the keepers of the flame
By Julia Thompson
Mar 26, 2018

The Keepers of the Flame: What it Actually Means

The Keepers of the Flame

The Boy Scouts of America has been shaping the lives of youth around the country since 1910. You, our generous supporters, have been making this happen. The Utah National Parks Council is grateful for all of the donors, volunteers, and sponsors who support Scouting avidly in our community. We are especially thankful for the members of the Keepers of the Flame. 

The Keepers of the Flame is a giving society dedicated to Scouting. They provide vital financial support that is essential to the strength and legacy of Scouting in the state of Utah. They perpetuate Scouting by providing the resources necessary for Scouting programs, camps, facilities, and other activities.

To honor those who give, artist Jon McNaughton created Sacred Fire. This masterpiece displays Scouting founder Sir Robert Baden-Powell around a campfire with LDS Prophets involved in Scouting. Each new member of the Keepers of the Flame receives this painting.

Eric Dowdle Painting

the keepers of the flame

Last year renowned folk artist Eric Dowdle also created a piece recognizing Scout supporters in our community. Some of our staff, notable donors, and members of the Keepers of the Flame are depicted in this painting turned puzzle.

Donor Appreciation Days

the keepers of the flame

Being a member of the Keepers of the Flame also means you are invited to special events hosted by our Council. Some of these events include groundbreakings, exclusive camp events, and Donor Appreciation Days. There will be an upcoming event at Maple Dell Scout Camp in June where Keepers and their family will be welcomed to our busiest camp. They will enjoy dinner and networking while having the opportunity to fly down the zip-line and let arrows go at our new archery range.

The Boy Scouts of America help our youth build character, become participating citizens, develop personal fitness, and learn to do hard things. You can help invest in the future of Scouting by joining the Keepers of the Flame.


Author: Julia Thompson | Marketing and Fund Development Associate, Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America

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8 thoughts on “The Keepers of the Flame: What it Actually Means

  1. AvatarPaul

    Some background on the meaning of the “Keepers of the Fire”
    The Pottawatomi /ˌpɑːtəˈwɑːtəmiː/,[1] also spelled Pottawatomie and Potawatomi (among many variations), are a Native American people of the Great Plains, upper Mississippi River and Western Great Lakes region. They traditionally speak the Potawatomi language, a member of the Algonquian family. The Potawatomi were part of a long-term alliance, called the Council of Three Fires, with the Ojibwe and Odawa (Ottawa). In the Council of Three Fires, the Potawatomi were considered the “youngest brother” and were referred to in this context as Bodéwadmi, a name that means “keepers of the fire” and refers to the council fire of three peoples.

  2. AvatarEdward Huntington

    Jon McNaughton’s’s work is painting, but it is not a “masterpiece.” Far from it I would say.

    1. AvatarJulia Thompson Post author

      Why don’t you think it is a masterpiece? I would love to hear your analysis. Are you an artist?

      1. AvatarEdward Huntington

        Why yes I am! I also majored in Humanities at BYU, and determining what is and is NOT a masterpiece is essential to anybody’s artistic education.

        A true “masterpiece” is not simply a work of art that people like. In fact many artist live and die never creating what could truly be called a masterpiece, and even among the greatest artists, not everything they do is considered to be such either. In fact, of the great artists most will produce maybe one or two pieces in their entire lifetimes that can be considered their “masterpiece.” It is the work that serves as the cumulation of all their skill, all their training, and all their talent at the height of their artistic powers, the work so great and so technically and expressively magnificent that it can truly be called the epitome of all a master’s labors.

        You could call Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa a masterpiece, or Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, or Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise. Scholars and connoisseurs continue to debate whether Michelangelo’s masterpiece was the Sistene Chapel or the Pieta, or even David – but while all of these artists’ other works could be considered a “masterpiece” when compared with the general quality of art today, not all of their works are – a masterpiece is something special, something even a true master couldn’t replicate himself.

        So to call this painting a “masterpiece” is pure hyperbole. The sentiment behind it is noble enough, but the actual artistic execution is nothing extraordinary, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Simply calling it a “lovely painting” in no way diminishes the effort of the artist or the support its gifting represents. But we don’t do the painting, nor the Keepers of the Flame, any good by exaggerating the quality of McNaughton’s efforts. This is not a critisism, but an explanation – some donors might be wary of being “over-sold” on the idea of giving so generously, but by being upfront about what they are receiving, they can be more confident in what they are giving.

        I hope the Keepers of the Flame have all kinds of success and new donations and members! But also that we are correct in how we describe the things we offer them in gratitude for their generosity.

        1. AvatarJulia Thompson Post author

          I appreciate your comments, and I definitely understand where you are coming from. However, I have also taken both art and art history classes and my understanding of the word masterpiece is somewhat different from yours. That is one of the great things about art, we can have opinions. I do agree that this may not be the most technically impressive piece of work but, that is not the only component in deciding the quality of a piece of art. Energy, history, subject matter, originality, and appeal are also important components as well. A masterpiece is also representative of the spirit of the times. The feelings evoked are also essential.

          McNaughton spent a vast amount of time doing research and traveling to create this work. His work is typical for the genre, in fact, it stands out among his peers. The piece is original and takes advantage of the rich history of Scouting. The main component, though, that you have overlooked is the appeal and emotional nature of the piece. Thousands of people are attracted to this painting and have a very emotional response, especially after President Monson died. This piece is timely, yet classic.

          I agree that the word “masterpiece” may have been a hasty and controversial choice, but I do not think it leads our gracious donors astray. It is an important and passionate piece. I do not think the use of the word masterpiece would disappoint anyone who receives this work.

          I guess what truly makes artwork a masterpiece is time, so only more of it will tell.

    1. AvatarJulia Thompson Post author

      That sounds fun. I have always found Native American folklore stories interesting. It is always nice to hear different stories and histories from other people around the country, so thanks for sharing.

      I also think the “Sacred Fire” is a masterpiece, especially for those who are LDS and involved with Scouting.


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