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, March 25, 2012

A Scout leader is...

I recently attended the BSA's Trainer's EDGE course. The whole course was very good, but the part that left the biggest impression on me was the very end. They presented ways to apply the Scout Law to being a trainer. Having never been a Boy Scout or a Boy Scout leader, I had never thought much about the Scout Law before. But really, the Scout Law is where we get the Ideals of the program, and I understand now how it is at the core of Scouting, and it applies to all Scouters, no matter what level of the program we are at.

A Scout trainer is helpful. A Scout trainer is friendly.

These were reminders that a trainer is not there for himself. He is there to serve the people he is training. He needs to consider their needs and how he can best help them. This idea applies whether you work with youth or adults. I have been pondering ever since the training ways that I, in my capacity as pack trainer, can better help leaders of our multi-pack fulfill their callings.

The fourth lesson in Teaching: No Greater Call is about “Seeking the Gift of Charity.” I think sometimes it is easy, no matter what capacity we serve in, to lose sight of this aspect. The lesson reminds us, “If you have Christ-like love, you will be better prepared to teach the gospel.”

The first step is to pray to be filled with love. I think for some of us, this step is a hard one – to have a desire and pray to love, truly love as Christ does, those boys (or adults) under our stewardship. “You may not feel the pure love of Christ immediately or all at once in answer to your prayers. But as you live righteously and continue to pray sincerely and humbly for this blessing, you will receive it.”

The next step is service: “When we set aside our own interests for the good of another in the pattern set by the Savior, we become more receptive to the Spirit.” For me, this makes a big difference. When I shift my focus from, “Why aren't they doing what I want?” to, “How can I better serve them?” and remind myself of the purposes we are trying to accomplish, I find I accomplish a lot more.

The final step is to look for the good in others. “As you discover the good qualities in others, you will grow in your understanding of them as children of God.” No matter who we are trying to teach, this is a vital part. It is also a vital part of our own growth as we try to become more like our Father in Heaven.

Strive to use these steps with your boys, the leaders you serve with, and your own children, and I know you will meet with success.

A Scout trainer is Trustworthy. A Scout trainer is Loyal.

These were reminders that we are representing the BSA and we should not deviate from the policies and guidelines they have given us. As a trainer, it is my duty to present the material I have been given and to teach the guidelines outlined by the BSA.

As LDS Scouters, we have two obligations. We not only represent the BSA, “In all our teachings, we represent the Lord and are appointed to teach His gospel.” (Bruce R. McConkie) Baden-Powell himself said, “I have clearly stated that our objective in the Scout movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God's Kingdom on earth.”

I realized recently that we often overlook the fourth of Elder Featherstone's Four T's: Testimony. Even in Scouting we should act as those who have taken on themselves the name of Christ. After all, Cub Scout leaders are training future priesthood holders. Boy Scout leaders are training future missionaries and priesthood leaders.

“Your commission, your authorization, the thing you have been ordained to do is teach my gospel, not any private views, not the philosophies of the world, but my everlasting gospel, and to do it by the power of my Spirit, all in harmony with the commandment I have heretofore given: 'If ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach.'” (Teaching: No Greater Call, Chapter 3: The Teacher's Divine Commission)

Nephi told us that he “did like all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” As his family wandered in the wilderness and he put up with the constant murmuring, I imagine Nephi found great comfort in the stories of Moses' time in the wilderness dealing with the murmurings of the Israelites. I have a feeling there are Scout leaders who can also relate to stories of wilderness wanderings and murmurings.

I really like this post at Adventures and Accidents that is all about how and why we should be working on our own testimonies to benefit the boys.

I am going to tack one more onto the end here: A Scout trainer is Thrifty.

It was pointed out to us that “thrifty” can apply to time as well as money. Miriam-Webster defines thrifty as, "given to or marked by economy and good management." Those under our care are giving us their valuable time, and we need to make the most of that. We should always be asking ourselves, “What is the best way I can make use of the hour or two I have been given this week?” And teach the boys to ask themselves the same question. Being thrifty with time is something most of them don't fully grasp yet and will need to be trained in, but if you believe it and live it, they will be more likely to as well.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Religious Award Earned as a Youth

There was a discussion about this recently in the LDS-CSL Yahoo group. I was not aware of this, so I thought I would pass it along. In the most recent edition of Baloo's Bugle, it says:

