Boy Scouts keep busy at Encampment

Activities abound at the Rise Up 2013 Boy Scout Encampment near Firth. Scouts, leaders and staff moved in Wednesday.
On this hot June day, following the water truck and hoping to be sprayed by it was a happy activity.  
About 12,000 people are participating in the encampment, according to Brian Porter, media person for the Grant Teton Council. Three states are represented—Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. One scout is from Washington state.
The number of LDS stakes represented is 58, Porter said.
In the handicapped obstacle course, scouts used a wheelchair, crutches and a blindfold. Teams were made up of two scouts—one to use the wheelchair, the other to help.
Brian Pyper from Rexburg helped design this activity.
“I received the most help from the website, Center for Exceptional Students,” he said.
The wheelchair obstacle course was made from old conveyer belts. Scouts had to turn corners where the conveyer belts intersected.
“If the wheelchair gets off the path, it sinks in the dirt,” said Pyper.
After the wheelchair course came crutches. Scouts had to navigate a bridge and then a course outlined by railroad ties with trenches crossing it at various locations.
Next came the blindfold, where each scout directed his partner through the course.
“When it was the second scout’s turn, he understood why ‘follow the sound of my voice’ was not specific enough,” said Pyper.
The next game was one-arm volleyball where each player put one arm behind his back.
“Serving one-handed was hard for some people,” he said.
The final game was softball, played with an oversized ball with a beeper in it. The objective was to hit the ball. The difficulty was the game was played while the scouts were blindfolded.
“What made it difficult was you couldn’t tell where the ball was; whether it was high or low,” said Scout leader Randy Smith from Troop 217 in Blackfoot. “There was also the difficulty of hearing four different balls with different frequencies coming your way.”
Scouts could earn a Thomas Monson medallion at this encampment.
To earn the medallion, scouts had to give reasons why duty to God and country were stressed in Scouting and in the LDS Church, said Eagle Scout Ben Jones from Troop 214 in Rexburg.
“[Duty to God and country] gives you values,” he said. “It helps you prepare for your future.
“The encampment is awesome,” Jones said. “The games are well planned and it is well staffed.”
“Twenty-five years ago, I attended an encampment in Island Park,” said Varsity leader Ryan Murdoch from Troop 36 in Shelley. “I don’t remember many specifics but I do remember the prophet (Pres. Ezra Taft Benson) was there and that we passed sacrament.”
 “It’s fun to watch where I was 25 years ago,” he said. “This will impact them.
“It’s neat to watch the young men participate,” said Murdoch.