My understanding of our youth organizations and youth programs is based upon the fundamental preeminence of those kinds of relationships. Above all programmatic considerations, in every young man and young woman’s life, there needs to be somebody who cares, who loves them, who really respects them and who is watching their back. I know these relationships are significant because when I preside at stake conferences around Utah, quite often, I’ll ask members who have grown up in less-active homes to indicate how they were able to overcome the effects. Prominent among the stated deciding factors are caring and trusted relationships with a Young Women or a Young Men’s leader. If they have someone to hang on to, it is easier for young men and young women to persevere through the teen years.
There are three key relationships we should consider: a caring relationship with an adult or adults, a positive relationship with their peers, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. Scouting provides a framework for young men to develop relationships in all these areas through teaching, learning and positive activities.
I recently returned to my home town, Montpelier, Idaho, to attend a reunion. In a public gathering I ran into Brother Al Ipsen, who was my Deacons, Teachers and Priests quorum advisor. He was in a wheel chair and, to a large degree, incapacitated. As he pressed my hand and I looked into his still-bright eyes, a flood of memories came to me followed by a wave of deep gratitude for his personal effort in my behalf some 53 years ago. Certain that his influence was a key factor in my success, I will revere his name forever.
Author: Dale Munk | Chairman, LDS-BSA Relations Committee, UNPC. Elder Munk and his wife, JoAnn, are avid hikers and snowshoers who met at the University of Utah and have five children and 16 ½ grandchildren. Elder Munk was ordained a Seventy in April, 2014.