Young Men and Scouting leaders at the ward level may not know that the needs and circumstances of LDS Scouting are being discussed at the highest levels of most of the BSA local councils throughout the country.
One of the goals of the LDS-BSA Relationships office, under the direction of Mark Francis, is to establish LDS-BSA relationships committees in each of the BSA local councils as outlined in the Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States [May 2015], 2.4, which says:
“An LDS-BSA Relationships committee should be organized in each BSA local council to help maintain and strengthen working relationships between the Church and the BSA local council. This committee includes a member of each stake presidency within the BSA local council. An assigned Area Seventy chairs the committee or designates a stake president to be the chairman. If a stake president is designated as chairman, he provides the Area Seventy with regular reports at coordinating council meetings or at other times. The BSA council Scout executive or his designee serves as an adviser to this committee” (emphasis added).
Note that the Area Seventy is responsible for organizing an LDS-BSA Relationships committee within each council within his geographical stewardship area. He then either chairs the committee himself, or he appoints a stake president to chair the committee. A member from each stake presidency within the council serves on the committee. This means each BSA local council should have a powerful LDS-BSA Relationships committee consisting of solid stake priesthood leaders who are looking out for the needs of LDS Scouting units within the stakes in the council.
Some of the purposes of an LDS-BSA Relationships committee are:
- To maintain and strengthen working relationships between the Church and the BSA local council.
- To collaborate with the BSA local council executive board, including key community, religious, business, and educational organizations.
- Support the “Reach, Invite & Include” Scouting bridge membership effort.
- To provide counsel on policies, procedures, budgets, fundraising, calendars, and training.
- To provide young men a quality Scouting experience, blessed with priesthood guidance and support.
The LDS-BSA Relationships committees allow the Church to communicate our needs, explain the purposes of Aaronic Priesthood, and help non-LDS Scout executives understand the priesthood channels within the Church.
These committees don’t just meet to pass on information. They form a true partnership between priesthood executives and Scout executives to accomplish the Purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood through the mission, aims, and methods of Scouting (see Mac’s Message #3). The committee is designed to engage and unite LDS priesthood leaders and council executives in creating quality LDS Scouting units within a BSA local council.
Area Seventies and members of the LDS-BSA Relationships committees also have an opportunity to participate in a quarterly teleconference originating from the LDS-BSA Relationships office in Salt Lake City. Typically, a member of the Young Men general presidency participates in this meeting. During these teleconferences participants share best practices, learn more about their roles and responsibilities, receive inspirational direction, and address the specific needs of the councils. The chair of each LDS-BSA Relationships committee (or his designee) is encouraged to invite his council executive to accompany him to the LDS-BSA Relationship Seminar held in Salt Lake City each April and October prior to general conference.
The LDS-BSA Relationships website has an entire section of information and resources dedicated specifically to helping LDS-BSA Relationships committee chairs conduct meaningful and productive committee meetings.
It should be encouraging to local Young Men and Scouting leaders to know that priesthood leaders at the general, area, and stake levels are actively involved in Scouting. The Church fully supports Scouting. The Church is active at every level of the Boy Scouts of America. The partnership between the BSA and the Church remains strong and is becoming stronger through the direct involvement of Area Seventies and members of stake presidencies serving on LDS-BSA Relationships committees across the country.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Do you have an LDS-BSA Relationships committee in your BSA local council?
- Is a member of your stake presidency participating in the committee meetings?
- How can you better use the committee to address your Scouting needs?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“I love the Scouting movement. The promise of the Scout Oath and the twelve points of the Scout Law point young men along the path of being prepared for the 21st century. They provide a solid and powerful magnetic force toward development of a well-rounded and noteworthy character that counts. If every boy in America knew and observed the Scout Oath, we would do away with most of the jails and prisons in this country. If each of us would live up to those few words, ‘On my honor, I will do my best,’ whether it be in school, whether it be in our social life, whether it be in our business or professional life, if I will do my very best, success and happiness will be mine” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, Boy Scout Jamborall, Fillmore, Utah, September 27, 1996).
–Mac McIntire is a dedicated Scouter who has blessed many lives through his service and acute understanding of the Scouting program. He currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.