I have found in my many years in Scouting that some of the most powerful spiritual experiences for young men come not in the priesthood quorum classroom, but while standing on a distant mountain top, hiking on a narrow trail in a thick forest, sitting quietly by a crystal clear lake, or while gathered as a Scouting unit around a warm campfire late at night.
As I mentioned last week, as a Young Men leader you have numerous opportunities to spiritually influence a boy’s life. If you have young men in your quorum or Scout unit from single-parent families or families without a faithful priesthood role model, you may be the only priesthood influence in that young man’s life. Therefore, one of your core objectives should be to provide your boys with numerous “HOFRS” experiences where you “Help Others Feel and Recognize the Spirit.” **
Once a young man becomes a member of your priesthood quorum or Scouting unit there shouldn’t be a single boy under your stewardship who can honestly complain that he has never felt the Holy Ghost in his life. When planned properly, every Scout activity can be a spiritual experience. Taking time to facilitate personal reflection after an event, a hike, a fishing trip, a day of camping, or a merit badge session will help the boys recognize the spiritual connection to everything they do in Scouting.
I hope you will see each of the following situations as a structured time when you can touch a boy spiritually by bearing testimony, sharing your personal spiritual experiences, telling faith-promoting stories, or discussing moral principles:
- Scouting leader conferences
- Scouter’s minutes
- Behind-the-scene, one-on-one guidance
- Reflections after each activity
- Campfire stories
- Courts of honor
- During life-changing or difficult activities
- Activities where safety is required
- Skills and leadership training
- Answering a boy’s questions
The purpose of Scouting is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes.” You can fulfill this purpose, and the Lord’s purposes, more fully when you never miss an opportunity to help others feel and recognize the Spirit.
Take a Moment to Reflect
- Are you holding Scouting leader conferences with your boys?
- Do you provide meaningful Scouter’s minutes where you reinforce the Scout values?
- Do you create spiritual experiences at your camping, hiking, campfire, merit badge classes, and other Scouting activities? Do you provide quiet, reflective moments in their Scouting experiences so they can do so?
- Can the boys feel and recognize the Spirit as they interact with you?
Turn Your Reflection Into Action
- What will you start doing, stop doing, or do better as a result of your reflection?
“But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.”(Alma 17:3).
-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 Evanston, Wyoming.
** In the reply section below, please feel free to share your special experiences in Scouting where you have helped your boys feel and recognize the Spirit.