by Nettie H. Francis Davis Clipper
KAYSVILLE—On May 8, 2018, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the discontinuation of Church-sponsored Scouting units beginning in 2020. The looming end of the legendary 105-year LDS-BSA partnership has sparked conversations and debate about the Boy Scouts of America across the nation, and in Davis County the questions are no different.
What is happening with Scouting in our community? And what should Scouts and parents expect in the coming months?
“The Scout Motto, ‘Be Prepared’ is a great mantra right now,” commented Mark Francis, LDS-BSA Relationships director, who lives in Kaysville. “The LDS Church has made it clear that they aren’t disavowing any of the values of Scouting, they simply need a worldwide Church youth program.”
Davis County is unique because Boy Scout youth are divided between two of the local councils: the Great Salt Lake Council, with headquarters in Salt Lake City; and the Trapper Trails Council, in Ogden. As expected, the majority of those Scouting units are currently chartered through the LDS Church.
In fact, 21,335 boys in Davis County are registered in LDS Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops, with only 324 youth registered in other units. That’s a hefty 98.5 percent.
“We strongly encourage – as the LDS Church has asked – that boys and families remain fully engaged in their existing Scouting programs,” explained Mark Griffin, Great Salt Lake Council Scout Executive. “Camps, activities, and the annual Friends of Scouting campaign will continue as planned through the end of 2019.”
“We are already working with partners to organize new Scouting units for youth and families who wish to join – or continue in – Scouting when their ward units end,” Griffin said. “We know some youth are racing to earn advancements – such as their Eagle Scout Award – before the end of December 2019. But we want them to know it will still be possible to join another Scout pack, troop, or crew and continue beyond that date. “
“If your Scout needs more time to complete the trail to Eagle, or if you, your Scout, or your family want to continue participating in Scouting past 2019, there will be a place for you,” added Allen Endicott, Trapper Trails Council Scout Executive.
In fact, Endicott predicted, “The quality of Scouting programs in our council will only grow.”
While young women have been part of the BSA’s Explorer posts and Venturing crews since the 1970s, the BSA’s new “Family Scouting” initiative allows girls to also join Cub Scout packs right now, and Scout troops in 2019. (Groups will be either male or female, and are not co-ed.)
“The Boy Scouts of America looks forward to serving all youth with our great character and leadership development program,” Endicott said. “There are many legacy families who love Scouting and want to see their family members continue participating in our values-based program. We also look forward to inviting groups, churches, and other organizations to consider sponsoring a new Scouting unit in their area. We believe that Scouting is needed now more than ever.”