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BYU’s Aspen Grove retreat dedicated

Families are the focus of Pres. Monson’s talk

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PROVO — President Thomas S. Monson waxed nostalgic Sunday about fishing, camping and growing up in Provo Canyon.

At a dedication ceremony for Aspen Grove, a retreat above Sundance owned by Brigham Young University, President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke about his childhood in Provo Canyon, spending time at Aspen Grove and the importance of having a place where families can retreat.

"It's a majestic place, isn't it?" he said. "We feel so much at home here."

Because Aspen Grove is used as a get-away for many families, President Monson spoke about the eternal nature of families, and said Aspen Grove should be used as a place to draw families together.

"I believe our Heavenly Father has watched over the development of Aspen Grove," he said.

In his dedication of the facilities, President Monson called for protection of the buildings from flood and fire, asked that the buildings would prosper as the site grew and that the natural setting would be a place that could draw families together.

"This is a veritable rose garden for the December of our lives," he said.

President Monson, whose family has come to Aspen Grove for years, has given firesides in the mountain retreat every summer for the past 14 years. He said he is very much tied to the place.

President Monson said his childhood is tied to Provo Canyon and that he caught his first fish in Provo River. He spoke about his childhood being a Huckleberry Finn childhood.

He also talked about Boy Scouting. Despite public sentiment, he said he believes the organization still does much good for young men.

"I'm still a personal advocate of the great good Scouting brings to the life of young men," he said.

Russell Booth, president of the BYU Alumni Association, said the Aspen Grove facilities reflect the nature around them. He said Aspen Grove is environment friendly and unique because of it's faith-centered programs.

"Aspen Grove is a place to learn," he said. He told listeners at Aspen Grove people learn about nature, about simplicity and about peace. He said it's also a place to learn about the worth of families.

E-MAIL: rrogers@desnews.com