Nicole Kunze | Lehi Free Press
In August 2019, scout troops all over Utah were winding down activity in anticipation of the split between the Boy Scouts of America (now Scouts BSA) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That same month, a handful of eager scouts started Troop 5 in Lehi, meeting faithfully on Mondays at Five Inc. Now they are more than 40 strong, with seven Eagle Scouts in 2020.
“The Scouts really drive the program – they choose what we do every month. It’s a great opportunity for the youth to be in leadership. They’re making the decisions. Kids are drawn to that,” said Bill Pope, father of two scouts and one of the leaders of Troop 5. Pope was involved in the scouting program when they were associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than 15 years and has noticed a big difference in the experience since the split. “All the adult leaders have had to learn to step back and just let the scouts do it. It’s amazing to see their growth,” Pope continued.
Each patrol in Troop 5 has a patrol leader, scribe, historian, quartermaster (manages patrol equipment) and other jobs. The community support of their fundraisers has allowed the scouts to pay their own fees, including the weeklong scout camp.
Troop 5 adapted to COVID-19 restrictions with their 2020 meetings and activities and still managed to go white-water rafting, cross-country skiing, rifle shooting, winter camping and even SCUBA diving. All activities follow Scout BSA Program Features with a main activity at the end of the month – usually an overnight campout. When they went cross-country skiing, the scouts first used their weekly meetings to learn about equipment and techniques from a guest speaker. Then they went to Bryce Canyon National Park to experience cross-country skiing firsthand.
Another memorable 2020 activity was the winter camp with the traditional Klondike Derby. “The girls dominated the competition – they had more confidence and teamwork going for them,” recalled Pope. “The boys were maybe intimidated a little, but they were definitely impressed. It inspired them to be better. Having girls in Scouts BSA has been amazing for all of the kids.”
“Scouting puts these young people in situations where they are responsible, and they can prove themselves. The quiet kids are making big leaps by leading, teaching and building friendships. They’re doing hard things like SCUBA diving and getting through it. They make gains with every experience,” Pope continued.
There is no geographical boundary restriction for Scouts BSA Troop 5, and anyone is welcome to join. Program features for 2021 include ice fishing, backpacking, wilderness survival, caving, shotgun shooting, camping and more. Contact Bill Pope for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.