Welcome to the LDS Scouter Blog. We hope to provide you with valuable information, share useful resources and maybe even improve some attitudes and Ward Scouting programs. The recommended way to use this blog is to start with the post, "Why I started this blog." Then browse through the post titles in the archive (found in the sidebar) for topics of interest.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Ward Campout

This weekend was our ward campout, during which I ended up in conversations with more than one family about the future of Scouting in the Church. It is difficult not to speculate about what might happen, but it was interesting to hear different thoughts, and I found a common thread running through every conversation. In the end, no matter what our Church leaders announce, we can be assured it is the best answer to the situation. What a blessing it is to have living prophets who can tell us exactly what the Lord wants for us. What a blessing, also, that we have the opportunity to pray about it for ourselves as well and receive our own witness. No matter what happens, we will always have that.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Week At Camp

I had an opportunity this summer that few LDS women get - I spent a week at scout camp as part of the camp "staff."

For a long time, I have pondered why the Lord wants us to provide as many opportunities as we can for young men and young women to spend time outdoors. Over time, I have thought of a number of reasons, but this week of getting to see the scouts at camp showed me just how much of an impact it can have, especially when combined with a good program and good leadership.

As I interacted with these young men and observed them during the week, I noticed a difference from when I had seen them outside of camp. It was almost as if being at camp gave them the freedom to be themselves for the week. They did not need to act tough or cool or any of the other things expected from teenage boys in their every day lives. Sometimes that meant extra silly or dangerous, but mostly I saw young men who were sincere, mature and helpful. I believe having this opportunity to be themselves helps them find the best in themselves.

As I have reflected more on this, it came to me that I had the exact same experience at Wood Badge. I figured at the same it was related to severe lack of sleep, but at Wood Badge I know I acted differently than I do in my normal every day interactions as well. And I know the Wood Badge experience (including working on my ticket afterward) helped me to improve myself and find qualities I did not know I had. I guess Wood Badge mirrors the experience of the boys even more than I thought - at least, it did for me.

Baden-Powell was right when he said that a week of camp life can teach more than six months in the classroom.

Have you noticed a difference in the youth you know during camp or other outdoor experiences? What about the leaders?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mission Statement

We had University of Scouting this last weekend, where I spent quite a bit of time with our new Council Commissioner, one of the Assistant Council Commissioners, another commissioner from the other side of the state, and even a little bit with the new Council President (who all happen to be LDS). We had some interesting discussions about programs and how to help units and how to bring more youth into Scouting.

Something I heard more than once from them was to use the mission statement of the BSA. I have been pondering for a while about how to help people better understand what Scouting is all about, how it's not just a camping club, how it's about building character and leadership. It's a message I feel we need to get out both to parents in the Church who don't understand why the Lord picked this great program for their sons, and people in the community who have not yet discovered Scouting for their kids. These brethren taught me that what I was looking for already exists in one simple statement:
"The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."
I am going to see how I can put it to better use.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"Wear Your Uniform"

Do you follow the LDS-BSA blog? They have regular posts these days. There was a great one a while back called, "Wear Your Uniform!" with a story of successful recruiting.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Choose Wisely

"I believe Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s inspired message distinguishing between 'good, better, best' provides an effective way to evaluate choices and priorities. Many choices are not inherently evil, but if they absorb all of our time and keep us from the best choices, then they become insidious.

"Even worthwhile endeavors need evaluation in order to determine if they have become distractions from the best goals. I had a memorable discussion with my father when I was a teenager. He did not believe enough young people were focused on or preparing for long-term important goals—like employment and providing for families.

"Meaningful study and preparatory work experience were always at the top of my father’s recommended priorities. He appreciated that extracurricular activities like debate and student government might have a direct connection with some of my important goals. He was less certain about the extensive time I spent participating in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He acknowledged that athletics could build strength, endurance, and teamwork but asserted that perhaps concentrating on one sport for a shorter time would be better. In his view, sports were good but not the best for me. He was concerned that some sports were about building local celebrity or fame at the expense of more important long-term goals."

I love this part of Quentin L. Cook's talk from the most recent Conference, because it sounds so much like what my husband recently told his scouts, when talking to them about planning their activities.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Change of Heart

Over at the LDS-BSA blog, they have a new author who has promised weekly posts. His first installment is a real gem: Gaining a Vision of Scouting and the Aaronic Priesthood.

He talks about a time when he did not understand why the Church uses Scouting. I can relate, as I have not always had the best attitude toward Scouting either (at least, not my involvement in it). Then his bishop told him basically the same thing I have wanted to tell many people, "This comes from the prophet."

I am often caught between having patience for people, like others have had patience with me, and frustration with people who "follow the prophet" except when it comes to Scouting.

I would love it if everyone read this article, though. I suppose, just like any other truth, in the end, it's something we all need to gain a testimony of for ourselves.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What is Little Philmont?

With a Little Philmont approaching in our area, I have been getting many questions about exactly what it is. Here is what I have been telling people. If anyone has anything to add (or correct) please add a comment.

Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico is the site of several premier scout leader training courses every year. Two weeks out of every summer (two sessions, one week each), the Church holds Priesthood Leadership Training at Philmont Scout Ranch, where the General Young Men Presidency and General Primary Presidency train Stake Presidencies in using Scouting in conjunction with the priesthood. Those Stake Presidencies are then encouraged to take what they learn back to their stakes and hold a "Little Philmont" - a one or two day conference about how Scouting fits with the Church and the priesthood. This is done under the direction of the Young Men General Presidency. In fact, I have heard there is often a member of the Young Men General Presidency, as well as members of the Board at the Little Philmont.

Who should attend a Little Philmont? Everyone! Little Philmont is for anyone with a Scout-related calling, from direct contact leaders to committee members, Cubs through Venturing. It is for Young Men and Primary presidencies on both the stake and ward level. It is for bishoprics and parents of scouts. And, of course, commissioners serving LDS units would find it helpful. It is for anyone who could benefit from a better understanding of how the priesthood and Scouting fit together and why the Lord has asked us to use this program to raise His young men and train them to be missionaries (and beyond).

There is a section on the Church Website about Philmont and Little Philmont, the link to which says, "The purpose of this conference is to help stake leaders better understand how Scouting can support the Aaronic Priesthood." It includes a suggested agenda for Little Philmont, in the middle of a lot of other great Scouting resources.

For those in the Northern Nevada area: Our Little Philmont will be on August 23 at the Winnemucca Stake Center. You can e-mail me for more details (or ask your local leaders). The Stake President who is heading the effort was at Philmont Scout Ranch last week receiving his training. 11 stakes from Northern Nevada are being invited (not sure whether that includes Sierra District as well). I was told that the last Little Philmont in our council was eight years ago, so this is a rare opportunity, worth taking advantage of. I have also heard that there will be a member of the Young Men General Presidency there (hint: he's a Nevada native).