Five Boy Scouts receive the Thomas S. Monson Award

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014
Five Boy Scouts receive the Thomas S. Monson Award Photo 1 of 2
Three of five Boy Scouts from Trapper Trails Troop 293 receive the Thomas S. Monson Award at a Mass at Saint James the Just Parish. IC photos/Christine Young
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

OGDEN — Five Boy Scouts from Trapper Trails Troop 293 at Saint James the Just Parish in Ogden were the only Scouts in Utah who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to receive the Thomas S. Monson Award.

Benjamin McCraw, Jonathan Robbins, Sam Lecain, Riley Crezee and Anthony Kowalcayk were the Scouts to earn the knot.

McCraw, Robbins and Lecain were presented with the award during a Feb. 16 Mass at Saint James the Just Parish. Father Erik Richtsteig, pastor, and Deacon Herschel Hester, Trapper Trails executive council board member and Diocese of Salt Lake City Committee on Scouting chairman, presented the award. Crezee and Kowalcayk were not present.

"We wanted to support the partnership the LDS Church has with the Boy Scouts of America and encouraged the boys to pursue the award," said Freeman Robbins, Troop 293 scout master.

Thomas S. Monson is the president of the LDS Church; the award is part of the centennial celebration of the relationship between the LDS Church and the Boy Scouts of America and the award is available to all Scouts and Scouters independent of religion.

"The Thomas S. Monson Award is significant in that it fosters good will and cohesiveness among all of the various faiths in the State of Utah, even though its genesis is from the LDS faith," said George Hall, Trapper Trails Council president.

The idea of pursuing the Thomas S. Monson Award began when a portion of the "2013 Duty to God" Scout video was shot by the LDS Church during a fundraiser for the Cathedral of the Madeleine at which some LDS dignitaries were present, said Deacon Hester.

"The focus of the video was on the scouts’ duty to God, coming from the scout oath and then the 12th point of the Scout Law – the scout is reverent," said Deacon Hester. "That is why they wanted to shoot the film in chapels, and had the scouts do the sign of the cross at the baptismal font, genuflect before the altar and kneel before entering the pew."

Following the filming of the video was a series of Boy Scout camporees focused on the 100-year heritage of scouting in the LDS Church and scouting in general, including its founding by Lord Baden-Powell, said Deacon Hester.

To earn the award, the Boy Scouts in Troop 293 read the 100-year history of Scouting in the LDS Church, and the conference talk "Run, Boy, Run," by Thomas S. Monson. The scouts also visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and completed requirements toward the Family Life merit badge.

The Family Life merit badge gave the Scouts an opportunity to "stop and think about the family and ways to strengthen it by being a part of it," said Lecain. "It was nice to do a merit badge with my family."

McCraw found it interesting to learn about how others connect their faith to scouting, he said. "The LDS Scouts connect the 13 Articles of Faith of their religion with the Scout Oath; so they connect scouting with their religion," he said.

Catholics, on the other hand, put things together differently, said Lecain. "Catholics learn about scouting and its opportunities and learn about faith and then learn about faith through scouting," he said.

Robbins liked the way the Catholics and the LDS Scouts came together as one and put their beliefs aside to form one community, he said. "It was fun working together."

The Scouts said they enjoyed visiting the Norman Rockwell exhibit and the genealogy library.

"I really enjoyed the paintings and we got to meet a World War II veteran who was a scout," said McCraw.

The veteran talked about how his "basic scouting experience helped him a lot more than the other soldiers who didn’t know how to put up a tent or start a campfire," said Lecain.


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