By Joel Zabriskie
Dec 06, 2014

Our Stake Encampment

Joel Zabriske

President Joel Zabriskie, Highland UT former LDS Stake President

In early 2005 I discussed the possibilities of holding a Wood Badge course that could be designated for the Scout leaders in my LDS stake with Doug Muir. He was serving as the Wood Badge Coordinator for the Utah National Parks Council, and had experience doing this with his home stake as well as a few other stakes. He explained the required logistics of such an endeavor, and we made plans to hold a course in July of 2006.

My counsellors, Lynn Bullock and Gordon Glade, were very supportive of this possibility. President Glade, with his assignment for the youth of the stake, shouldered the main responsibility of implementation.

We expanded this to a stake encampment by adding training for the Aaronic Priesthood, including two Timberline courses for 13 year olds, a Varsity All Stars course for the 14 and 15 year olds, and a Kodiak course for those 16 through 18. In addition we held a camp for the 12 year olds who participated in camp activities and merit badge classes.


National Youth Leader Trainees (NYLT) prepare rockets for launching while practicing planning leadership skills

Working with the council, plans were finalized to conduct these activities in July 2006 at Bacon Park near Roosevelt, Utah. This posed some obstacles to overcome since the camp isn’t as fully developed as other council camps. It required a coordinated effort from stake leaders and council staff.

Even though I had previously served on staff for Wood Badge and Timberline training courses, I chose to visit each of the locations as Stake President. The stake leaders and council staff had planned and prepared all aspects of what was needed. With that trust in place I wanted to express appreciation to all who made the effort and sacrifice to conduct and participate in the training and activities. I also wanted to share a few of my experiences from my Scouting background with the youth of the stake so the values of Scouting could be reinforced.

After the encampment we evaluated all that happened. We determined this should be held every four years so each young man would have this experience at least once during their teenage years. We also planned other improvements and changes.

The future will tell what positive impact this will make in the lives of the youth and leaders. This was a very rewarding experience.

Author: Joel Zabriskie | Comptroller at Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America

Be sure to read this follow up to Joel’s posting. . .

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One thought on “Our Stake Encampment

  1. AvatarHoward Bangerter

    Here is a follow up to Joel’s posting. . .

    As successors to President Zabriskie in the Highland Utah East Stake, we wanted to ensure that we followed up the 2006 Encampment, in order to avail ourselves of the blessings that came from the original. We finally did it in the summer of 2012.

    Logistically, we altered the format slightly, in that we were able to secure Beaver High Adventure Base as a single venue for the entire encampment. We did our own Merit Badge camp, Timberline, Kodiak High Adventure (for ages 14-18), and a Wood Badge course. I chose to have myself be assistant quartermaster on the Wood Badge course held in the BHAB lodge, which was central to all the other activities. This allowed me to be near each group and interact with them in a rather free-flowing way, all week. My counselors were either on Wood Badge staff, or spent several days up at camp (a special shout-out to Gordon Glade, former counselor to President Zabriskie and my 1st Counselor, for sharing the vision with us newbies, and for providing inspired leadership and vision; wonderful help from Len Brunsdale as well as so many others who put their heart and soul into this powerful activity).

    A pre-requisite for all adult participants was Wood Badge certification, and we had over 40 people obtain WB before the encampment.

    What a remarkable experience this was! We had boys and leaders all over the place, doing everything from merit badges to hiking mountain peaks, mountain biking, mule riding, canoeing, white-water rafting, rock climbing, shooting, archery, ‘hawks and knives, etc. (One enterprising leader even brought up live chickens, which Teacher-age boys were able to prepare for dinner, from start to finish – an unforgettable experience!) While we found that doing it every 4 years proved a challenge, we were able to repeat it after 6 years, thereby giving each young man this experience.

    Thanks, Joel, for laying the foundation for a great work! Your template was our model, and yes, we will do it again!


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