The Grand Teton Council, which serves eastern Idaho and western Wyoming, is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Lewis and Clark's historic expedition to the Pacific Northwest in grand style—and Scouts everywhere are invited to join in. Cubs Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and leaders can qualify for a Lewis and Clark Commemorative Peace Medal, another medal for hiking a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail, and a set of four activity patches created for the occasion. The council headquarters in Idaho Falls lies to the southeast of the birthplace, near Salmon, of Sacajawea, the American Indian who helped guide the expedition to its destination.
"We kicked off the initial phase of our bicentennial observance in January 2004, after about a year of planning," said Scout Executive Kim Hansen. "But it doesn't hit its peak until 2005, which is the actual 200th anniversary of when Meriwether Lewis and William Clark arrived in Idaho and raised the U.S. flag here for the first time." The front of the peace medal bears a replica of the medal struck in 1805 on orders of President Thomas Jefferson to honor the expedition. It features two clasped hands, a crossed hatchet and peace pipe, and the slogan "Peace and Friendship." Youth and volunteer leaders at all levels of Scouting may earn the right to purchase the peace medal by fulfilling a list of requirements. These include attending a community-sponsored Lewis and Clark event, visiting one of the many local museum exhibits along the explorers' route, and collecting the Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea coins and stamps issued in connection with the anniversary. "There are many interpretive centers, monuments, and displays along the Lewis and Clark route," Hansen noted. "They stretch from...Kansas City to the Pacific. Our local museum in Idaho Falls has had one of the largest and most elaborate exhibits."
The first of four commemorative patches, honoring President Jefferson, was issued in February 2004 and will remain available through December 31. The second patch, honoring Lewis, will be available between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2005; the third, honoring Clark, will be available between April 1 and May 31, 2005; and the fourth, in honor of Sacajawea, will be available from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2005. "The main purpose of this program was to see if we could increase unit activity and pep up our camporee in our own council," Hansen explained. "But it's attracted a lot of outside interest as well."
For more information, contact the Scout council office at (208) 522-5155 or check the council Web site, http://www.grandtetoncouncil.org/index.cfm?pageid=2426 (Lewis and Clark link).
Here are the patches and medals.