KAMAS — A few months ago, Boy Scout leaders from across the country gathered at the home of Scouting’s National Jamboree in West Virginia to break ground on a future leadership center that will be named for LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson.
On Wednesday, two time zones removed from West Virginia, a completed structure at northern Utah’s Hinckley Scout Ranch was dedicated. That 18,000-square-foot building also bears the name of the 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It’s little surprise that a pair of Boy Scout buildings on opposite ends of the country will share the same name. President Monson has been a champion and a leader of the storied adventure and achievement program for boys for several decades.
Government, business and religious leaders gathered at the sprawling Uinta Mountains campground Wednesday to dedicate the Thomas S. Monson Lodge. President Monson was unable to attend, but he shared his thoughts about the building and its purposes in a brief recorded message.
“May all of us who serve in Scouting be reminded of the need to provide solid foundations upon which our youth can build their lives and serve God, country and their fellow men,” he said.
President Monson’s first counselor in the church's First Presidency, President Henry B. Eyring, dedicated the lodge, which will be used for Scout gatherings, leadership training and other youth-related events.
Prior to offering the dedicatory prayer, President Eyring remarked that lives will be improved because of the Thomas S. Monson Lodge.
“Hundreds of leaders and thousands of young people will have experiences that will lift their lives to a higher plane,” he said. “People from different backgrounds will come together in a unity of purpose.”
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who also participated in Wednesday's ceremony, said being at the Hinckley Scout Ranch allowed him to reflect on his own experiences in a Boy Scout uniform.
“My Scouting days helped me go from adolescence to manhood,” he said.
Herbert praised the many businesses and individuals whose collaboration made the lodge possible. “It’s a great tribute to the state of Utah and to you,” he said.
Owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America's Great Salt Lake Council, the camp is named for Bryant S. Hinckley, who played a key role in the LDS Church partnering with the BSA over a century ago.
Financing for the $5.5 million Thomas S. Monson Lodge was made possible by several donors, including its primary donor, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.
“The Sorensons were enthusiastic to have the lodge named after President Monson because of his long years as a member of the BSA National Executive Board, his efforts as a champion of youth and his position as the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” President Eyring said.
The multistoried lodge features a grand entrance, a kitchen, a Scoutmaster training room, a trading post and the spacious “King Husein Room,” which will be utilized for training events, banquets and Wood Badge courses.
F. Timothy and Joan Fenton of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation both spoke of James and Beverly Sorenson’s love for President Monson and their admiration for Scouting.
President Monson’s son-in-law, Roger A. Dibb, represented the Monson family at the event.
“Thomas S. Monson,” he said, “advocates Scouting because he believes in young men and knows they can make a difference in the world.”
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