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, November 11, 2012

Future Missionary

I have started wearing a "Future Missionary" tag on my "temporary patch" pocket on my uniform to help remind myself and others that one of the main focuses of LDS Scouting is training future missionaries.

I think it would be cool to have "Future Missionary" patches that looked like tags that we could give each boy who enters our program, and they could choose whether or not to wear the patches on their right pockets.

We may not have "Future Missionary" patches, but we do have "Recruiter" patches. There are no national requirements for earning a "Recruiter" patch. It is up to each unit to designate how its boys can earn the patch. I know one pack where we live who will give it to any scout who attends one of their two annual recruiting nights in uniform, because having current scouts there shows prospective scouts how cool and fun Scouting is.

One thing I remember from the first time I attended Den Leader training is that when our instructor started talking about recruiting, my fellow den leader and I rolled our eyes at each other and tuned out the "irrelevant" topic. We did not care about recruiting, because we did not need to recruit.

I think the real reason, though, was that we did not want to recruit. It is hard for someone who is only a half-hearted participant in something to find any interest in recruiting others to be a part of that program.

Now, however, I see the value in making recruiting an integral part of our programs. What better way to train future missionaries than to give them practice being missionaries right now? (Did you notice, by the way, that the Young Men General Presidency message in the last two issues of the LDS-BSA newsletters focused on recruiting?)

In a roundtable a couple months ago, our district executive gave us some tips on recruiting. The first thing to do, of course, is to have a program that boys will want to be a part of. Besides that, he told us, the best tool for recruiting is the boys.

If your boys are enjoying themselves at Scouting activities, they will be a lot more likely to tell their friends how great Scouts is, and to invite their friends to activities.

Our DE told us to not only encourage our scouts to invite their friends, we need to coach them in what to say. Keep in mind that the approach is different, depending on the age of the scout. A Cub Scout can tell his friend about how much fun he has, what kinds of activities his den has been doing and what awards he has earned. Then all he needs to do is ask, "Do you want to come to den meeting with me next week?" Boy Scouts may want to focus on specific activities and leave out the word "scout." Almost certainly they will want to avoid mentioning a uniform. To younger boys, the idea of being in scouts and wearing a uniform sounds exciting - I saw this in boy after boy when we helped with the Scouting booth at a local elementary school open house. As they hit middle school, it becomes much less cool, but "Wanna go camping with me and some buddies?" can still create some interest. Or the scout might want to mention knives, fire starting, robotics, photography, whatever is going on that might interest his friend.

Our pack is going to start awarding the recruiter patch to any boy who brings a friend to a den or pack meeting. I encourage your pack/troop/team/crew to consider whether you might want to make use of the recruiter patch in a similar way to encourage your future missionaries.

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