By Dave Pack
Apr 12, 2013

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the launch of the new Utah National Parks Council Blog and Newsletter. We are excited to include you in one of the most important endeavors of our time, the opportunity to influence the development and character of the rising generation. Now more than ever, we need the values of Scouting to be instilled in the hearts of today’s youth. Now more than ever, our youth are experiencing a wave of negative influences from all corners of their lives that require an inoculation of positive experiences to help them on their way.  Providing those positive experiences is what we’re all about.

On our blog, we’ll feature information, news and stories that focus on the positive influence Scouting is having in the lives of thousands of young people. The Utah National Parks Council is the largest Boy Scout Council in America, and great things are happening here. We have 83,827registered youth and 43,836 registered adult volunteer leaders—a virtual army for good. There are more Eagle Scout awards earned in our council than anywhere else in America. We have a great story to tell.

Please take some time to look through the articles that are here, and feel free to add your comments. And, if you have ideas for a positive Scouting story to tell or information to share on our blog, please contact our webmaster:

Author: Dave Pack | Scout Executive/CEO, Utah National Parks Council



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10 thoughts on “Welcome to Our Blog

  1. AvatarSarah

    I cannot in good conscience support the Boy Scouts of America since their recent decision to suspend moral courage in favor of pressure. They are not acting in accordance with the scout motto themselves, so how can I now have faith and respect in their organization? I’m saddened to see such a time-honored, well respected and previous standard-setting organization cave and leave a generation of boys in this age without it’s previously wonderful support.


    1. AvatarStephen Hales


      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Many people have been mislead by recent news stories about the resolution that will be considered later this month in the national meeting of the Boy Scouts. You can find a link to the actual resolution here along with a link to frequently asked questions about the resolution here. The LDS Church response, which is favorable to the proposal, can be found here. As you may know, the LDS Church sponsors more than 95 percent of the units in our Council.

      Basically the only thing that would change, were the resolution to be adopted, is that a boy who is uncertain of his sexual feelings would be allowed to continue in Scouting while he tries to sort these feelings out. Under current policy, if he mentioned anything to a Scout leader or religious leader about same gender attraction, he would be removed from Scouting. The new proposal contemplates that it might be better for a boy with uncertain feelings about his sexuality to remain in the program where he can be strengthened by great leaders and other youth who are good role models. The main work of Scouting is to build strong character in young men, and we do that by fellowshipping, teaching and working with these boys who are still in their formative stages. I hope, Sarah, that you would agree with me that doing this is a good thing.

      The new proposal and the old policy both assert that no boy of Scouting age should be involved in sexual relations of any type—heterosexual or homosexual. To do so would be to violate the Scout Oath and Law and would be grounds for dismissal.

      The Boy Scouts’ existing youth protection program has many policies and procedures in place that are designed to eliminate opportunities for abuse within the Scouting program. These important policies have been created to prevent abusive contact of any kind between Scouts themselves or between leaders and Scouts. You can find a link to the Youth Protection program here.

      Thanks again for your comment, and for expressing support for Scouting’s important emphasis on high moral principles.

      1. Avatarconcerned father

        If the situation is as you say, then you have done a horrible job explaining the policy to scouters, parents, and the general public. Unfortunately, I have read the proposal and the Church’s response and having done so cannot say that they say what you say they say. They sound like wishy-washy legalese designed to obscure rather than clarify the BSA’s position. They also fail to address a couple of practical issues.

        (1) How does “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone” actually fit with the Scout Oath’s pledge that the scout will keep himself “morally straight”?

        (2) The Youth Protection Training is designed so that leaders protect the boys from other leaders, which is well and good. On campouts the leaders sleep in separate tents, which is also good. The buddy system, among other good things, helps the boys protect each other from the leaders. On a campout, who protects the homosexual boy’s buddy from the homosexual boy? The leaders cannot; they are in another tent. The boys cannot even reach Tenderfoot without a campout, so it is not optional. Do scoutmasters have to wait until they have two homosexual boys so they can be buddies and share a tent and molest each other?

        The Church’s response does not say that they favor the proposal, just that they are satisfied with the process that the BSA used. As a scoutmaster and a parent I oppose this change and furthermore feel that no one at the BSA has bothered to listen to much less address any of my concerns.

        1. AvatarStephen Hales

          To Concerned Father:

          In many ways, I empathize with your concerns. I, too, am a parent of three boys who have been/are Scouts, and four daughters. I too have been a Scoutmaster. I want my kids as well as the youth I’ve worked with in Scouting to understand what it means to be “morally straight.”

          So, in response:

          (1) Being “morally straight,” to me, at least, means that you adhere to a moral standard, regardless of the inclinations you face. Every day we’re faced with choices, some of which would be convenient or satisfying in some way, but which are wrong. Our challenge is to make moral choices when we’re inclined to do otherwise. Being affiliated with BYU, you may know that the University has essentially the same policy as what’s being proposed by the BSA. At BYU a young man can declare himself as “gay,” but if he adheres to the University’s honor code, he can still be a student in good standing.

          (2) The BSA youth protection policy, if you read it again, is designed not only to protect youth from leaders but also to protect youth from other abusive youth. Any sexual contact or action of any kind is prohibited in Scouting—whether on a Scout-related activity or in any other context—and will disqualify a youth from participating further in the program. These standards are clearly and often explained to all Scouts.

          Essentially, as I see it, the proposed BSA policy incorporates the teachings of LDS scripture. Please see 3 Nephi 18:32 for Christ’s instruction on how to handle a person who has challenges with the commandments but who still seeks fellowship with the faithful.

          I hope you’ll feel that there has been an honest attempt to both listen to and address your concerns, and that you’ll continue to be a supporter of Scouting. Now more than ever, Scouting needs the help of people who are dedicated to the essential principles of the program, and who have compassion in their hearts for youth who need strengthening and mentoring in a challenging world.

  2. AvatarDavid C. Thurgood

    Great idea. I look forward to reading the blog and adding comments as appropriate.

  3. AvatarRobert Shrewsbury

    I am glad I took the time to read this (below), because it makes me feel better about helping!

    “WHEREAS, the current adult leadership standard of the Boy Scouts of America states:
    The applicant must possess the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and abide by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law”
    “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA”
    “AND WHEREAS, Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting; and
    WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda; and”


  4. AvatarMichael Keller

    This is a great resource for scouts and leaders. I have enjoyed reading about different scouting stories of interest to me. I will check back often and perhaps send in a story or two of my own.
    Mike Keller

  5. AvatarJenny Peay

    I would just like to say that I am so grateful that my boys earned their eagle scouts when they did. It seems like we have as a society that has allowed the decay of too many standards that these boys are in so desperate need of. When we start to allow this it will only put this wonderful program at risk. I pray that the future generation will be strong enough to endure and conquer all of the mixed standards that are thrown at them. We need to stand strong in all times, in all places, in all things that we believe to be true. Boys need something good and pure to believe in and learn from, not what is popular or who might not be included. They are our future and now they are at risk.


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