People are awesome. Here’s to you, my fellow Scout leaders. No matter where you fall on the time- and emotion-investment scale, you are wonderful for accepting your calling and helping the boys you have stewardship over. You are great for what you currently do. You are making my world a better place, and I personally thank you for it.
If you feel like you should do something different in your unit after reading this post, great. If not, okay: that's up to you. You make a difference for your boys, and that is wonderful.
I started three years ago in a very home-spun version of a den. We worked from the handbook and got the boys their ranks. But I’ve learned that there’s more to it than that. I’ve grown and learned about what the program can be, and my pack and den are evolving.
But we're not perfect.
People are afraid, and it's partly the super-Scouter’s fault.
Three and a half years ago I received my first calling as a den leader, learning from square one and doing the minimum to make it work and help the boys progress. Then we had a super-Scouter pack trainer called, and she overwhelmed me. Once I got to know her, she exasperated me. Once I reluctantly started implementing her ideas, I saw the value in them, and some leaders started putting space between themselves and me. Not because I implemented her ideas, but because I started encouraging them to do the things she recommended. I had, unwittingly, 'joined her camp.'
People are afraid this will happen to them too. They might intentionally stave it off just to avoid the stigma that comes from raising a decisive voice in favor of the training, the way the national program runs, or any other super-Scouter 'agenda item.' I’m not saying the BSA is perfect. But the Church adopted their program, and when we use the program the way it is designed, it makes a difference.
But people are still afraid of us.
People are aloof or apathetic. Some leaders who have ‘been there, done that’ have no desire to change. The way they’ve run it in the past is good enough for them, and that’s what you’ll get. Instead of 'doing their best,' they get the job done. And it works, the job does get done – just not at the level it could be done.
As members of the LDS church, some of us think that we get to change the Scouting program to be what we want it to be. That’s not the plan. The BSA run organization is the foundation of what we do. We don’t change it – we add to it. We add the fact that these boys are a quorum. We add reproving with sharpness (clarity), then showing forth an increase of love. We add the priesthood. We add Christ. Yes, using the BSA program as a foundation, we take it far beyond it’s own power.
But it takes leaders with vision.
People can adapt. In came Sis. Jones. Oh my, this woman has a testimony of Scouting. Not super-knowledge or advice for everyone around her, but a testimony. She is a super-(Cub) Scouter from the opposite end of the spectrum, and her incredible dedication to her "future quorum" overwhelms me - but with humility. This woman has understanding. She has insight. She has vision. She sees power and potential in everyone and everything around her, but she encourages it by example. Our pack has been touched by her membership, from the newest Cub to the bishop. She's moving in a few weeks, and she has her transfer form filled out. Whatever callings she gets in her new location will be accepted and magnified, but she will also be a leader in their Scouting program.
Last Friday we had a pack meeting. The theme we chose was the Olympics. As leaders, we 'did our best' (not always the case with our pack, sorry to say), and it turned out amazing. The meeting culminated with three Arrows of Light and a crossing over. Every leader who was there now has a vision of what these ceremonies can be. Even better, so do the parents and boys. This was the second amazing pack meeting in three months, and it's going to have a positive effect on everything we do for the future priesthood holders we train and serve. Our pack leaders are slowly coming around.
And no one in my pack is afraid of Sis. Jones.
I love Cub Scouting. I love the impact I can have on the boy's lives. If I do the minimum, I still have an impact. But it can be so much more.
We need to ‘do our best’ to follow the BSA program and make it function as it should. To that, we add our love of the boys and our vision for their future as priesthood holders, missionaries, and fathers.
Who’s on the Lord’s Side? Who? I ask it fearlessly, and I pray that we each might do our part. We make a difference.