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, June 17, 2012

The Potential of LDS Scouting

In a recent Ensign article, David Beck said, "Young Men advisers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be the best implementers of Scouting in the world. Training is an important step toward that end." (If you haven't read the article yet, I highly recommend it.)

I think we really do have the potential for this. We often hear excuses about why LDS programs are seldom quality programs. However, I think the very things we often think of as road blocks could become strengths):

It's a calling. We often complain that Scouting in the Church is full of people who don't want to be there. They don't know anything about the program, and when they finally figure it out, they get released. Right?

Well, guess what. Scouting outside the Church is full of people who are only there because their sons are. Yes, they have a vested interest in the program, but they are often not in any position any longer than our "called" Scouters, because they move up with their sons. Many non-LDS leaders (at least in Cub Scouts) only spend a year in each position, just long enough to figure things out before moving on to the next level.

Our edge comes into play with tenure. For the first year, a leader is learning his/her job and getting things sorted out. If they are allowed to (and want to) continue in that calling, they have the potential to build a really great program. They can put together their own schedule of activities that they know work. Because it's a calling and not just following the boys, the opportunity is there for leaders to develop experience.

As I have said before, sometimes being a calling brings people in that would not be involved in Scouting otherwise, and they end up being great leaders and staying in the program.

We recently sat in a district meeting where the question was asked, "Who here is in Scouting because their boy is?" Most of the people in the room raised their hands. My husband and I just looked at each other. Our boy is in Scouting because we are, instead of the other way around. We are in Scouting because of past callings.

Boys advance on their birthdays instead of at the same time. This goes hand-in-hand with the above. It can be tricky for a den leader to plan around boys who are all coming in at different times of the year. However, with the new delivery method and some experience and planning, the program can be set up so that every boy ends up doing the same things, no matter when he starts with the den. (You can also use the LDS Delivery Method, set up by some very clever people to make the program even better suited for LDS packs.)

The edge, again, comes with tenure. It does take some experience to set this up, but once you have an established program and things are working for you, you have the advantage of the older boys setting an example for the newer boys (see this post). It can be a major advantage, discipline-wise, to have boys trickling in, rather than coming all at once.

Reliance on personal revelation. Of course, there's nothing wrong with relying on personal revelation in your calling. Unless you think it means you don't need training. Or you decide we have a different program, and you rely on what my friend calls "creative inspiration" to do things your own way.

David Beck specifically mentions training as an important step to becoming the "best implementers of Scouting in the world." Remember how the Lord rebuked Oliver Cowdry when he, "took no though, save it was to ask me." He was told instead to study things out. How can we expect to receive inspiration for a program we know nothing about?

I really feel LDS Scouting has great potential, as President Beck statement implies. I hope others can catch that vision as well.

1 comment:

Eric the Half-bee said...

Very well put. You put the lie to the most common excuses, which is all they are: excuses for not being committed to one's calling/obligation.