WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- The Great Salt Lake Council for the Boy Scouts of America is opening a new scouting leadership and service center in West Valley City.
Bruce R. Hough, President of the Great Salt Lake Council, said the center will help make scouting activities more available to under-served communities.
“It’s going to be a destination for scouts and scouters so that we can do day camps and activities,” he said. “A destination so that, particularly those on the west side in our under-served communities, will have a place to go to participate in Scouting."
The council recently hosted a luncheon for community leaders, religious leaders and Scouting supporters to celebrate the future of the Boy Scouts.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to buy the existing center on Foothill Boulevard in Salt Lake City in exchange for a property at the Lakes Business Park in West Valley City.
'We are grateful to have made available to them a site and property that was owned by the church, where they can build a new headquarters facility, activity center, so both professional scouters and boys both can come and take advantage of the Scouting program,” said Bishop Dean M. Davies, a member of the Presiding Bishopric of the LDS Church.
One group plans to make the center its home base. The refugee Scouting program started eight years ago and serves youth from 75 countries, who speak nearly 150 languages and dialects.
“It's been a tremendous opportunity for us to reach out to not only our immigrant populations, where we represent very well, but also with our refugee populations, which are growing quite rapidly,” Hough said.
Saborn Va is a refugee from Cambodia who now serves as the Varsity Coach for Troop 1262. He said there are about 100 boys ranging from the younger scouts to teens.
“They are learning so many things with Scouting,” Va said. “I mean, we are giving them a vocabulary of experiences, things such as outdoor activities, hiking, fishing—but also confidences to do things they never thought they could do before.”
The new center is scheduled to open by fall of 2018, just in time for the 100-year anniversary of the Great Salt Lake Council.