NOTE: - Since the programs are similar or the same (as in the case of the PRAY Awards) for girls and boys in Boy Scouting, 4H, Girl Scouting, Campfire, etc., a female Venturer or Adult Leader who earned her religious award as a youth may wear the purple square knot on her uniform even though it was not earned as a member of the BSA. (My daughter Darby in New Mexico does this!!) Per Mike Walton of www.USScouts.org, this applies to BOTH MALES AND FEMALES, youth and adult. If you earned a youth religious emblem as a youth member, whether or not it was earned or received as a BSA member does not matter. The youth religious emblem square knot represents ANY AWARD which youth members earned or received -- period. So yes, a Girl Scout, 4Her, or Royal Ranger/Missionette who earned a youth religious emblem in those programs and then either becomes an adult or youth member of the BSA (to include Venturing/Sea Scouting) may wear that emblem formally with the BSA's field uniforms; and informally wear the square knot insignia on the uniform shirt. Mike says he has been told when the next edition of the Uniform Guide for 2012 is printed, there will be text explaining this on the page which shows all of the various youth religious emblems.

It sounds like if you earned your Personal Progress or Gospel in Action/Faith in God award as a youth, you can, if you would like, wear the square knot representing religious award earned as a youth on your uniform. That's the silver knot with a purple background.

Don't forget either about the religious knot you can earn as an adult leader. The requirements can be found here. If your bishop doesn't know about this award, make him aware. There are probably many deserving leaders in your ward.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Scouting Does That

I recently borrowed a book about nurturing boys. This is a topic that is always on my mind, between raising our own boys, teaching other people's boys in primary, and teaching other people who teach boys in Scout leader training. I think I have learned a lot about boys through experience, but the book has given me a few new insights and tips. As I read through it, though, and it talks about the needs boys have at different stages, I find myself thinking about how Scouting helps fill all of those needs, and it provides activities that naturally fit boys interests at different ages.

We homeschool our boys, and so I also read a lot of books about educational theory. The same thing often happens when I read something about the ideal educational system. I think, "Scouting does that," or, "That's just like the Scouting program."

In fact, I am constantly running into more proof that the Scouting program is one of the best systems out there for the nurturing, training and teaching of boys. Every stage is created to fit the needs, abilities and interests of that age almost perfectly.

It's also a great system for training and teaching parents and leaders. We were discussing in our meeting the other night how, when they let it, Cub Scouting offers the perfect opportunity for parents to connect with their boys. The handbooks are practically an outline for, "What to do to improve, enhance or supplement your relationship with your son while he is still young enough to want to do things with you."

This is definitely an inspired program. I really think it was set in motion 100 years ago to provide today's boys with what they need, the things the world (or I should say Satan through the world) is trying to take from them. I think boys need Scouting now more than ever, so that they can be boys and grow into men.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Winning the Pinewood Derby

by Randy Clawson
from the April 2000 Ensign

It was my first experience in participating in a pinewood derby with my son Jeffrey. We had spent a lot of time drawing the car’s design, going to the hobby shop to purchase special weights, shaping and assembling the car, then painting it the colors of our favorite sports team. I must admit I use the term we loosely. I am afraid that in my zeal to make our car competitive, I was the one who made sure everything was done just right. Many times my son was left standing off to the side watching. I was proud of the finished car.

That evening I joined the other fathers on “pit row.” We were all making last-minute adjustments to the wheel alignment, putting on a last squirt of graphite, and checking the weights. I didn’t realize until later that my son, along with some of the other Cub Scouts, were mostly standing back, watching their dads at work.

As the racing began, I changed from my role as engineer to that of cheerleader—and perhaps at times an obnoxious spectator. Our car was doing quite well in the heats, and from all appearances we were destined to go to the winners’ bracket. It was about then Jeffrey came to me.

“Dad, we need to do something to my car.”

In my enthusiasm for the moment I thought, Good, I’ll check the alignment one more time. But that was not what Jeffrey had in mind.

“Steve’s car hasn’t won a single race all evening,” said Jeffrey. I glanced over at Steve, a boy with disabilities, sitting quietly on the sidelines with his car cradled in his arms. From the appearance of his car, he must had done most of the work himself. His next race was against my son, who was looking up at me with great concern. “Can you do something to my car to make sure Steve wins?”

I stared at my eight-year-old son and felt as though a lightning bolt had hit me. Humbled, I picked up the car, studied it a moment, then gave a hard twist to the right front wheel, hopelessly ruining the alignment. I handed the car back to Jeffrey, and we headed over to the track.

The outcome was just as we hoped. Our pinewood creation wobbled down the elevated track, and Steve’s car won easily! As I looked to the finish line, however, I saw not just one winner but two happy boys.

That night changed forever my attitude about the real purpose of pinewood derbies. We have attended many other pinewood derbies since that night, and some might wonder why our cars don’t look as nice as the others or don’t go as fast or why I’m conspicuously absent from pit row. But one thing we know for sure: there is more than one way to win a race.