History of Scouting in Utah

In Utah in 1910, community & religious leaders wre concerned about the youth who no longer were kept busy on the farms and were "wasting their time."

Scout troops, using Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys, had sprung up throughout Utah. LDS member T. George Wood and Maxwell Rice, an Episcopalian minister, were two Scoutmasters who used the Scout program with great success.

On March 8, 1911, the Church’s YMMIA board organized a committee to study the movement and investigate the possibility of standardizing Boy Scout troops within the YMMIA and affiliating with the national organization. Committee members included Brigham H. Roberts (YMMIA 2nd counselor), George H. Brimhall (president of Brigham Young University), and Benjamin Goddard (YMMIA general board member). On Wednesday, March 22, 1911, they presented their report to the YMMIA general superintendent and general board. They commended the Scouting movement and its values but decided NOT to be part of the BSA, but to start their own program. The name “MIA Scouts” was officially adopted on November 29, 1911.

As YMMIA Athletic Director John H. Taylor traveled throughout Utah, he frequently was asked why the Church didn't just join with the BSA. As a result, the Athletic Committee undertook an informal study  and began correspondence with James E. West. Samuel Moffat, National BSA Field commissioner, visited Salt Lake in January 1913 and met with Heber J. Grant, Brigham H. Roberts, Lyman R. Martineau, Bryant S. Hinckley, Brigham F. Grant, Oscar A. Kirkham, and John H. Taylor at the YMCA building. The mechanics of a possible partnership were discussed, including such subjects as the Boy Scout oath, maintaining national advancement standards, and the details of managing Scout work throughout the Church. The Boy Scouts of America had not yet officially affiliated with any organization, and the provision for such an arrangement required forethought and discussion from both parties.

After much discussion and correspondence with the National BSA Executive Board, Bryant S. Hinckley made the motion to the YMMIA Board that the church affiliate with the National Boy Scouts. The motion was adopted. The official charter was dated May 21, 1913. This is considered the official affiliation date.

On June 9, 1913, in conjunction with the annual MIA conference, the charter was signed and a celebration was held in honor of the affiliation between the Church and the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts gathered at Wandamere Park in Salt Lake City for a day of Scouting activities. A dynamic partnership, destined to affect millions of boys, had been formed.

(Content excerpted from the forthcoming LDS-BSA Centennial Book)

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