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, May 20, 2012

Are people afraid?

When I attended my first Scout leader training, I remember looking at these "scout nerds" with a bazillion knots on their uniforms and an overt reverence for the program, and I thought, "These guys are nuts." I had no intention of ever becoming like that (or putting more than the minimum required into the calling, sorry to say).

Fast forward to only a few weeks ago. We had a day full of Scouting events, going from one to the next. I left the last one to attend a baby shower - it happened to be our committee chair/ward Primary presidency representative. I was so tired at that point, I didn't bother changing out of my uniform for the shower. Her comment was, "I wouldn't recognize you without it."

Ha ha. She sees me every Sunday in Primary, but I knew what she meant. I know I project that same "scout nerd" image to everyone I work with. I do it on purpose, because I want to set the bar as high as possible. That way when people only reach halfway, they are still reaching higher than they would otherwise.

I have found that in many cases, this works well. Often enthusiasm begets enthusiasm, and a few choice people end up reaching even higher than hoped. Some people, however, seem to dig their heels in and refuse to budge no matter what.

I have even seen/heard derogatory remarks referring to LDS Scouters that are "too into Scouting." Phrases like, "Irving Scouter," and, "church of Scouting," have been tossed around, in a not-so-admiring way. "I like Scouting, but not like that..."

It makes me wonder whether some people might be afraid that if they become too into Scouting, that will somehow degrade the rest of who they are. It almost seems as if becoming too involved in Scouting will make you less of a Church member or taking the training will have a negative effect on your testimony.

I am sure this is related to the idea that the Church is "out-sourcing" its activity program for young men and that Scouting is not really a Church program.

What do you think? Have you ever noticed this attitude? Is there any way to lovingly convince people that you can love Scouting and the gospel both (aside from pointing to President Monson), that the two go hand-in-hand, and that Scouting is all about building testimonies?

(I understand this may be a sore subject for some readers. I hope we can have an open and thoughtful discussion.)


Eric the Half-bee said...

I have learned that if one takes a Scouting calling seriously enough to study it out in your mind so you can do it right, and then have the gall to say others should aspire to a similar level of magnification, one is "unbalanced".

Josh Dart said...

Eric - your comment doesn't make sense to me. Could you clarify?

I do think many LDS members take their Scouting calling lightly. However, I have met many who have decided to magnify their calling as well and watch it flourish.

Evenspor said...

I think he's just being a little sarcastic. He is saying that it feels like that's how other people sometimes view Scouters who magnify their callings.

(I had to laugh, Eric. You summed it up well.)

Fishgutts said...

I am often told "I didn't recognize you out of your uniform." I take this as a compliment especially when I get phone call after phone call from all over the Stake asking me questions and for clarification. I am sure some do think I am over the top on my calling and that is fine. In the end, my dedication to my calling for the Lord is between he and I.

I am a Scouter whether I am in uniform or not. Whether I have a Scout calling or not, I am a Scout. Anyone that doesn't recognize how inspired the Scouting program is and why the Church uses it, needs to stand clear of the program because I don't want them messing with it.

Evenspor said...

Nice thoughts. Thanks!

Unknown said...

They fear that of they get "branded" as a Scouter, they won't do anything else. They can't hold a "real" calling such as Bishop or Stake President. I have had some men express that to me. I am a Scouter, and very exited to be one. If that disqualifies me for other callings, I guess those who make that decision will have to justify it to a higher authority.

Evenspor said...

That is very interesting insight. Thanks for sharing.

From the things I have read, Scouting is one of the most important callings you can have. It may be in many cases that really good Scouters are kept there, rather than put in other callings, because the combination of talents they have (working with the youth, strong testimonies, organization, etc) is so rare that they are where they are needed most. President Dahlquist said, "Unless the Spirit shouts, I have found it a good rule of thumb to leave Young Men leaders in their calling for a sufficient length of time to be trained, to apply what they have learned, and to make a difference in the lives of the young men they serve."

In a recent post over at Adventures and Accidents he quoted an old Conference talk: "It has been said that, as you organize a new ward, you first identify your best man and make him your Scoutmaster.... Brethren, don’t sacrifice here. I don’t know where to tell you to sacrifice, but don’t do it here."

Of course, people who aren't "into it" won't understand that.

(On a personal note, I have always wondered why anyone would want to be a bishop or stake president. If Scouting is the way to avoid those kinds of callings, I think we will stay with it. ;) )