Over the weekend I attended our Stake's young men encampment with the youth in my ward. It was a great time.
We went up on Thursday and set up camp. All the meals were provided for us so we didn't have to worry about that. During the program that night we heard from some of our Stake leaders about some of their missionary experiences.
After the program that night, we held a Venturing Silver Award review for one of my young men. He has been working very hard to finish everything and just completed the last of his requirements last week (First Aid certification). He wanted to do the review while we were there, so one of our other Venturers got a review committee together and did it. I'm quite certain he's the only one in our two local districts to have earned the Venturing Silver Award. I couldn't be happier for him.
On Friday morning, the Priests took a rafting trip down the river, while the Deacons and Teachers visited a nearby cave. I accompanied the Priests on the river. It was a lot of fun, even if I did get soaked. You see, it's not enough just to float down the river. You have to have a water fight the entire way. I was on a different boat than my young men so, naturally, they and their friends in a second boat teamed up against my boat. I'm not sure I could have been any wetter had I actually fallen in the river. But it was a really good trip.
We had another good program on Friday night, this time about Book of Mormon prophets. After the program we went back to our ward campsite and had a good spiritual discussion around the campfire. What a wonderful experience! We spent some time discussing our favorite parts of the camp and our Bishop told us a bit about what it took to plan the event. I took some time and talked to them about the name of the camp--Helaman's camp. It refers to a story in the Book of Mormon about 2,000 young men who take up arms to defend their country. I've given it a lot of thought recently and have come to the conclusion that they were Boy Scouts. Every description we are given of them fits the ideal that Scouting promotes for our young men. The reason we use the Scouting programs are to help our young men develop the kind of character that Helaman's 2,000 stripling warriors had. That's the real reason we do anything we do with our young men. We want to build men who will know the truth and are committed to. We want to build men who will be prepared to lead the church when their time comes. We want to prepare them so that when major decision points come to their life they will make the choices that will bring them the greatest happiness. That's what it's really all about.
On Saturday morning we packed up the camp, cleaned up the campsite and headed back down the mountain. It was a great event, and one I'm sure our young men will remember for a very long time.