March 31, 2020 marks the end of my registration with the Boy Scouts of America as part of its partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It doesn’t mark the end of my association with scouting, but definitely a change. It has caused me to reflect upon my association with Scouting.
In that reflection, I have reconsidered the beginnings of my relationship with Scouting, and that comes from my Father.
I have produced the video below about this topic. After that I have added pictures from the stake wide (multiple unit) Courts of Honor my father ran perhaps every other month when I was a boy and others from my history with scouting. They are stunning pictures, I think you might enjoy looking at.
Below those I have added a couple of links to General Conference Talks by Vaughn J. Featherstone and others about Scouting, that I think are still very relevant today.
In this pandemic period, the lessons of Scouting are very relevant, from Being Prepared (the Scout Motto) to Doing a Good Turn Daily (and perhaps a few hundred of them as suggested by the Scout Slogan), to being “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent” (the Scout Law), to name just a few.
#BePreapared, #BeAScout #LongLiveScouting
1970’s Court of Honor
These pictures are from one or more Courts of Honor for the South Cottonwood Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints south of Salt Lake City before 1977, probably near 1975. A church stake is a group of congregations; perhaps 10 or so units came together for a Court of Honor, I suspect perhaps every other month or so. My father was responsible for setting up and running them as his church calling for the stake. The stake might have composed a district in the scouting organization, but I don’t know that.
My Dad stored most of these decoration, but I remember he borrowed the stuffed Eagles from someone for each court, returning them to their house after the meeting.
I believe the scout master for each unit would sit at the table behind the sign with the unit number on it. I believe the awards to be presented, or perhaps only rank advancements, were placed behind the rank signs. As a unit was called for presentation, the scout master would present all the awards for that unit to each of the boys.
All Eagle Award Recipients were honored together. A local radio station (actually I think it was an announcer for KSL radio, the largest station in Utah) recorded on a reel-to-reel tape the script provided him, which announced the boys name, his parents names, and gave a description of his achievements including his Eagle Project. I believe each boy and his parents would stand when their name was read.
Here are pictures of some scouts, the congregation, rank advancement signs, and some flying American Flags my father must have shot for some presentation about scouting I believe.
Bob Twitchell Scout Materials
The following are selected items of Bob Twitchell’s from his time in scouting
Here are a few pictures of my family.
Youth Scouting Experience
These are selected pictures from my time in scouts as a young man
Various Scout Awards
The following are scouting awards from the early 1980s to 2019
Some Scouting Experiences
My Adult Service in Scouting
My service in scouting includes:
- Varsity Scout Coach, Sandy Utah, Fall 1991 to July 1992
- Webelo Leader, Laguna Creek, California, July 1993 – August 1994
- Assistant Scout Master, Laguna Creek, California, July 1995 – December 1997
- Venture Leader/Scout Committee Chair, Normal, Illinois, March 1998 – August 1999
- Assistant Scout Master–Eleven Year Old Scouts, Bolingbrook, Illinois, August 1999 – June 2000
- Scout Master, Bolingbrook, Illinois, June 2000 – 2002?
- Venture Leader, Bolingbrook, Illinois, January 2005 – January 2007
- Assistant Council Commissioner, Rainbow Council, Joliet Illinois, August 2008 to June 2011
- Assistant District Commissioner, Tonkawa District, Longhorn Council, Dallas Texas, July 2011 – present
- Troop Committee Chair, Flower Mound, Texas May 2017 to March 2020
Bryant S. Hinckley Award
One of the most impactful honors I received was from the Tonkawa District in 2018, the Bryant S. Hinckley Award named for Bryant S. Hinckley who was instrumental in the church’s adoption of scouting as a young men’s program in 1912.
The district description is: “This award is given to recognize distinguished service by a Scouter whose efforts have benefited a large number of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, VarsityScouts and Venturers over time. It is named for Bryant S. Hinckley, an early pioneer of the American West, who said: ‘Service is the virtue that distinguished the great of all times and which they will be remembered by.'”
Working with my Son
My son’s desire to excel in scouting challenged me in so many ways, and provided a great deal of satisfaction, as he earned every possible Belt Loop in cub scouts and went on to earn ever possible Merit Badge in scouting. Boy what I learned from that experience.
You can learn more about that journey in this post about Quinn’s Merit Badge Journey and Listing
General Conference Talks on Scouting
Vaughn J. Featherstone on Scouting
A couple of talks by Vaughn J. Featherstone, former Young Men General President (when I was in scouting) have recently caught my attention. His words about the impact of scouting are similar to what I would say, if I took more time to record them. Here are a couple of them:
From “A Champion of Youth” Vaughn J. Featherstone October 1987:
President Gordon B. Hinckley, during the February 1985 Diamond Jubilee of Scouting in America, said:
“What a wonderful thing it is to plant in the heart of a boy the compelling axiom—‘Be prepared.’ Be prepared for what? For tying knots, yes. Knot tying is Tenderfoot duty, but it is important. In one sense this whole business of living and doing is one of tying knots, the kind of knots that will hold and not give under stress and strain. We see all around us the evidence of failure, of knots that slipped when they should have held. They are evident in career failures, in business failures, in professional failures, in marriage failures. To be able to tie the right knot for the right reason, for the right occasion, and to have it hold against every stress is a part of the process of being prepared” (Boy Scouts Program, 10 Feb. 1985).”“A Champion of Youth” Vaughn J. Featherstone October 1987
Again he quotes Lord Baden-Powell’s farewell address, which seems appropriate for this blog post:
I think Lord Baden-Powell was endowed from on high with a fire burning in his bosom for the youth. He wanted them to know where they were going. He was another great champion of youth. He wrote what he called his farewell message to Scouts of the world:
“If you have ever seen the play ‘Peter Pan,’ you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possibly when the time came for him to die he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of good-bye.
“Remember, it is the last you will ever hear from me, so think it over.
“I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have as happy a life, too.
“I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and to enjoy life. Happiness doesn’t come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.
“Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.
“But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. ‘Be prepared’ in this way to live happy and to die happy—stick to your Scout Promise always—even after you have ceased to be a boy—and God help you to do it. Your friend, Baden-Powell”“A Champion of Youth” Vaughn J. Featherstone October 1987
And if you have read this far, then you really should listen to this talk by Brother Featherstone, which is touching about the impact of his Scout Master. A master sermon from a master Scout Master: “Called As If He Heard a Voice from Heaven” Vaughn J. Featherstone, October 1983.
Other Modern, Significant Talks
- “The Upward Reach” Thomas S. Monson from October 1993
- “Go For It!” Thomas S. Monson, April 1989
- “Magnify Your Calling” Gordon B. Hinckley from April 1989
- “When I Was Called as a Scoutmaster” Ezra Taft Benson from October, 1984
- “Scouters: Lead Them to a Mission” S. Dilworth Young April 1975
Thanks for reading. It makes the writing worthwhile.