My interest in Scouting started in primary. I was given a picture of George Albert Smith in his Scout uniform. I wanted to look like him in his uniform.
I had a wonderful primary teacher; we did a lot of Scout like activities, so when when I graduated from primary I was excited to finally be a Scout. I was told that it was the responsibility of the Scout to buy his own uniform.
A construction worker told me if I would bring him a cold soda for lunch he would pay me a dime. When the summer was over most of the construction crew were buying their cold soda from me. I was proud of myself and asked my mother to take me to JC Penny so I could get my uniform.
I was really disappointed when I found out that my uniform was different from President Smith’s. I went to maybe four or five scout meetings and one camp out. I earned my 2nd class. After that, I didn’t have any association with Scouting until I got married. The Bishop called me as the teachers Quorum advisor. I went along with the Scout leader but, I didn’t catch the purpose for Scouting.
In 1968, I was called to serve in a ward bishopric and was assigned to be the Institutional Representative. I purchased a uniform and attended roundtable out of duty. I considered it a waste of time. They talked about things that were foreign to me.
I had other opportunities to work with the Scouts including 4 1/2 years as Scoutmaster. I very seldom attended roundtable.
Then came the shock of my life! I was called to be the Bishop of my ward. Boy, did I feel guilty when I was ordained to that position in the Aaronic Priesthood and was given the responsibility to watch over the youth. I decided then at age 37 that I had better take a closer look at the Scouting program.
My second counselor and I agreed that he would attend Wood Badge first and I would go the next year. I had never heard of Baden Powell, so before I attended Wood Badge, I read everything I could find about this obscure British soldier. As i did, I found out for myself that Scouting is an inspired activity program for boys. Finally, I started to see the purpose for the Scouting program.
My life has never been the same. My experience with hundred of boys and their leaders has influenced my life and taught me that our service in the Boy Scouts of America is exactly what Heavenly Father wants us to do.
Author: Paul Craig | Past Vice President of District Operations, Utah National Parks Council, BSA