The Y.M.M.I.A. was organized June 10, 1875, by Junius F. Wells under the
direction of Brigham Young. Its purpose was to provide lesiure time
activities, particularly along spiritual and cultural lines, for the young
men of the Church. Later, athletics were made a prominent part of the
As news of the organization of the Boy Scouts of England in 1909 and the Boy Scouts of America in 1910 was received by our Church leaders, the Scout idea was investigated by the Athletic Committee of the Y.M.M.I.A., and in the summer of 1911, the Scout movement was officially recognized in this association. Scouting with its spiritual background and ideals, appealed to our Church leaders as an excellent activity program for its boys. Even before that time, some enterprising boy leaders in various parts of the Church had organized troops along lines recommended by the Boy Scouts of America. On November 29, 1911, on motion of President Anthony W. Ivins, then a member of the General Superintendency of the Y.M.M.I.A., the M.I.A. Scouts were officially organized by the General Board.
From that time, Scouting moved forward in the Church very rapidly. In the Improvement Era for March, 1912, Vol. 15, was printed the first statement of the purposes and plans of the M.I.A. Scout movement. It provided that Scout meetings should be held for thirty minutes immediately preceding or following the regular M.I.A. meeting on Tuesday night.
Dr. John H. Taylor, who had previously been appointed Athletic Director of the Y.M.M.I.A., was given definite responsibilities for promoting Scout work in the stakes and wards under the direction of the Athletic Committee which included Lyman B. Martineau, Chairman; Hyrum M. Smith, Oscar A. Kirkham, B.F. Grant, B.S. Hinckley and John H. Taylor.
At the June Conference of 1913, on Saturday afternoon, June 7th, a M.I.A. day celebration was held at Wandamere, and the program was devoted entirely to Scout activities. This was the first general Scout gathering in the Church.
The first lessons for the M.I.A. Scouts were published in the Improvement Era for January, 1913, volume 16. Twelve (12) lessons were including covering such subjects as the Fundamentals of Scouting, Organization, Leadership, etc., tying of knots, troop drilling -- following United States Infantry regulations for the purpose of obtaining discipline and efficiency in moving the troop as a body -- bandaging and First Aid, the Story of the Flag, physical development, stars, compass, etc.
May, 1913, the M.I.A. Scouts, upon invitation from the National Council, affiliated with and became a part of the Boy Scouts of America. The official action of the Executive Board of the National Council was taken May 2, 1913, at which time the General Board of Y.M.M.I.A. issued a charter covering the entire Church, and Dr. John H. Taylor was given a special commission as representative of the National Council in charge of all M.I.A. Scouts. At the same time, Oscar A. Kirkham was made Deputy Commissioner. The National Charter of the M.I.A. Scouts of the Boy Scouts of America was issued May 21, 1913, which becomes the official date of entry of the M.I.A. Scouts into the National Organizaion.
This arrangement continued until 1919, when local councils were organized in Salt Lake City and other sections, Oscar A. Kirkham becoming the first Scout Executive of the Salt Lake Council, and later, Associate Regional Executive of the Twelfth Region which includes Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. He also became affiliated with the Regional Office of Region Eleven in order that he might have contact with L.D.S. Scouts, particularly in Idaho.
There are approximately 24,000 Boy Scouts in the Church in 1934, which included 7,000 Vanguards who were Senior Scouts. The Vanguard movement was inaugurated in 1928 and is now developig rapidly into an aggressive Older Boy Movement amoung the Scouts of the Church. It has been approved by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. L.D.S. Scouting is now organized in stakes and missions throughout the Church.
Scouting continued under Y.M.M.I.A., its sole sponsor, until 1928. During this year, it was named as the activity program for the Deacons and Teachers of the Aaronic Priesthood of the Church through the Y.M.M.I.A. as an auxiliary and aid to the priesthhood.