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Historic office of the Utah Boy Scouts has closed

Photo by Mary Richards, Thursday November 22, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY—It’s the end of an era for the Boy Scouts of America in Utah. The Great Salt Lake Council’s historic office on Foothill Drive closed November 22 as the organization prepares for a big drop in numbers on January 1st.

The Great Salt Lake Council, a local council of the Boy Scouts of America, plans to move offices to its Sandy location — but a representative says the Boy Scouts organization will not go away.

“The Boy Scouts of America in Utah will be smaller,” said Growth Coach Mark Francis, “but at the end of the day, we will be stronger.”

Numbers in Utah are predicted to drop from 200,000 scouts to 10,000 next year after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ends its relationship with the scouting organization.

In May 2018 The Church announced it would part ways with the Boy Scouts of America, in favor of a new church activity program that will involve boys and girls ages 8 to 18.

Francis said the Boy Scouts have been overwhelmingly busy as The Church prepares to leave.

Almost on a daily basis we have several people coming into our office with the paperwork for their sons to earn their eagle scout.”

Normally, boy scouts get their Eagle award at around 17 1/2 years old, said Francis. But this year they have had almost double the amount of scouts filing the paperwork at younger ages of around 13 or 14.

The Boy Scouts want to make sure anyone who wants to continue can do so, with community troops and charters.

Dick Pollei was at the council offices on Thursday to fill out a charter for a new Troop in Holladay. He said he has been involved in scouting since first going to Camp Steiner in 1941.

The future of scouting in Utah will be with youth who want to be involved, he said, not just because they are doing it for their church or because they feel they have to.

The other scouting properties in Utah may change in purpose and scope in January, 2020. For more information, visit be-a-scout.org.

 

Zoi Walker contributed to this story.