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ROY — As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepares to cut ties with the Boy Scouts of America, Scout councils are looking for families, sponsors and experienced leaders who want to be a part of Scouting going forward.
Elton Sutherland is one of many volunteer Scout leaders who is reaching out to leaders and parents currently tied to the Boy Scouts of America through their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ. As an assistant district commissioner, he said troops and packs in Roy and Hooper are handing out flyers at schools, inviting parents and students to remain or become a part of Scouting.
“It helped me to find my way to God, and to follow that path all my life,” said Sutherland, a volunteer of 21 years. “Throughout a lifetime we make choices, and it always gives us a good grounding to start out in life.”
Sutherland’s local Scout troop and pack are chartered through Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Roy. Like many other organizations that support Scouting outside the Church of Jesus Christ, Sutherland said they are ready to welcome Latter-day Saint members who wish to continue to support Scouting.
“See what we have to offer, see if they fit in, see if it feels comfortable to them,” Sutherland explained. “There’s a lot of choices out there today. We just invite you to come out and participate, instead of letting your kid sit on the couch.”
The Trapper Trails Council, which serves much of Northern Utah is a part of that same proactive push, much like other councils in the state.
“This is an interesting time for the organization,” said Allen Endicott, Scout executive for the Trapper Trails Council. “We’ve enjoyed a partnership with the LDS Church for over 100 years, and we really appreciate the church.”
Endicott said his office fields inquiries daily from both parents and leaders, looking to remain a part of Scouting. New sponsors are surfacing, too.
“In the last month or so, we’ve had several new units come online,” Endicott said. “A new unit up in Garland, a new unit in Kaysville. We’ve had some new units come back that were involved previously, but kind of got resurrected out in Wyoming.”
Endicott admits the organization will be significantly smaller without the church’s support, but at the same time says the council needs to prepare for the families and leaders who will be looking for somewhere else to go.
“I anticipate that we’ll be here for the foreseeable future. Scouting has a great legacy in this area of Northern Utah,” Endicott said. “I see a bright future for Scouting as we are able to serve families, and be more involved in our community.”
The Trapper Trails has created a webpage to guide leaders, sponsors and families through the transition, which can be found at trappertrails.org/pathforward