Scouts arrive: Order of the Arrow scouts to begin tamarisk project
The scouts have landed. After five years of planning the day finally arrived. The scouts began pouring into Canyon View Junior High on Saturday. Five hundred and fifty scouts in all, plus leaders, advisors and a support staff.
JJ Arnold said scouts from throughout the country are in Huntington. Some scouts from as far away as Wisconsin, Maine, Florida, the Carolinas and Missouri. Forty squad leaders are in Emery County fresh off the ArrowCorps 5 project in the Mark Twain forest. The work there included cleaning brush from 138 acres.
The project in Emery County will include the cutting and treating of tamarisk in the Buckhorn Draw and in Joe's Valley. The scouts will work for five days. They will each have a day of recreation which includes rafting, fishing, mountain biking, sightseeing, visiting the dinosaur museum and the dinosaur quarry. Part of the nighttime activities will include a trip to the wave pool in Price on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
A miniature city has appeared on the Canyon View school grounds. There are hundreds of tents, medical facilities, field kitchen and a large eating area with awning, tables and chairs. Portable showers have been placed in the camp as well. The camp also boasts a full recreation tent with video games, TV and movies for the scouts down time. The football field is available for impromptu games and activities as well.
Some of the advisors came together on Saturday evening before the opening ceremonies and treated the scouts to some mountain music. The advisors found they had instruments that made music together at Mark Twain forest and they have continued playing together here at the Manti-LaSal project. Zach Lombardl from Naples, Florida made up a song about his time in Utah. "I've been in Utah three hours and I've got altitude sickness. I'm in a lot of pain and I just want to go to bed. I've heard they have some pretty rocks here, but I'm too sick to go see them." The songs were all in good fun. Tim Babb from Ft. Smith, Ark. sang Long Black Veil. Colin Smalley from York, Pa. said they began playing together in Missouri and they hit it off. "In Missouri we cut down cedar trees and restored the natural habitat, we are excited to start the Utah project," said Smalley.
The scouts will begin their work bright and early on Monday morning as they leave for the worksites at 7 a.m. Their main focus is on safety at the work sites and the scouts were encouraged to keep their water bottles filled and to think safety. For lunch they will have trail rations which will include tuna and crackers, protein bars, Gatorade and other protein foods. The lunches will vary each day so the scouts won't get tired of the same fare. Breakfast and dinner are catered affairs and the scouts will experience the best food Emery County has to offer as local businesses will provide the meals.
Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon was part of the welcoming committee for the scouts at the reception they held to meet local government officials and forest service personnel. She said if the scouts needed anything to just ask and Huntington City would get it for them. JJ Arnold said Emery County and Huntington has been very receptive to the idea of having the scouts in town for this service project and they have been very welcoming.
The opening ceremony began with a bang with music and lights. John Fagan the commander was introduced. The gym at the school was filled to capacity with 550 cheering scouts. "This is a unique opportunity to provide nonstop service to one of the most scenic areas in America," said Fagan.
Fagan remembered the scouts who lost their lives this week when a tornado touched down at a scout camp. Four scouts died and 48 were injured. Fagan called for a moment of silence to honor those fallen brothers. The scouts recited their Order of the Arrow motto. The motto includes the commitment to perform service with a cheerful spirit and unselfish devotion to the welfare of others. The command staff was introduced to the scouts. These are the people who have been working these past five years getting everything ready for the scouts.
Ben Stilwill encouraged the scouts to learn about the area where the service project is being performed. He said the area is rich in archaeological history and more dinosaur bones have been found here than in other areas. The Fremont culture thrived here in the early years and Butch Cassidy and the Robbers Roost gang hid out in the area. The highest peak in the Manti-LaSal is Mt. Pearl at 13,000 feet elevation.
Stilwill described the Manti-LaSal as being the best site among the five ArrowCorp projects. He said the five projects nationwide will deliver 250,000 hours of service. This service is what it means to be an Arrowman and what it means to be a citizen. Stilwill said Lyndon Johnson said the best thing we can do for those who come in the future will be to just give them a glimpse of what we had to start with.
Robert Mazzuca, area leader (by video) said, "We are excited about what you are doing for our nation and it gives us great pride. You are a shining example. Millions of scouts have enjoyed the treasures of the forest."
Scouts have made significant contributions to the United States National Forest Service through the years. Service above self is what makes our country great. Mazzuca encouraged the scouts to take the experiences they have in doing this project and keep it in their memories as they return to their communities. These memories will last a lifetime.
Clyde Mayer, National Order of the Arrow director said he just came from Mark Twain where they cleared 138 acres of cedar. "You will leave this place a better Arrowman. He told the scouts to take pictures of the project and they could enter these photos in a photo contest for prizes.
Scout leaders performed a skit to familiarize the scouts to what they should do in specific situations.
The US Forest Service has been a partner in the project and Tim Beaty is the liaison between the forest service and the ArrowCorp project. Beaty welcomed the scouts and said it's been a great partnership.
The last five years of planning has culminated now, "I am glad you're finally here. It's time to get some work done," said Beaty. Beaty introduced forest service personnel at the ceremony. Beaty told the scouts they are making history this week. This is the largest OA service project. It's the largest service project from a single group. The scouts will perform nationwide 125 years worth of work. "You will be changing the environment here for a long time to come. You will push back the invasion of tamarisk by 30 years. This is a great effort. This is more than a service project. It is what you make of it," said Beaty.
Emery County Commissioner Jeff Horrocks spoke to the scouts. He welcomed them as the future leaders of our country. "You are doing Emery County a great service and we appreciate that. When we were first told that we were being considered for this project. I thought no way anyone would ever come here. But here you are.
"Return in the future and bring your families. This is a unique part of the country. If there is anything we can do for you while you are here. Let us know and we'll do it," said Horrocks.
David Dowty told the scouts they are spirited Arrowman and, "You guys are exceptional." Dowty said the 40 trained instructors are there to help the scouts. He encouraged the scouts to work safely.
The scouts were shown a video of the history of service in scouting. The scouts have a greater purpose than just doing the service project. They will join together with previous scouts and will blaze their own trail and write their own page in the book of scout history.
What you do this week will impact those who come after you, what will your legacy be? This was the question posed to the scouts as they embark upon their service project.