ST. GEORGE – Boy Scout officials are planning a “Spectacular” this month that showcases local talent and civic service to raise funds for upgrading a Hurricane campsite that will be available for a variety of community activities.
The April 16 Spectacular will include a musical preview of upcoming shows at Tuacahn and a speech by St. George native Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of Twelve Apostles and the namesake of the central student commons building on the Dixie State University campus.
The Heritage Choir will also perform, and there will be a tribute to the mothers of Eagle Scouts as well as a speech by local entrepreneur Hyrum Smith.
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Plans for the campsite include construction of a central pavilion with kitchen facilities, as well as sleeping cabins, showers, restrooms and an outdoor amphitheater that will be available for a fee to different organizations and not restricted to scouting activities, said Paul Tikalsky, the Boy Scouts of America’s field director over the 5-county area including Washington, Iron, Beaver, Garfield and Kane.
There will also be structures established for some outdoor activities on the approximately 87-acre property nestled between the Virgin River and the Quail Creek Reservoir, including a rope course and zip line, and support for rappelling, mountain biking and canoeing.
“There’s already been probably $250,000 to $300,000 put into the property,” Tikalsky said Thursday. “We want it to be opened up for all. … Right now, we have groups signing up out there all the time even though there’s just a big grass field and concrete pads where the cabins are going to go.”
The BSA plans to raise $1 million, some of which will fund an endowment to maintain the camp throughout the coming years, Tikalsky said. Tickets for the Spectacular range from $5 to $40.
“This is a family event. It’s not just for scouts,” Tikalsky said.
The event will take place at DSU’s Burns Arena, and the tickets are available from Dixie State’s ticket office, not from the Scouting Office, he said.
The Spectacular will include presentation of the national Distinguished Eagle Scout award to SkyWest Airlines CEO Jerry Atkin by Holland, who is also a Distinguished Eagle Scout recipient. Tikalsky said he believes they are the only two in Southern Utah.
“There’s, like, 500 of them in the entire nation. … We think it’s very neat that we’re honoring somebody here locally of (that) caliber,” Tikalsky said. “They have to do great things within the community, but (also) across the entire country. And Jerry obviously qualifies for that.”
The Utah National Parks Council encompassing southwest Utah stretches as far north as Utah County and is the largest scouting council in the country, serving about 89,000 youth. Mesquite Boy Scouts also became part of the council starting this year, after more than 40 years under the Las Vegas council.
“We have over 14,000 youths just in this area from Beaver to Mesquite, and over 5,000 volunteers. That’s bigger than most councils,” Tikalsky said.
Holland’s participation underscores the strong ties between the BSA and the LDS church.
“It is a little unique,” Tikalsky said. “(The LDS apostles) are very careful about tying into fundraisers.”
The vast majority of the Scouting organizations under Tikalsky’s direction are LDS church-affiliated groups, although there is a large troop associated with the St. George Catholic Church as well as a Catholic pack, plus there are some “specialty” Explorer groups such as the Law Enforcement Explorers affiliated with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, he said.
The camp is named after Marion D. Hanks, a deceased LDS Church general authority who served as a member of the BSA’s national council as well as on the board of Southern Utah University, and he was also a president over the LDS mission in which Holland served as a youth.
Local scouts attend summer camps in the mountains above Beaver and in Sanpete County, but the Hurricane camp presents an opportunity for snow-bound youths to come to Washington County during winter months, Tikalsky said.
Author: Kevin Jenkins \ Reporter at The Spectrum & Daily News
Follow Kevin Jenkins, @SpectrumJenkins
Story and picture used with permission