For more than 30 years, Gladys Gilson has been volunteering her time to the Boy Scouts of America - particularly with the Cub Scouts. She wasn't in it for the praise or glory, but that's what has happened.
Gilson flew to San Antonio, Texas, recently to receive the Silver Antelope Award, which is given to a select few individuals nationally in recognition of service to youth. The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America through its Executive Board conferred the award on Gilson, the only woman of six from the Western region to be recognized. She is only the third person from the National Parks Council to ever receive such an honor."Youth are our greatest natural resource - if the youth are properly trained," Gilson said. She added that while Scouting may not be for every young man, the principles taught in Scouting are.
That's why Gilson is involved in the Cub program. She believes that elementary school-age boys need the training offered by Cubs and Scouting.
The Cub Scout program is offered to boys ages 8-11. "If you're not making it count at age 8, you won't at 15." Gilson said. The idea is to give young boys the opportunity to build strong foundations within their families and in the community.
"Cubs are strictly to bring a boy and his family together in the Scout-ing program," she said. "In those first three years (of Scouting) they need the active support of family."
She said moms are more involved with Cubs than Scouting because "we're not ready to let go of them just yet." She also said the benefits of Cub Scouting for single parents and their sons is often incalculable.
Gilson has played a significant role in area Scouting since she first became involved with a pack of 13 boys in 1968. She has served in numerous district and council positions and is currently serving as the area vice president over Cub Scouting, which includes six councils in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon. She also holds the distinction of being the first woman vice president in the Utah National Parks Council. She has often volunteered as much as 40 hours a week to the Cubs.