By Maria Milligan
Mar 13, 2016

Scouting Prepares Missionaries

For the past two years, the Utah National Parks Council has focused on a series of tools that help Scouters better communicate with LDS leaders. These tools grew out of two surveys conducted by RED research and Rushford Lee that asked LDS leaders what outcomes they wanted from Scouting and why they thought Scouting mattered to their youth. The results from these surveys were distilled into six pillars (or outcomes) for LDS Scouting, including building a testimony, learning to serve others, preparing to go on a mission, building confidence, learning life skills, and gaining integrity by understanding our true nature as children of God.

Since adopting the six pillars as a focus and mission statement, the Council has written and solicited articles from volunteers and professionals alike about each of these pillars. Here at The Boy Scout, we have focused on one pillar each month and have published and shared articles accordingly. As we enter our third year of this initiative, we want to look back at the articles we’ve published and highlight the best content for each pillar.

March’s theme is Missionary Preparation: Prepare to go on a mission and teach others by using the Scouting program as the activity arm of the priesthood. Here are the top five articles from The Boy Scout about how Scouting helps young men prepare to be successful missionaries through the challenges they face and lessons they learn at camp and in activities:

Eagle Scout and Mission PreparationScouting 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, all six sons became Eagle Scouts and all six went on to serve missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Read thoughts from mom and two of those sons on how Scouting helped prepare them for missions and for life.

Favorite quote: “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.”

How Scethan lowe repelling featureout Camp Prepares the Rising Generation of Missionaries

Steve Sutherland, a former mission president, shares how Scout camp and other Scouting experiences can help young people develop vital missionary attributes. He relates the experiences of two returned missionaries and how their Scouting experiences shaped their missions.

Favorite quote: “The rising generation are the hope of our future.  It is vital that they can find joy and hope in living. Camp experiences should educate, empower, and inspire our youth to overcome fear, believe in their dreams, and realize their potential.  We want to transform them into young people of integrity and courage that can bring a mighty change into their lives and the world around them.”

Brad Harris Missionary BookHow Scouting Helps Parents Raise Successful Missionaries

At University of Scouting, Brad and Sandy Harris shared insight they gained from speaking with the former Provo MTC president about what it takes for young adults to succeed in the MTC and the mission field.

Favorite quote: “Brad shared a conversation he and his wife had with President and Sister Nally, the Provo MTC president from 2013-15. They spoke about some of the challenges these young missionaries face as they first enter the training center, including depression, anxiety, homesickness, and distractions. President Nally explained that if every missionary could have three things before entering the field, they’d be much more likely to succeed in the MTC: A significant away from home experience before the mission, work ethic, and leadership opportunities. The Harrises shared with the room full of Scouters how the Scouting program can provide these three important opportunities and encouraged us all to make them a priority.”

scout with scripturesEagle Scouts Discuss How Scouting Prepared Them for Their Missions

Shaun Heaton, long time Scouter and Keeper of the Flame, pulled three of his Eagle Scout sons together to share how Scouting helped prepare them for missions and for life.

Favorite quote: “There’s a lot of satisfaction in service that you find through Scouting and that helped me prepare for my mission in that as a missionary you need to be serving selflessly, you need to be doing things that you may not necessarily see the end result of, but they’re the right things to do. . . . Through the experiences I had in Scouting, knowing that there is greater satisfaction to be had in serving other people, that’s a principle that was ingrained in me that really helped me work hard.”

Venturing Activity CoverEncampments and Venturing Influence Missionary Service

President Howard Bangerter of the Highland Utah East Stake shares his stake’s experiences with two leadership encampments that showcased BSA’s older youth program as a combination of challenging adventure, leadership training, and spirituality.

Favorite quotes: “What a remarkable experience this was! We had boys and leaders all over the place, doing everything from merit badges to hiking mountain peaks, mountain biking, mule riding, canoeing, white-water rafting, rock climbing, shooting, archery, ‘[toma]hawks and knives, etc.” and “When young men have a vision of the miracles they will perform as missionaries, they readily accept the challenges of doing ‘hard things’ to prepare.”

In compiling mission prep articles for this index, there were far too many great submissions to stop at five. So here are seven more articles about Scouting and missionary preparation that can help you shape your own youth programs:

Summer Camp Staff = Mission Preparation

Venturing Program Features and Mission Preparation

Mac’s Messages on How Scouting Prepares Missionaries

Be Prepared to Go on a Mission and Teach Others—A Mission President’s Insights for Scouts

How Serving on Camp Staff Prepared Me for My Mission

Scouting: The Spring Board to a Mission

Mission Preparation Adventure at Maple Dell

Maria Milligan

Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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