Scouting reinforces positive principles

Scouting fortifies families with positive principles, values and activities that form the foundation of its 83-year partnership with the Church, according to general Primary and Aaronic Priesthood leaders.

Experiences in Cubs, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouting and Exploring provide opportunities for many shared moments within families."One of the best things that happens in Cub Scouting is family involvement," said Patricia P. Pinegar, Primary general president. "It not only encourages parental involvement, but involves the whole family as well."

The same holds true for Aaronic Priesthood Scouting, once a boy graduates from Primary.

"For over 80 years, the Church has enjoyed a strong and positive relationship with Scouting in the United States, Canada and in many other places around the world," said Elder Jack H Goaslind of the Presidency of the Seventy, who serves as Young Men general president. "Of course, the Church adopted Scouting in the early part of this century because it embraced values, principles and methods that were supportive of young men and their families.

"Today, our relationship with Scouting remains strong and continues to grow because Scouting still embraces the same guiding principles introduced by Lord Robert Baden-Powell all those years ago. Scouting supports young men and their families in a way that few institutions still do."

Countless families in the Church are strengthened through their participation in Scouting. An example of such is the Richard L. Barnett family of West Jordan, Utah. On Feb. 17, four generations of Eagle Scouts in the extended Barnett family were brought together as Christopher, 14, received his Eagle award. Scouting - and the rank of Eagle - has been a shared bond between Christopher; his father, Richard; grandfather D. Lee Barnett of Las Vegas, Nev.; and his great-grandfather, Wilmer L. Barnett of St. George, Utah.

The two eldest Barnetts were more than happy to travel considerable distances to share the special evening with their grandson and great-grandson. Whenever the extended family gets together, the topic comes up of how Christopher and his two younger brothers, Greg, 12, and Andrew, 9, are progressing in the program, along with stories of past Scouting experiences and adventures.

"Dad was the Scoutmaster when I was a Scout more than 20 years ago, and Grandpa was chairman of the Scout committee in the ward at the same time," recalled Richard, a high councilor in the West Jordan Mountain Shadows Stake. "Scouting has provided lots of great time together for all of us. It is a program that, if used and understood properly, can be one of the greatest positive influences in a young man's life. Many people view Scouting as exclusively camping and being outdoors. Our experience is that it also teaches leadership skills, provides service opportunities and can introduce a young man to a wide variety of life and career opportunities."

Brother Barnett's wife, Tammy, is a counselor in the Mountain Shadows 3rd Ward Primary. She added that Scouting not only has linked her son with his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, but also with his siblings as they have pitched in to help with various projects and activities.

"It has always been an important part of everybody's life within our family and has brought us closer together," she said. "Richard has gone on many hikes, camps and activities with the boys, and they enjoy being together. The values and principles of Scouting have influenced our family greatly."

Christopher said the influence of the older Eagles in his family - his grandfather is a counselor in a bishopric and great-grandfather a temple sealer, high priests quorum instructor and Scouting's Silver Beaver recipient - has "motivated me as they have set an example, and I've wanted to be like them. I hope I can set similar examples for my brothers and my future children."

Elder Goaslind noted that those Scouting relationships "forged and steeled through appropriate participation together help form positive memories that can last forever."

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