The following is an adaptation of a document, “Scouters’ Pledge to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” developed by the Utah National Parks Council as part of their commitment to better serve their major customer base. (Over 90% of all units chartered in this council are sponsored by the Church.) The quoted material below is found in the original document published on January 9, 2016.
As Scouters concerned with the development of young adults involved in the Venturing program, “we pledge to help our LDS chartered partners use the [Venturing program as outlined], and all it has to offer to prepare young men for priesthood duties, missions, temple marriage, fatherhood, and lives of service to God and their fellowmen.”
“When we raise three fingers in the Scout sign, we commit to three important duties: duty to God, duty to others, and duty to prepare. In partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we pledge to teach Scouts to honor these duties and embody the Scout Oath and Law” so they may become adults of high character. We pledge to work to combine the principles and teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ that are taught during the regular Sunday classroom settings with real-world experiences and adventures that are integrated in the Venturing program of Scouting.
DUTY TO GOD: “A Scout pledges on his honor that he will do his duty to God first and always. In [Venturing], we teach young men to be reverent and to recognize the hand of God in their lives. We pledge to create mountaintop experiences for boys. Some of the most sacred moments of personal revelation in the Book of Mormon and modern times happened on top of mountains or in secluded groves.1 We will offer a safe, meaningful way to get these youth outside, studying God’s creations. We pledge to reinforce gospel principles and duty to God not only in the outdoors, but in every Scout meeting and activity.”
DUTY TO OTHERS: “A Scout pledges on his honor to do his duty to his country and to help other people at all times. We pledge to teach boys early to serve, lead, and teach [“Learn, Act, Share”] those in their . . . crew, quorum, and community. We will give them leadership opportunities as they organize and carry out service projects. We will help them focus on what they can do for the world. In every Scouting program and activity we will reinforce the lesson taught by King Benjamin2 that ‘when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.’ We pledge to facilitate and teach service to others to every boy that takes the Scout Oath.”
DUTY TO PREPARE: “A Scout pledges on his honor to obey the Scout Law, to learn vital character traits, and to become a man of integrity and honor. We pledge to use [the Venturing program to make young men better and grow into responsible men of character and honor]. We will help them grow in character, strength, conviction, and moral uprightness by teaching principles of leadership and the Scout Law. We will make reverence, service, trustworthiness, obedience, and other Christlike attributes3 an integral part of everything these young men do. We will not just give boys a list of things they should do, but instead we pledge to teach them what they must become, so that when they recite the Scout Law and say ‘A Scout is trustworthy’ what they will mean is ‘I am trustworthy.’”
“By enabling young men to perform these three duties in their growing years, we pledge to partner with the Church to shape them into ‘Men of God,’ not only in word but in deed as well. As we help these young men participate in a [Venturing] program that supports and enhances quorum activities and responsibilities, they will learn to use their priesthood keys, serve together as a quorum, care for others, come closer to their Father in Heaven, and emulate the Savior.”
Again, I want to give credit where credit is due and thank the Utah National Parks Council for doing the legwork in developing this pledge and sharing it. I encourage all Venturing leaders (adult Advisors as well as youth leaders) to review this pledge and to work toward incorporating it into all aspects of their Venturing programs. If this type of pledge would work for your crew, I would ask that you personalize it by asking your crew leadership (both youth and adult leaders) to sign it. Then share copies with any and all who are involved in your Venturing program. Don’t just say that it’s nice, but “Learn, Act, Share.” Put it into your crew bylaws, post it in your meeting room, and get the word out! This is a “Go-and-Do” type of document.
1 For few examples of “mountaintop experiences” see the Book of Enos; the story of the brother of Jared in the Book of Ether; Joseph Smith—History; and the Topical Guide, “Mountain.”
David Wilson has been actively involved in Venturing since its inception back in the ’90’s. He is dedicated to working on strengthening the bridges and removing the walls that occur between the Church and the BSA for the older young men in the Church. David continues to work to bless and serve through his involvement in multiple levels of Venturing (from national to the local council). He currently calls Orem, Utah home. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.