million.
Scouts also earned 219,765 merit badges last year, and public
contributions to Scouting in 2009 totaled nearly $7.3 million through
the Friends of Scouting program.
is so important as it influences our young people,\" Herbert said. If
we're concerned about the future, look to our youths and make sure they
get into Scouting, he stressed.
He also signed a proclamation declaring this week as a historic occasion for celebrating a century of American Scouting.
The BSA was incorporated on Feb. 8, 1910.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, himself an Eagle Scout and recipient
of the Silver Beaver award, conducted the report meeting with the
\"It (Scouting) all started
with the good turn in England,\" he said, explaining Scouting is a great
tradition and something he loves.
also read portions from a 1933 Boy Scout handbook that belonged to his
father, that gave examples from that era for doing a good turn. They
included: putting out a forest fire; taking a live wire to the curb;
setting a dog free from a trap; giving water to a crippled dog; or
helping an elderly woman across the street.
Some Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from the National Parks Council were dressed in vintage uniforms at the event.