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Boy Scouts are involved in lots of activities - camping and kayaking, hiking and cooking - but at the same time, they are also gaining other skills and traits from Scouting.

What are some of these things they're learning while out of doors? Several Scouts and former Scouts speak for themselves:

Leadership. David O. Hansen, an Eagle Scout in the Rolling Hills Ward, Annandale Virginia Stake, said Souting has provided him with valuable leadership experience.

"Scouting makes you a better leader and helps you better understand the responsibility in leadership. It has helped me learn what I need to do to get people motivated."

Hansen is plenty motivated himself - during his Scouting years he earned all 119 available merit badges, a feat duplicated by less than 200 others in the history of Scouting.

"Scouting has helped me to be more prepared for the big things I plan to do in life," he said.

One of those "big things" is serving a mission, for which Hansen is now awaiting his call.

Spiritual development. Elder Roger Holgreen, who now serves in the Missouri Independence Mission, said the goals in the Scouting program helped prepare him for his mission.

In a talk he gave to the Val Verda 6th Ward, Bountiful Utah Val Verda Stake, before his mission, Holgeen said: "My four brothers have earned their Eagle awards and have all served missions. Having these goals to look forward to has helped to keep me active and working toward this goal (serving a mission).

"I am trying to live the Scout Law with all my ability. In Scouting we also make an oath, or promise . . . these are not just a lot of empty words. They are very special and important."

Personal growth. Ruell Purcell of the Kingman 2nd Ward, Kingman Arizona Stake, who will soon receive his Eagle award, said Scouting helps a young man learn to cope with life.

Camping, for example, "is fun because you just get away in the wilderness. It teaches you responsibility and how to take care of yourself. Camping also teaches you human relations skills - how to get along with others. When you are with others on a campout, you have to learn how to handle yourself.

"Also, merit badges help you learn all sorts of things," Purcell added. "I think Scouting makes you a better person."

Service to others. Jeff Wells, of the Manassa 2nd Ward, Manassa Colorado Stake, spent every other weekend last summer with his troop on a major project repairing and beautifying a back-country trail.

After the trail project was completed, "I felt good," reported Wells. "You could walk up there and see the new trees and plants, and you couldn't see the trash that was there before or where people had messed the trail up. I like the outdoors to look nice.

"I like being outdoors," Wells said. "If I weren't in Scouting, I would probably just hang around town a lot."

As national director of Mormon Relationships for the Boy Scouts of America during the past 11 years, John Warnick has seen how well-coordinated Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting programs can achieve all of the above benefits, and many others, in the lives of young men.

"Scouting is a great tool in helping to prepare a young man for adult life," Warnick said. "Properly carried out, it teaches him to honor the priesthood he now holds and prepares hime to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, to serve a mission, to become a parent, to offer life-long service to others and to carry a strong testimony with him throughout his life."

Warnick will retire in March after 50 years of service to Scouting. In his current capacity he has visited 1,200 stakes of the Church and has seen, first-hand, the fruits of successful LDS Scouting programs in the teaching and training of well-rounded young men.

"That's because Scouting works with the whole boy."