"Trails to Testimony, Bringing Young Men to Christ Through Scouting," by Bradley D. Harris, BookSurge Publishing, 128 pages, Paperback $8.99

Scouting is so important that the very best man in an LDS ward should be the Scoutmaster, says the Mormon author of a new book about bringing young men to Christ.And Bradley D. Harris should know.He's not only served on the Young Men General Board for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the past three years but has been a professional Scouter for 22 years. He helped create the Venture Scout program and he speaks to youth all around the country about scouting.__IMAGE1__He knows the program and the potential — a potential he says is largely going unfulfilled."That's what prompted me to write this book," said Harris from his office at Brigham Young University where he currently is a full professor of Recreation Management and Youth Leadership.Harris has seen and heard horror stories ranging from hearing about leaders who simply kept the soda pop flowing while young men played around on campouts rather than learn useful skills to leaders who took troop members to questionable movies.That breaks his heart."We need a paradigm shift in our thinking," he said. "We need to be providing opportunities for young men to feel the spirit."Harris said the focus needs to move from being centered on advancement to creating spiritual opportunities for young men."We've drifted away from the spiritual tenets to just checking boxes," said Harris. "Advancements should be the icing on the cake, not the cake."Harris said if scouting is approached properly and used well in the LDS Church, more young men would serve honorable missions and be better prepared to make and keep sacred covenants."This is almost a spiritual quest for me. There's certainly a spiritual dimension here," he said. "I think this book can serve as a wake-up call."Harris was recruited to write "Trails to Testimony, Bringing Young Men to Christ Through Scouting" just before economic problems forced editor to pare back their plans to known authors only. In the book he outlines specific ways Scout leaders can design their programs to make them more effective. He has real life examples and anecdotes that both educate and entertain.The CD that was designed to acccompany his book was published and is available at Seagull Book and Deseret Book but Harris was left on his own to get his book out.Because he feels so strongly about the message involved he's become a garage business, shipping and delivery department."I'm it," he said.But despite the stresses and limitations, Harris has quietly sold 1,500 copies of "Trails" since the end of April. (Book are available on Amazon.com and from LDSBSA.org.)He hopes the book will fill a gap where books about scouting leadership is concerned.

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