Community-sponsored Boy Scout troops organizing in Sanpete
By Doug Lowe
EPHRAIM—With the arrival of the new year, a new era began for Sanpete youngsters wanting to become boy scouts.
Fourteen such youngsters, from five different parts of the county, came together last Thursday, Jan. 9, for the very first meeting of a new scout troop sponsored by the Ephraim Lions Club.
Most of the boys who came to the meeting in the Ephraim Middle School were local residents, but three came from Fairview, another three from Manti, two from Mt. Pleasant and one from Fayette. Approximately a dozen supportive adults—parents and adult volunteers—were in attendance.
“From now on, we will be meeting here regularly at 7 p.m. every Thursday,” explained Dr. Gary Cole, the new troop’s Scout Master and a family practice physician with Sanpete Valley Hospital in Mt. Pleasant.
According to Cole, one of the top priorities in the troop will be “developing leadership skills among the scouts by putting them in charge as patrol leaders, assistant patrol leaders and in other positions of responsibility.”
The first scout on the scene last Thursday was Kyle Olson, the son of Chad and Lorna Olson of Ephraim. Kyle and many of the other boys arrived wearing a scout uniform shirt that reflected their previous affiliation with an LDS church-sponsored troop. Some boys already knew each other, while others were strangers from different towns.
Soon after arriving, all the boys were happily playing “chair soccer” together (defending their chair from a kicked or thrown ball attempting to score a goal.) When the meeting officially began, Joseph Mitsvotah carried the U.S. flag for a traditional presentation of the colors, and Kyle Olson led everyone in the pledge of allegiance and repeated the Scout Oath and Promise.
Interviewed after the event, Rawlin Bagnall, Arapeen District Executive for Scouts BSA (the new name for the former Boy Scouts of America), praised the organizing efforts of Cole and all the adults assisting him, in getting “some 28 boys now registered in the new troop.”
Many of the adult volunteers present worn an official scout uniform shirt, just like the boys. Among them was Phil Thomas, of Manti, who serves on the Arapeen District Committee, and will be treasurer for the new troop. His grandson, Kyle Thomas, 12, was among the boy scouts present, along with his parents, Jeremy and Dorothy, and his sister, Gwen, 10, who expressed interest in joining Scouts BSA whenever a girl’s troop got organized.
So far, efforts to ensure the continuation of scouting in Sanpete are centered in just three area cities: Ephraim, Fountain Green and Gunnison. The Lions Club in Fountain Green has applied to become the Charter Organization sponsoring a new troop there, and expects to “hold our first troop meeting by the month’s end,” said Lions Club spokesperson, Bob Hansen. In Gunnison, Dr. Dwight Inouye, a family medicine doctor affiliated with Gunnison Valley Hospital, reports “we have started a new scout troop for boys and a co-ed venturing crew for boys and girls age 14 and up.”
Each of the three cities that have a new scout organizations underway have expressed a willingness to include youngsters, parents and adult volunteers coming to them from anywhere in Sanpete.
The person to contact in Ephraim is the new Scout Master Dr. Gary Cole at 801-592-2164; in Fountain Green it is Bob Hansen at 321-446-7805; and, in Gunnison, Dr. Dwight Inouye at 801-592-2164.