“A Century of Honor” to Celebrate 100 Years of LDS Scouting
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
A century ago, Church leaders decided to partner with the fledgling Boy Scouts of America and sponsor a troop in Salt Lake City. From that inauspicious beginning, the Church would become the largest sponsor of that storied adventure program for boys. Millions of Latter-day Saints have worn the iconic Scout uniform at some point in their lives. Today, more than 430,000 LDS boys are registered as Scouts.
Over the past 100 years, Scouting has played a role in helping Aaronic Priesthood holders living in the United States prepare for missionary service, professional careers, families, and lifelong Church service. The First Presidency has saluted “Scouting’s emphasis on duty to God and moral behavior and its positive influence in the lives of boys and young men.”
In commemoration of the 100-year association between the Church and Scouting, an event dubbed “A Century of Honor” will be held October 29 at 7:00 p.m. mountain daylight time. The celebration will be staged in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and be broadcast live, via scouts100.lds.org, throughout North America in English and Spanish.
The program is expected to be festive, educational, and inspiring and will include Scout choirs, historical vignettes, and videos highlighting key moments and achievements from the past 100 years of Latter-day Saint Scouting. The event will be available to all involved in Scouting—past and present—including young men and their leaders. Members of the First Presidency are expected to attend “A Century of Honor.” They will be joined by the Young Men general presidency, national Scout leaders, and national executive board members.
The national Scout executives will also spend the days leading up to the program meeting with Church leaders at Church headquarters.
Scouting’s most tenured national executive board member, President Thomas S. Monson, remains a champion of the Scouting program and its enduring partnership with the Church in the United States.
“Scouting brings out the best in each of us,” he has said. “You’ve learned much from Scouting. Live what you’ve learned and continue to learn. Help others to hike the trails, to keep steadfast in the paths of truth, of honor, of duty, that all of you can soar together on eagles’ wings.”
Young Men leaders hope the centennial celebration will be more than an evening of nostalgia. Troops throughout North America are being encouraged to view the live broadcast together at a local stake center. The program is designed to help build relationships between LDS Scout units and families and others in the communities of all faiths and backgrounds. Local Aaronic Priesthood leaders and Scoutmasters can use the event to make new friends in their neighborhoods through Scouting.
“This is an opportunity to create a bridge between our Scouting units and other Scout units and to any others who might have an interest,” said Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president.
Brother Beck said Scouters of all backgrounds will relate to the values that will be celebrated during the “A Century of Honor” event. He also emphasized that anyone who has ever been connected to Scouting—be they former Scouts or Scoutmasters, family members, or local Scout committee members—will find much to enjoy in the program.
“A Century of Honor” is expected to be the climactic event in a year marked by celebration. In June, thousands of Scouts gathered in southeastern Idaho for the “Rise Up” encampment, where the majority of campers earned the Thomas S. Monson Award. A month later, scores of LDS Scouts marked the anniversary by participating in the 2013 BSA National Jamboree in West Virginia. This year the LDS-BSA Relationships office also published Century of Honor—a book chronicling the history of Scouting in the Church. The Church History Museum is also hosting a pair of Scout-themed exhibitions that include the original, iconic work of illustrator Norman Rockwell.
Tickets for the free event are being distributed through stakes across the region.