A few months ago, Rushford Lee, owner of Research Emotion Design (RED) started asking himself some questions centered on the subject of Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How did Scouting relate to Church objectives for youth? Was there a spiritual side to Scouting? Is there really any link between the trail to Eagle and a mission?
This prompted him to embark on a large research project for the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America, including broad surveys to hundreds of LDS Church leaders.
The research pointed the Utah National Parks Council, BSA in a new direction that centers around six pillars that connect with and communicate to LDS leaders the “why” of Scouting.
For the month of October, we would like to focus on pillar 4 – Confidence.
Having experiences in accomplish hard things – whether physical, emotional, social, or even spiritual – were identified by Stake Presidents and Bishops as critical in preparing youth to be successful in serving a full-time LDS mission and to be prepared for the future as a son/daughter of God.
Some of the direct quotes received in our research from LDS leaders regarding how Scouting can be utilized to accomplish LDS objectives include:
- Development of a strong work ethic will be beneficial to any young man throughout their lives in every aspect of their lives.
- A young man has learned to achieve, which develops self-confidence and self-esteem. He has learned to serve other and not [to be] self-serving.
- They must be prepared to go ahead in the face of difficulty with faith and a cheerful disposition.
- Teaching the young men to lead and to make and keep goals.
- Experience challenges, and learn to overcome them.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to go with all of the young men from my local LDS stake to Beaver High Adventure Base. During this week-long event, we saw first-hand the growth that comes from doing hard things.
The youth had the opportunity to experience challenge courses that would test their mental strength and agility.
They had the opportunity to go on long, strenuous hikes during which they proved to themselves that they could reach their desired destination, despite physical challenges.
And we climbed multiple 12,000’+ mountains.
These youth returned home better prepared to take on physical and mental challenges. Their confidence had been strengthened and their friendships deepened.
In Scouting, youth are learning life skills, achieving confidence and gaining a testimony – all under the tutelage of men and women worthy of exemplifying. In other words, we are helping youth to ‘Become Men Such as These’.
We would love to hear your stories about Doing Hard Things!
Author: John Gailey | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council