By Andrew Olsen
Mar 09, 2015

Keepers of the Flame Help Scouting Thrive in our Council

When I was a Varsity Scout, my father was our Varsity Coach, and we had some great experiences together. One of the Scouting outings that has always stuck out in my mind was a week-long backpacking trek in the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming. Our plan was to hike on the Elkhart Trailhead up into the Titcomb Basin while carrying all the supplies we needed for this adventure on our backs! While I was packing my backpack for this trip, my mom slipped into my room and said, “Andrew, don’t you think you will want to take a stocking cap with you…it may get cold up there?” I looked at her with all the determination, stubbornness and know-it-all I had in me and said, “That’s ok, mom, I can pack my own bag.”

Olsens camping at the Wind Rivers

Olsens camping at the Wind River Mountain Range

Sheesh, if I had only known how many nights I could have used that hat to keep my head warm! I was not prepared. Our last night up there was the coldest night we had. All the water bottles in camp froze solid! I woke up in the morning with my head crammed against the side of the frosted tent. When I sat up my hair was crispy…and had actually frozen to the side of the tent. I remembered the kind imploring of my mother asking if I wanted to take a stocking cap with me, because it might get cold. Then my own stubborn words seemed to resound in my ears…”I can pack my own bag, mom!” As a 14-year-old, I thought I knew everything…I wish I had listened to my mom!

Thunder Ridge range 1

New Thunder Ridge shooting range

Fast-forward 18 years, and now I am working for the Boy Scouts of America as a Development Director to help raise funds to support the quality Scouting programs and build new buildings, ropes courses, and zip lines at the camps we have in the Utah National Parks Council. Just over a year ago, we started a new giving Society called the Keepers of the Flame. Thank you for joining with us as a member of the Keepers of the Flame. It is only through your support that we ensure that Scouting will thrive in our council. I would like to highlight a couple fellow members of the Keepers of the Flame so you can meet some of the other dedicated Scouters that share the same passion for Scouting as you.

Ryan Bertram at the Summit during National Jamobree

Ryan Bertram at the Summit during National Jamobree

Ryan Bertram has spent 13.5 years in Scouting, with six years as a youth and seven and a half years as a professional Scouter. Scouting was a big part of his family growing up and Ryan said that his grandfather and his uncle were both Eagle Scouts. When I asked Ryan why he gives to Scouting, he told me, “It sounds a bit cliché, but this is the only job I have ever had where I know I am making a difference. That’s why I support the program.” One of Ryan’s favorite Scouting memories was the time his troop took a trip to Colorado in 1990 and they had a bunch of bears in their camp! Also he said he had the opportunity to lead a Philmont Trek in 2014 and that was a great experience.

Gailen Vick loves Scouting and knows the positive impact that it has on boys in helping them to become great leaders. Gailen volunteers as the Fund Development Chair for the Porter Rockwell District (in the Lehi area) and was amongst the first members of the Keepers of the Flame. His time in Scouting as a youth was very brief, yet had a major impact on his life and spiritual convictions. Gailen had a wise Scoutmaster who encouraged him to pray to know for himself if God and Jesus Christ were real. When he prayed, he received an answer that forever changed his life.

Gailen Vick emphasizes that "some of the best leaders we have today are our boys in Scouting."

Gailen Vick emphasizes that “some of the best leaders we have today are our boys in Scouting.”

Years later, when Gailen was married, he and his wife joined the LDS Church, and he was not very familiar with Scouting. He was called into the bishopric and asked to work with Primary and Cub Scouting. He was also asked to serve as Committee Chair. While serving in these positions, he saw the positive affect Scouting had on his kids and other boys. He received a testimony of why it is important for families to be involved in Scouting. He is a staunch believer that “Scouting helps boys to grow up emotionally, learn how to make friends,” and know how to overcome hard things. As we concluded our conversation, Gailen told me “some of the best leaders we have today are our boys in Scouting.” Gailen is one of the strongest advocates for Scouting I know. We sure appreciate the work he does and the numbers of other volunteers who are dedicated to help Scouting thrive here in Utah.

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Shaun Heaton received the Silver Beaver Award in 2013

Shaun Heaton has been involved in Scouting for about 30 years as a youth and adult volunteer. He is an Eagle Scout and Silver Beaver, yet he says the most important award he has received in Scouting is a thank you from a boy. He was actively involved in Scouting in his youth and says he is “eternally grateful to his Scoutmasters, Brother Hatch and Brother Lee. Shaun said that he gives to

Scouting because it gave him confidence in life and he wants it to instill the same confidence in his own boys. Shaun had a hard time thinking of his favorite Scouting memory, because he had several to choose from. Finally, he determined it was the Scout camp-out he went on to the island of Tahiti! He was a Scout leader in the group and said it took them just over a year to get ready for this trip. They camped out at Moorea on Beaches of Bora Bora for about 10 days. They had so much fun camping there that they went back about three years later. He has also participated in three National Jamborees which were all great and wonderful experiences. All six of his boys are Eagles, five of whom have served missions and one more to come. Thanks to great Scout leaders like Shaun, young Scouts can be inspired to do great things in Scouting.

Thank you for all you do to support Scouting. Thank you for being a member of the Keepers of the Flame!

Not a Keeper of the Flame yet? For more information and to donate, go to our website.

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Author: Andrew Olsen | Development Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

 

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