Leadership and character are the cornerstones of our movement. For all of the adventure we provide youth such as hiking, camping and sailing, those activities are proven pathways and opportunities to develop leadership skills and become a person of character. Our Scouts have gone on to serve as presidents, governors and legislators. Others have become leaders in the fields of science and health or entrepreneurs in business.
To reinforce our commitment to building the next generation of leaders, we broke ground on the new Thomas S. Monson Leadership Excellence Complex at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, named after the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The groundbreaking was an incredible opportunity to celebrate Scouting’s 100-year partnership with The Church and recognize the ongoing commitment of our philanthropic sponsors.
Returning to my native West Virginia – surrounded by leaders in our organization, across industries and in their respective communities, I was also able to reflect on the life-changing experiences that Scouting afforded me. It reaffirmed the value of our programs and the impact that the skills we learned as Scouts have had on our careers. Jack Antolini, a local Beckley Scout, said it well in our conversation following the groundbreaking:
“Scouting is a brotherhood. It’s something that you take with you, and it translates to any language or any country… It’s something that we will take with us the rest of our lives.”
While Scouts already learn character-based leadership skills in our programs, this complex
provides a tremendous opportunity to formalize this training so Scouts can be better prepared to lead throughout their lives.
The complex will include a state-of-the-art facility where Scouts can learn the principles of leadership and put them into practice with hands-on training. Set to be completed in 2020, the complex will host guest speakers and offer a variety of training methods and learning experiences in categories such as communication, storytelling and conflict resolution.
It is truly fitting that the Thomas S. Monson Leadership Excellence Complex will be developed at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, as the location has become such an important landmark within our movement. With extensive and diverse offerings to help Scouts experience a respect and appreciation for the outdoors, sustainability, service and leadership development, the new complex expands upon the life-changing adventures already offered at SBR.
The Thomas S. Monson Leadership Excellence Complex will build upon the rigorous character-based leadership our movement in known for, and I hope it will offer the same value for Scouts as it has for me. As a son of West Virginia, I look forward to seeing the complex develop and to continue to help shape tomorrow’s leaders from across the country by building character and instilling positive values.