National Lutheran Association on Scouting (2021)
The National Lutheran Association on Scouting (NLAS) is very active within the Synod, especially due to the presence of The Summit Bechtel Reserve, a high adventure base of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and permanent home of the BSA National Jamboree, and several NLAS officers who reside within our boundaries. The NLAS is an all-volunteer membership organization that is dedicated to promoting Duty to God in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA (GS-USA), and American Heritage Girls (AHG), and to promoting use of the youth serving agency (BSA, GS-USA, AHG, 4H, and Camp Fire) programs as a ministry of outreach to youth and their families by Lutheran congregations. NLAS serves as the official liaison between the youth ministry programs of ELCA and LCMS and various youth serving agencies (e.g. BSA, GS-USA, and AHG).
As with Lutheran congregations everywhere, the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges to the programs of the youth serving partners. NLAS recruits, approves and provides chaplains to the BSA National Jamboree. The Rev Richard Egtvedt, pastor of Shepherd of the Hills in McHenry, MD is NLAS Chief Chaplain. He developed a recruiting program and had already obtained commitments from more Lutheran (both ELCA and LCMS) volunteers then had been seen since the 2013 National Jamboree and which represented a 500% increase in Lutheran chaplains (to include two LCMS chaplains) for the then upcoming, 2021 National Jamboree. After obtaining appropriate synodical approvals and approving Lutheran Chaplain Candidates according to the Jamboree staffing approval process, he was still working with six additional candidates before the 2021 National Jamboree was indefinitely postponed. Recruitment and approvals were immediately put on hold, pending announcement of a new Jamboree date. The Jamboree Chaplaincy Committee is still awaiting notification for a new National Jamboree schedule.
Similarly, the NLAS sponsored, “Scouting in the Lutheran Church” conference at the BSA Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, NM for 2020 was canceled. In response, the BSA National Religious Relationships Committee swung into virtual mode and presented a virtual interfaith week to which NLAS Secretary and former President Wayne Stuckey (Oakland, MD) contributed three video sessions (https://youtu.be/rNvqp7ga-vY, https://youtu.be/BXFEBJedaMo, https://youtu.be/tAnIFAqBCcM) Wayne facilitated a session with the Girl Scout National Interfaith Committee, to bring a Girl Scout Troop leader to represent the Lutheran faith in the virtual Girls of Faith seminar, in which girls could earn their GS-USA “My Promise, My Faith” award (https://youtu.be/tAnIFAqBCcM). Finally, the Philmont Training Center was permitted to open in 2021. Wayne Stuckey served on faculty for the “Scouting in the Lutheran Church” conference from July 11-17, 2021. The “Scouting in the Lutheran Church” conference is designed for Lutheran chartered organization representatives, clergy, youth ministers, congregational leaders and Lutheran Scout Leaders who want to learn about using Scouting as an outreach ministry to boys and girls in their community, and how Scouting can support building for the future. (https://www.facebook.com/dutytogodbsa/photos/pcb.2944871555725418/2944867375725836/) Wayne presented sessions on “NLAS: Who we are and what we do”, “Duty to God in Scouting Advancement”, and “Duty to God in Your Council”. The 2021 conference included two retired LCMS pastors, an LCMS Specific Minister Pastor who expects to be ordained in November, plus nine ELCA and LCMS lay Scout leaders.
The Rev. Rick Egtvedt