As Scout leaders in the Utah National Parks Council, we wholeheartedly support the Church’s forthcoming initiative for children and youth, which will provide opportunities for “large gatherings and personal development through goals and achievement of goals.” Currently, we are planning how Scouting can complement this inspired initiative. As you—parents and leaders—identify the wide range of needs among your children and youth, be assured that Scouting is ready to help you on your terms and to support you in what you want to accomplish. For example, consider how Scouting may help young people to:
Set and Achieve Personal Development Goals
To help children and youth meet their goals related to education, acquisition of skills, development of talents and hobbies, physical fitness, and career preparation, Scouting offers face-to-face mentoring in 135 areas of achievement. If desired, the goal to earn an Eagle Scout award is also supported.
Overcome Personal Challenges
Many young people need wilderness-style experiences to meet the perilous challenges of our times. When mentored in the outdoors, youth often awaken spiritually and find added strength to avoid and address pornography and other addictions, discouragement, depression, isolation, and focus/hyperactivity issues.
Prepare for Future Service and Learning
To help youth prepare for successful missions, education, vocational training, and work, Scouting provides opportunities to develop discipline, confidence, independence, self-sufficiency, physical stamina, strategies for stress management, and the ability to lead.
Make Friends and Develop Socially
Friends who truly share a young person’s interests and capacities may not reside in the ward or stake, yet are essential to his or her well-being and even survival. Scouting provides opportunities for regular face-to-face interaction with like-minded peers, augmenting the support provided by families, classes, and quorums.
Be Mentored by Caring Adult Role Models
Depending on family circumstances, some children and youth may need additional adult examples and mentoring relationships in order to thrive. Scout leaders today are trained and committed to putting the needs of young people first, using Scouting’s programs and resources flexibly and responsively to support individual growth.
How Do Parents and Leaders Access Scouting’s Resources?
Here are three initial steps to engage Scouting’s help for children, youth, and families:
- Learn about Scouting units in your area by visiting www.utahscouts.org/Join or by calling (801) 437-6222.
- Ask your Scouting Ambassador for a personal, in-home visit to discuss immediate needs and ways Scouting can complement your efforts as parents and leaders.
- Begin the process of enrolling children, youth, and families in Scouting as desired.
In some instances, parents and leaders may want to participate in organizing a non-Church Scouting unit in order to interact with, serve, and bless the wider community. Your Scouting Ambassador is prepared to make this opportunity available, as desired.
One More Way to Support Wards, Stakes, and Families:
As leaders make plans to implement the Church’s exciting new program, Scouting is making many of its properties available to host large, multi-day activities such as youth conferences, treks, girls’ camps, Aaronic Priesthood encampments, and ward and stake activities.
These facilities are carefully managed to ensure the highest level of safety and security. The same properties are available to families for reunions and other special events. To learn more about cost-effective resources near you, visit:
Author: Maria Milligan | Chief of Staff, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.