Grand Teton Council
Idaho Falls, Idaho
The following is an example of how priesthood guidance can strengthen relationships and Scouting programs. The Area Seventy formed LDS-BSA Relationship sub-committees along the three coordinating council boundaries–Pocatello, Idaho Falls, and Rexburg. A stake president was assigned to chair each sub-committee. These sub-committees meet quarterly. In addition to these sub-committee meetings the Area Seventy, the BSA council Scout executive, and the BSA director of field services meet quarterly with the assigned stake presidents from each of the coordinating councils to synchronize their efforts. Working together in this way, these relationships committees have been able to eliminate quotas for Friends of Scouting. Instead, they have encouraged stakes to give everyone the opportunity to contribute without pressure of meeting quotas. As a result, they have been able to meet the needs of the BSA local council. They have also encouraged the BSA local council to find ways to control costs and have been able to lower camp fees. Finally, they have been able to improve training among Scout leaders.
Denver Area Council
The Denver LDS-BSA Relationships Committee is functioning effectively because of priesthood leadership provided by the Area Seventy. This powerful arrangement has been a tremendous blessing to both the Church and Scouting. The Area Seventy serves as the chair of the LDS-BSA Relationships Committee. He leads out in this meeting and the BSA council representatives provide support. Because of the strong leadership provided by the Area Seventy, re-chartering, the quality of the Scouting programs, and relationships between the Church and the BSA local council have improved. This has opened up other doors for the Church. Following are some significant accomplishments:
- The council desires to build its future around faith-based institutions. The council knew that the Church had a good relationship with the Catholic archbishop in Denver and approached the assigned Area Seventy to see if he could open the door for the BSA local council to meet with the archbishop to talk about more support from the Catholic bishops for Scouting. The Area Seventy set up the meeting with the archbishop and attended the meeting with the council Scout executive. As a result of that meeting, the archbishop authorized BSA meetings with Catholic bishops in all of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
- There was a later important benefit that came from the positive relationship the Church had developed with this archbishop. He was subsequently transferred from Denver, Colorado, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When Elder Dallin H. Oaks testified before Congress about charitable contributions, he had difficulty arranging for a representative from the Catholic Church to provide support during the hearing. A call was made to this archbishop and he immediately sent a key representative to be with Elder Oaks at the hearing.
- Because of the strong LDS-BSA Relationships Committee, there are many members of the Church on the council executive board. This has helped with interfaith relationships.
- Denver Area Council executives and board members have been invited to attend LDS general conference and several have attended. One board member, not a member of the Church, attended the April 2012 General Conference. He came up to the Area Seventy recently and thanked him for inviting him to attend conference. He said, “That priesthood session was so amazing. I had no idea the Church does all the things that it does.” He now has a very positive view of the Church because of his conference experience.
The LDS-BSA Relationships office in Salt Lake City, Utah, can assist in the development of this valuable committee. To set up an appointment call 801-530-0004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.