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A LOOK BACK AT A CENTURY OF SCOUTING AND THE LDS CHURCH


1910


William D. Boyce incorporates the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, thanks to a good turn from an unknown English Scout.


The first Utah Scout unit is formed by Thomas G. Wood in the Waterloo Ward on Oct. 12, 1910.


1911


M.I.A. Scouts is formed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Nov. 29, following the format and activities found in Scout books of the day.


1913


The LDS church joins the Boy Scouts of America on May 21, 1913, as one of the BSA’s first chartered organizations.


1928


The Vanguard program is organized by the church for boys ages 15 and 16 to meet the needs of older boys. It gains BSA approval.


1935


In celebration of the BSA’s Silver Jubilee (25 years of Scouting) in February, 7,000 LDS Vanguards become Explorer Scouts in June 1935, as they merge with the BSA’s new program based on the LDS Vanguard program.


Improvement Association called the “M.I.A. Scouts.” Then, two years later, after meetings with national Field Scout Commissioner Samuel Moffat, and corresponding with Chief Scout Executive James E. West, the church joined the Boy Scouts of America as one of the BSA’s first chartered organizations on May 21, 1913. “We knew how to do certain things, but Boy Scouts had a whole program that would be valuable in building values and character traits,” Gibson says. “It fit well with what we were trying to do with our young men.” Gibson, echoing Monson, says that


Scouting answers to the deeply felt needs of young men. “Every single boy out there is looking for a brotherhood he can belong to, a group to feel a part of,” Gibson says. “He wants to have close relationships with peers and adults they can look up to. Many find that in the form of gangs and other groups. We’re looking for a brother- hood that will build the values that Scouting brings to society, rather than the other values we see developing in some other organizations.” LDS Young Men General


President David Beck recently wrote, “Scouting is more than camping and merit badges. Scouting is spiritual- ity, duty, growth, and leadership.” To the EDGE teaching model (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable), Gibson adds an R for Reflection. “We feel


42 S COUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2013


that you go outdoors to have all those physical, temporal, emotional, and social experiences that help develop self-reliant skills in our young people, because ultimately that’s the founda- tion of spiritual self-reliance. Every activity should conclude with reflec- tion, asking, ‘What have I learned from this experience to help me in serving and building the Kingdom of God on the earth?’” Scouting also helps prepare young


Mormon men to serve as missionaries, Gibson says. A large number of LDS young men and women spend 18 months to two years throughout the world spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. “They need to be emotion- ally, physically, and socially prepared,” Gibson says. “So we love our young people to go out and have ‘away-from- home’ experiences in camps. Then, when they go out to serve, they know they can survive it.” To illustrate the synergy of


Scouting and spiritual growth, Gibson, the father of five Eagle Scouts, talks about a 50-20 hike—50 miles in 20 hours—that he took with two sons who had failed to complete the arduous trek a year before. After an 18-hour ordeal that “almost killed us,” Gibson says, he and his sons were about to go to sleep. “Dad, I’ll never do that again,” one boy said. Then he paused and added, “Unless my son wants me to.”


“That was connecting the dots,”


Gibson says. “That’s the reflection I’m talking about, the connection to spiri- tual things. You recognize he’s going to be a great husband and father, but most of all, he’ll be about what Baden- Powell had as the foundation of the BSA, building the Kingdom of God.” Gibson says the 100th anniversary


celebration this October in Salt Lake City will be “a thank-you to the Boy Scouts of America, commemorating 100 years of a marvelous relationship and a blessing to the young men of the church.”


PROTESTANT


TOTAL UNITS IN 2012: 30,085 ACROSS ALL PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS


TOTAL YOUTH IN 2012: 941,123 ACROSS ALL PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS


Gene Foley, presi- dent of the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters, laughingly says that Scouting’s Protestant chaplains are the “catch-all” chaplains of the organization. “Our chaplains recognize


the vast variety of understandings of Jesus, so when we choose chaplains for national and local camps, we look, ideally, for ordained clergy who are willing to foster personal spiritual development rather than encourage a particular view,” Foley says.


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