Besides representing their countries at the 16th World Scout Jamboree, LDS Scouts soon discovered they were also representing the Church.
The 30 LDS Scouts who were among those selected to represent Utah's Great Salt Lake Council at the jamboree learned that people immediately recognize Salt Lake City as the headquarters of the Church."I was amazed at how many people not only knew we were LDS, but also were aware of our commitment to the Word of Wisdom," said R. Lawry Hunsaker, Scoutmaster of the Salt Lake Valley troop. "At times when it was customary to drink tea or coffee, we would imediately be offered hot chocolate as a substitue. The quartermaster went out of his way to supply us with extra milk and punch in place of the standard coffee jars."
The jamboree, held Dec. 30-Jan. 10 at Cataract Scout Park, 40 miles southwest of Sydney, brought together 13,000 youths from more than 100 countries. The Scouts displayed skills, took part in competitive events and had plenty of time to associate with fellow Scouts from many lands.
About 350 LDS Scouters attended a special sacrament meeting on Jan. 3 with Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Several states in the United States were represented, and when it was discovered that 100 LDS Scouts from Tahiti were also in attendance, a french interpreter was quickly found to accommodate them.
During the service, the sacrament was prepared, blessed and passed by Aaronic Priesthood members from around the world. "It was my first time at the sacrament table, since I was just ordained a priest the week I left for Australia," said Mark Jensen of Salt Lake City. "It was really thrilling."
The following night a family home evening was held, and Elder Featherstone again spoke. "Many of the boys from my troop told me it was the best hour they'd spent at the jamboree," said Hunsaker. "He gave a very powerful talk."
The world Scout jamboree is held every four years, and the next one is scheduled for Seoul, South Korea.