Who may serve as a Scout leader is a matter of current public discussion. Proposals are before the governing bodies of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) which propose changes in Scout unit leader qualification criteria. The Church is well-represented on these governing bodies. Although the Church has a voice, it is but one of many voices. The issues are complex and difficult, and the outcome uncertain.
In LDS-sponsored Scout units, Scout leaders are qualified, called and released by bishops and other Church leaders. The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve guide the Church’s leader selection criteria and its responses to major changes at BSA.
Within the Church’s Utah South Area, Scouting is well-aligned with the Church’s values and goals. Our wards and branches are BSA’s charter partner in 99.3% of the UNPC’s units. As to our packs, troops, teams and crews, UNPC works with Church leaders to help the Church achieve desired outcomes for its young men – described under these jointly-developed “Six Pillars”:
- Develop a testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel;
- Grow in capacity to charitably serve;
- Prepare to serve a mission;
- Build ability and confidence to do hard things;
- Learn to become a good husband and father; and
- Be physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.
The UNPC serves Utah Scout units in and south of Juab, Utah, Wasatch and Uintah counties. UNPC also serves Scout units in Lincoln County and Mesquite, Nevada, and units on the Arizona Strip. With its 19 local districts, UNPC serves over 89,000 Scouts – and is, by far, the nation’s largest BSA Council in terms of numbers of boys and units served. UNPC’s finance details include:
- Friends of Scouting dollars are used locally— in the UNPC and its districts. The UNPC pays only 1% of its total budget to BSA National – UNPC’s share for common services provided by BSA National. As for Scouts in LDS Church-sponsored units, BSA National is funded from Scout registration fees, which the Church annually pays direct to BSA National.
- Funds raised through Friends of Scouting are about 43% of the total income budget for the UNPC. Camping and Activities Revenues are about 45% of the income budget, while the remaining 12% comes from merchandise and supply sales, interest income, etc.
- Scouts’ participation in UNPC’s 12 camps (Maple Dell, Tifie, Thunder Ridge, etc.) are funded in part by Friends of Scouting dollars. Camp fees are subsidized about $400,000 annually by Friends of Scouting dollars in order to keep camp fees lower, allowing the UNPC to have one of the country’s lowest BSA camp prices
- Friends of Scouting dollars are not the typical source with which UNPC builds camps, buildings, and similar improvements. These funds come from separate donations, and returns on past capital and endowment donations.
- The UNPC payroll for full-time employees averages $41,000 per full-time employee across the organization, including an average of $50,000 per full-time professional staffer. I have studied the top salaries of the council, and they are reasonable — sufficient to retain individuals of needed talent and ability, yet still involving a sacrifice in comparison with private sector alternatives.
- The UNPC employs 350 seasonal employees – mostly teenagers from Utah South Area stakes – to teach and serve in camps. These young men and women, in their BSA employment, learn to teach and serve in powerful ways, in an away-from-home environment. This Scout employment helps train future missionaries.
- UNPC’s accounting processes are professionally handled. I am not the UNPC’s auditor, but I have reviewed the annual audit performed by a fine CPA firm that helps assure that the UNPC’s affairs are well managed and properly presented.
- The Endowment Fund of BSA is smaller than it ought to be, but appears both well managed and appropriately segregated. The Endowment Fund is currently approximately $3.3 million. Five percent of this amount — currently about $160,000 per year – helps augment Capital and Operating activities. The Endowment Fund is soundly invested, and historically has achieved sound returns.
- UNPC has no debt. It has a line of credit with a present balance of $0 dollars. The line of credit is maintained as a prudent measure to “be prepared.”
- Friends of Scouting donations from 2015 will fund 2016 UNPC operations, except that collections from the 2015 drive will help cash-flow the last few months of 2015, a necessity that will be eliminated with consistent Friends of Scouting efforts in this and future years.
- Last year’s Friends of Scouting Campaign was our most successful ever, yet the growth in the campaign totals does not keep pace with the membership growth in our rapidly growing region. In terms of expenditures per boy, the UNPC is the nation’s most efficient council.
All donations to the Church’s 2015 Friends of Scouting drive are voluntary. Each will be deeply appreciated. Thank you for considering this opportunity.
Elder Dane Leavitt | Area Seventy for Utah South Area, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | LDS-BSA Relationships Chair, Utah National Parks Council