After more than 35 years, a history of Cut Scouting in the Church has been compiled.
Orpha S. Boyden, who was serving on the Primary General Board when Cub Scouting became part of the Church program in 1952, recently completed the history.She said during part of the time she served fon the board, from 1952 to 1963, she lived in the same ward as Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then of the Council of the Twelve. She often talked to him about what was happening in Cub Scouting: how families were reactivated, how boys were brought into the Church, and how their lives were blessed.
"He kept saying to me, 'Write it down.' I was too busy helping it to happen at the time to write it down," Sister Boyden said.
About two years ago, she telephoned the Primary offices to ask a question about some Cub Scouting badges. As she talked with Primary Gen. Pres. Dwan J. Young, the subject of a written history came up again.
Sister Young remembered, "As she shared with me all her feelings and what had happened in the early days of Cub Scouting in the Church, I asked if she had written down that information. Sister Boyden replied, "Why did you ask me that? Someone else said that to me more than 30 years ago and I have not done it.'"
Sister Boyden realized she could not postpone the project any longer. She contacted others who had worked with the Cub Scouts in the Church, and requested they search out old documents and pictures. After she had assembled as much information as she could, she reported to President Benson, "After 35 years, I've finally written it down.
Sister Young said that because some of the incidents were quite significant to the history of Cub Scouts in the Church, the material was bound and a copy was presented to Elders Dean L. Larsen and James M. Paramore of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who received it on behalf of the Church Historical Department.
Sister Young said she is glad there is finally a history of Cub Scouting in the Church because so many boys and their families have been affected by the program. Most LDS boys have their first experiences with the Scouting program through Primary, which has responsibility over Cub Scouts, and Blazer (11-year-old) Scouts.
Sister Young said there are many benefits for a boy participating in Scouting during his Primary years. "One of the biggest advantages is it strengthens the boy's relationship with his family," she said. "In today's society at large, the family is changing dramatically - there are more and more families with just one parent in the home, or in which both parents are away from the home, so the time with the children is becoming more limited.
"Cub Scouting provides the setting in which the boy and his parents are drawn together. Built into the Cub program are basic principles that strengthen the family. for example, as a boy participates in a den meeting and begins activities, he goes home and, ideally, completes that project with the involvement of his parents and other family members. It is the parent who has to sign the book or requirement sheet to verify the boy has completed the project."
She said the family is also brought together once a month when the boy is recognized by his parents and brothers and sisters, if there are any, for what he has accomplished. "Through these type activities, we can see how the family unit is strengthened," said Sister Young.
"I read an article that indicated there are fewer fathers playing ball with their sons, or taking them to the mountains, fishing and camping. The article stated there are fewer mothers who are praying with their children, who are praying with their children, who are reading them bedtime stories. The Cub Scout program brings the boy and his parents together."
She said for the boy himself, Cub Scouting provides opportunities to learn opportunities to learn skills he normally would not acquire. The program also gives the boy an opportunity to work in a small group and meet with other boys his age.
Also, the boy has an opportunity to learn about his country. "One of the basic aims of Scouting is to teach a boy about his duty to his country," declared Sister Young. "The boy can learn about his country and its flag, and about patriotism."
When a Primary boy turns 11, he graduates from Cub Scouting and enters the Blazer Scout program. He registers with a troop and meets for a year with a patrol, which is supervised by the Primary.
"During that year, we provide hime with fundamental, basic Scouting skills," Sister Young explained. "We concentrate on skill awards where we give the Blazer Scout experiences in cooking, camping [not overnight], first aid and citizenship. During that year, the boy may complete his rank of Tenderfoot, Second and First Class Scout, so that at the age of 12, when he moves into full fellowship with the troop, he is ready to commence his merit badge work, which will take him to his Star, Life and Eagle ranks.
"We feel that this one year experience as a Blazer Scout provides the most outstanding Scouting experience an 11-year-old boy can have in any Scout organization in the world. Because he is in a small group, he can have a little more involvement with his registered Scout leader."
She said the Blazer program prepares the boy for the full Scouting program. "The boys want to be prepared, which is their motto," she said.