Elder Perry has taught that each missionary would be better prepared to serve if they could have a significant away-from-home experience before they go. Scout camp is ideal for that. It lasts 7 to 8 weeks of the summer. Youth can return home on the weekends and, during the week, they have to take care of their living quarters and interrelate with other staff members.
One of the big tests on a mission is companion unity. Camp provides a preview as they have a tent mate that helps them to learn new ways to relate to a peer. A full summer will provide many opportunities to learn humility, kindness, tolerance, meekness, and love. All of these skills are required for mission success.
Scout camp is unique when it comes to this. There are very few jobs that a teenager can get that will allow him to teach skills to others. They have to prepare lesson plans. They are trained in best teaching methods. They have to be able to be flexible and teach at a level that the people they teach will understand and demonstrate that they have learned the teaching objectives. Most staff members teach more than one subject which helps them to prepare to teach multiple lessons and principles on their missions.
Scouting is best at helping people hone their leadership ability. Each summer the council offers over 40 leadership training courses called NYLT. It is an intense leadership course that is a week long and very good at teaching leadership skills that are difficult to learn anywhere else. A youth could serve on both camp staff and NYLT staff in the same summer. The ability to lead in the mission field is required and too many missionaries have to learn on the job instead of having the skills when they start.
Currently, work opportunities are not as available as they used to be. There are also a lot more conflicts for a teenager’s time than there used to be. Too many start their missions having never learned the value of hard work. Too many come home early, because they aren’t prepared to do the work that is necessary. Camp staff can help them learn how to work hard.
If you are engaged in the process of preparing missionaries, you need to seriously consider the opportunity to utilize summer camp staff as an important part of the process. If you can help us by having your best and brightest apply for summer employment at Scout camp, not only would camp improve in its delivery of a great experience, but you would also see an increase in the quality of preparation of missionaries that serve.
When I had the opportunity to serve as a bishop in the church, I tried very hard to make these experiences available to the youth in my ward. Most took advantage and served. In the end, over my tenure as bishop, we sent over 95% on missions and none came home early. There are multiple reasons for this good success, but summer camp was a sizable piece to the success. Let us know if we can help you create opportunity for your future missionaries.
For more information and the summer camp staff application, click here.
Did you work on camp staff? Tell us about your experience in the comments.
Dave Pack wrote this article at the end of 2014. With summer camp season coming up, we thought this was a perfect time to showcase the impact working at Scout camp can have on a young person’s life:
Author: David C. Pack | Scout Executive, Utah National Parks Council, BSA