By Giannina Della Rocca
Apr 23, 2017

How Scouting Brought my Family Back to Church

During my childhood I had many doubts and questions about the gospel. I grew up relying on the testimonies of my grandparents and my mother. My parents got divorced when I was very little and my father was never active in the gospel.

When I got married, I went less active for nearly nine years. I thought that I didn’t have a testimony and I wasn’t motivated to go to church each Sunday. My mother suffered a lot during this time, seeing that I wasn’t interested in the Church. It was even worse because all of my older siblings had already been inactive for years. However, even through it all, she always prayed and went to the temple asking the Lord to help my siblings and me.

One day my mom invited me to a church activity. I decided to go with my nine-year-old son, Domenick, and my husband. Outside of the church there was a group of Cub Scouts getting ready to go to do a service activity. Domenick saw them dressed in their full uniforms, the blue shirt with pants matched with their colorful scarves. He quickly turned to me and said, “Mom, I want to be a Scout, I want to wear that uniform.” He then turned to my husband and asked him if he could take him to Scout meetings. In that moment I began to reflect. I thought how can I, having been so blessed to grow up with the gospel in my life and have the great examples of my grandparents and mother, now take away those same blessings that the gospel offers paired together with the Scouting program from my son?

Who was going to assure that he would have the sufficient strength to overcome trials and challenges, especially without a spiritual foundation? I realized that I needed to come back to the Church, that it was my home and the home of my family. I decided to return to the gospel and the Church in that moment.

Domenick now

Everything was going great after that until Domenick went through a very difficult challenge. I found out that he was suffering from bullying at school. It was so difficult for him that he began to think about committing suicide. I felt that something was bothering him and when I asked him he confirmed to me what it was. I was devastated. I decided to be closer to him, look for help and find things to help push him forward in life. One of the things that helped was the Scouting program. The program turned out to be a lifesaver for him. As he went to the Scouting meetings I saw how the principles of the program helped him develop confidence, character and more than anything his personality.

A year later I was given a calling in the Boy Scouts as member of the committee in the troop and in the varsity team. During my first year serving in the calling, my sister went through a very difficult trial. Her husband unexpectedly died, and to make matters worse she was pregnant with twins. We were always very close, and from then on she had my full support.

Months later the Mijares, friends from my ward, invited me to attend Wood Badge. I said yes without really thinking about it. But after when the date started to get closer I began to realize that I probably shouldn’t go. I thought, how am I going to leave my pregnant sister alone with her four-year-old daughter? Also, how was I going to ask her to take care of my three children while my husband was working?

I told my sister and my husband that I was not going to go. I explained to them that a week is too much time. I didn’t realize that that Domenick was listening to our conversation. The next day he came to me and said, “Mom, have faith, go to this training. We will be fine.” I was blown away by the faith and surety he had. Also, those were the same words said to me by my husband and sister. That same sister who with her broken heart had been through so much.

Thanks to the enthusiasm and motivation from the Mijares, my sister, my husband and my son I was able to go to Wood Badge. I never imagined that it would change my life or have the impact that it did. There was one day when the patrols presented that I felt the immense influence of the Spirit. I discovered that I had a testimony that the Church was true. During Wood Badge I felt a true conversion to the gospel and Scouting.

I am so close to finishing my Wood Badge ticket and am now ready to begin the most important project of my life, my spiritual ticket, to have an eternal family.

En Espanol 

 

Author: Giannina Della Rocca | Timpanogos District Staff, Utah National Parks Council

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4 thoughts on “How Scouting Brought my Family Back to Church

  1. David West

    This.

    I’ve watched two people join The Church because of Scouting.

    The first was a young man who’s 11th birthday occurred during my tenure as the 11-year-old leader. He was the only boy on the roll I didn’t know. Some of the Scouts said they knew him from school, so we dropped by his apartment a few times. After no answer, we thought they may have moved. At middle school registration a few months later, my son pointed out a kid and said that’s the boy we were trying to reach. My son wasn’t excited when I implied we were going to approach him right there, but the boy and his parents were very receptive. Scott’s father was a former scout and served in the military. His mother was a quite immigrant who struggled a bit with her adopted language. We arranged to stop by the house with the Scoutmaster and some of the other boys. Scott quickly became one of our most active scouts. Because of his parent’s inactivity, he’d never been baptized despite active grandparents a few states away. We never pressured him to join the church. I was actually surprised when the ward mission leader mentioned Scott had set a date. His grandfather traveled from Idaho to perform the ordinances, surrounded by an army of young men and scouting leaders. He has no active family members within 300+ miles, but he is always ready for church when we pick him up on Sunday mornings. He stays after to sing in the choir and willingly volunteers to serve shut-ins. Scott is on the path to salvation because he is a scout and will shortly be ordained a Teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood. While advancement in Scouting has come slowly due to his complete lack of swimming ability, he persists and continues to earn merit badges and join the troop on campouts and outings.

    Another boy in our valley was a long-time member of the non-LDS community pack I’ve lead for half a decade. Usually, our graduating Cubs move to another community unit, but last year their dwindling leadership was unable to accept any new scouts. One brave LDS 11-year-old leader said he would take them all. While this young many has many relatives who are active members, his family has kept their distance from the gospel. The fellowship of Scouting and a loving ward family sparked a testimony in this young man’s heart. He was baptized two days ago. Even his inactive mother had a familiar light in her eye when she told me he was to be baptized. She emphasized it was his choice. They were happy he was old enough to understand to commitment and supportive of his decision.

    Scouting in the Church may never be perfect, but it can be gate to the path to perfection. For these two young men, they certainly would be in a different place without Scouting.

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  2. Luis

    Wouuu The time went I am meet you in the wood Badge never imagine ,que conoceria a una extraordinarily leader,Madre y Amiga., Exellente history Giannina,came tears after reading again.
    Keep going my dear friend with you Tikets in you Family and espiritual.
    The BUFFALOS estaremos with you any time.

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