In our travels around the council since the announcement by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in May, we have been asked many questions about the future of the Great Salt Lake Council, and Scouting in general.
Below are the most frequent Scout-related* questions, in no particular order, and our responses.
Will the council continue beyond 2019?
We are blessed in our council with a wealth of outstanding Scouters, volunteer and professional, many of whom have a great deal of Scouting experience around the BSA and with the National Council. They are helping us prepare for success in the years ahead.
While we know many LDS families will not continue in Scouting, we have tens of thousands of Scouts who are members of LDS packs and troops but who are not members of the LDS church. We also currently have thousands more youth in units chartered to other organizations, and we do know some LDS families will stay and join these youth of other faiths in Scouting. We are working to build new packs, troops, ships, posts, and crews for these youth.
While we will be a smaller council membership-wise, we still believe we will be one of the larger membership councils in the Boy Scouts of America. We will continue to work with our remaining, and new, partners and organizations to provide our character-building, lifetime learning Scouting programs and outdoor adventures for families in our council territory in our second century of service.
Who owns the council’s five camping properties?
The Great Salt Lake Council owns Millcreek/Tracy, Bryant Hinckley Scout Ranch, and Teton High Adventure Base outright. We also own the Bear Lake Aquatics Base, but there is a reverter clause that would return the property to the State of Utah if it ever stops being used as a Scout camp. We are in a 99-year lease of Camp Steiner from the United States Forest Service. The council is also the owner of the Teton Whitewater rafting company. No other entities have any other ownership rights to our wonderful camps.
We are planning for many, many, many more years of great Scouting at these incredible properties.
Can LDS families continue in Scouting after 2019?
At the BSA National Annual Meeting in May two Apostles of the LDS church made it clear LDS families could stay in Scouting if they desire, just as they can participate in sports, dance, or other activities not directly connected to their church. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland told us he still wants all of his grandsons and great-grandsons to be Eagle Scouts and said about the BSA and the LDS Church, “We are friends now and we will be friends forever.”
We are going to work with other chartered partners, current and new, to serve all the youth and families in our area who want to be Scouts. We will welcome LDS youth, like Elder Holland’s grandsons, who wish to remain in Scouting just as the LDS church has welcomed youth of other faiths into their Scouting units for 105 years.
How do we start a new unit for our families and Scouts?
The council has staff and volunteers eager to help you start new units with community organizations. These Scouters can help you with resources such as the Unit Performance Guide and more new-unit information. Materials, including the steps to new-unit organization, and details such as how many youth members and adult leaders are needed, may be requested from the Council Service Center and/or found at: https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/new-unit-development/
What is Family Scouting?
For generations girls have observed their brothers and wanted to do the great things we do in the BSA. Families have told us they want their children, and their entire family, to do things together.
Parents tell us they want their daughters to learn and do things the proven, unique way the BSA does them. Chartered organizations want to have a compatible girls’ and a boys’ program for their youth, with Duty to God as a core value.
Starting in 2018, families are able to choose to sign up their sons and daughters in grades K-5 for Cub Scouting. Chartered organizations may choose to establish a new all-girl pack, establish a pack that consists of all-girl dens and all-boy dens, or remain an all-boy pack. All Cub Scout dens will be single gender – all boys or all girls.
Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scout program, Scouts BSA is scheduled to launch in February 2019, enabling all eligible youth ages 11-17 to learn valuable Scouting skills and even earn the Eagle Scout rank. Scouts BSA will be single gender – all-girl troops or all-boy troops. This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single-gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.
The BSA believes we owe it to today’s families to structure our program offerings in a way that fits into their busy lives to deliver character development and values-based leadership training that Scouting promises to all of their children.
See more at https://www.scouting.org/familyscouting/
Is the BSA Changing its name?
The Boy Scouts of America is not changing its name.
The Scouts BSA name change in 2019 applies only to the program name for youth age 11-17 – what is now Boy Scouting. This name also matches Cub Scouts BSA and Venturing BSA as they have been for many years. The members will be known, as they always have been known, as Scouts.
The Great Salt Lake Council is grateful for the 105-year partnership between the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In our council alone over a million young men and adults, and countless others through our service projects, have benefitted from Scouting because of this wonderful partnership. We are saddened, but we will continue to devote our full efforts toward supporting our council’s stakes, wards, families, and young men with a vibrant, strong Scouting program over the remaining months of the partnership – and beyond for all youth who wish to remain in Scouting.
If you would like to review our full “Building for the Future” document, please visit https://gslcwelcomeorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/building-the-future-full-final.pdf
* See the LDS Church’s FAQ at www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/faq-new-initiative-for-children-and-youth-development