By Community Submission
Oct 02, 2015

Scouting Prepared My Six Sons to be Missionaries

With six sons outnumbering the lone daughter, there was always a lot of Scouting happening in the Pack house. After thousands of Scout activities and countless Courts of Honor, beads, beltloops, and merit badges, all six sons became Eagle Scouts and all six went on to serve missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the daughter served a mission too, but she never managed to earn her Eagle). Here are thoughts from mom and two of those sons on how Scouting helped prepare them for missions and for life:

Mom’s Perspective

Family Picture

Having sent six boys on missions over the past 14 years, I’ve noticed several things that Scouting has done to help them prepare.  First of all, just the fact that every summer they were away from home for a week of Scout camp, high adventure, etc. gave them the confidence that they could survive without their parents for a few days.  Of course for most of them they were quite glad to get a break from parental nagging and have a week spent with their friends. But, still, they did get experiences away from home and survived them just fine without any panicky calls from homesick boys.

They also got practice speaking to adults confidently as they met with merit badge counselors, planned and discussed Eagle projects and held planning meetings with adult leaders.  Some found this easier than others but they all at least got to a point where they could make their point clear and sound like they knew what they were talking about.

Scouting and Mission PreparationFinally, my boys learned to serve and even to mostly enjoy service in the Boy Scouts.  A service project surrounded by your best friends makes a boring job much more fun and the memories of painting fire hydrants, raking leaves, shoveling snow and so on become fond memories of time spent with fellow Scouts.

A couple of my boys also attended and served on NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) and Kodiak staff before their missions.  They have both commented many times about how the principles they learned there are always coming in handy on their missions.

Returned Missionary Perspective

Richard and DariaFrom son #5, Richard, who served in the Missouri, St. Louis Mission and is now married to Daria Pack and attending Utah State University.

All the teaching skills I have started with NYLT. I learned to minister to individuals, to teach with a companion and to use the EDGE (Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable) method to help others understand new principles. NYLT helped me grow individually because I had to step outside my comfort zone and work with new people on a regular basis.

One of my most powerful spiritual experiences occurred while at a Timberline course during the Religious devotional.  We held it on a ridge overlooking the valley, and I had forgotten my jacket that evening.  As the main devotional finished and testimonies began, it became colder.  But the beautiful testimonies helped me feel the spirit in a profound way.  I know that truth was spoken that night, and despite wind on that exposed ridge, I didn’t feel the cold.

NYLT is an inspired program that helped me spiritually and personally to become a better Scout, missionary, and student.  It’s part of what helped me settle on teaching as my intended career.  I think that every boy can benefit from attending this amazing course.

Missionary Perspective

From the youngest son, Adam, currently serving in the Taiwan, Taipei Mission. Taken from several of his letters home:

Scouting and Mission PreparationScouting in general is just great. Just yesterday I was thinking of how much all my NYLT training ties in with missionary work. It’s awesome to think about how applicable it all is!

NYLT and Scouting in general helped me learn how to set goals, plan for those goals, and succeed! Or fail, and be okay with it. It was good to learn about how teams, troops, patrols, companionships, etc. develop and especially that “storming” happens in every team (and it’s okay as long as you overcome it as soon as possible).

Also hard work. Being willing to work hard and get done what you need to. And Scouting helped me learn how to work with others, whether it be delegation or getting responsibilities or simply communicating with people.

Sometimes, a principle from NYLT will pop into my mind like SSC or EDGE. It makes me grateful for those years of making the long drive down to Springville.

How did Scouting help prepare the missionaries you know?

Sylvia Pack

Author: Sylvia Pack | District Training Chair, Snow Horse District, Trapper Trails Council. Volunteer Scout leader for 25 years. Proud owner of a box full of mother’s pins and the callouses from sewing on dozens of merit badge patches. She gains more appreciation for Scouting every year as she sees how much good it does for youth and adults alike.

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2 thoughts on “Scouting Prepared My Six Sons to be Missionaries

  1. Steve Faber

    Our Timberline NYLT course was blessed to have Richard and Adam Pack serve on staff several years ago. The sacrifice of their time to travel from Layton to our course development meetings in Springville, and then to the course at the Perl Training Center in Mt. Pleasant, prepared them for similar sacrifices in the mission field.

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  2. Susan CheeverSusan Cheever

    With my 5 sons I also feel that Scouting has helped in so many ways to prepare my boys for missionary life and just for adult life. They are confident and capable and always assume that there is a solution for every problem and that they can find it. They have a store of positive interactions with great role models that supplements what their Dad and I are able to do to influence them and point them in the right direction. The oldest 4 have served missions and the youngest is 16 and still active in Scouting. They have all had many successes but what impresses me more is that when they make mistakes or have problems, they turn to the Church and to Church leaders for help in working through them. That may be the most important contribution their experience in Scouting has made to their success in life.

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