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, January 27, 2013

Putting the Fun in Scouting

To follow-up on my post last week, I just finished a great book called, I Thought Scout Uniforms Were Fireproof: Putting the Fun in Scouting.

The first thing I liked about it was that it was not a big book. It was a quick and easy read that I could pick up and read a chapter in whenever I had a free minute.

Despite the size, however, it contained tons of ideas and tips for making Scouting activities more exciting and enjoyable for everyone involved. The book was arranged by topic - for example, there was a chapter on cooking, one on the patrol method, one on winter camping, etc. Each chapter had some humorous anecdotes to illustrate the point and leave the reader wishing he/she were in the troop that was having so much fun.

The book was written by an LDS Scouter and was based on Boy Scouting experiences. However, LDS terms only came up a few times and were not related to the points made, and those points could be applied to other levels of Scouting. I found myself thinking of many ways the ideas could be utilized in a den or pack. This book would be useful to any Scouter on any level.

In fact, I felt like I had gotten more out of reading this small volume than other longer books which focused more on the nuts and bolts of the program.

One thing that did not sit right with me was that there did not seem to be an emphasis on letting the boys run the troop. The book made it sound like the leaders were doing all of the planning. It would have been nice to have some clues about training your patrol leaders to do this stuff. (On the other hand, this could just be due to my lack of experience in Boy Scouting. Obviously, as a Cub Scout leader I do get to plan all of my activities.)

As always, this book is no replacement for training, but I think it is a must-have for anyone who wants to be a better Scout leader.

(It's also available in Kindle version.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Quick Pinewood Derby Story

As a family who has been involved in Cub Scouting a long time, we have been involved in a lot of pinewood derbies. One memorable one was a pinewood derby we put on for the local Boys and Girls Club a couple of years ago as part of the ScoutReach program. Over two or three months' time we showed up at the club's meeting place once a week and helped any of the kids who wanted to make a car. Then we had a day where we brought the church's track, and they could show up and race their cars.

My husband, of course, could not resist making a car for himself. He also helped our oldest, who was five at the time, make a car, and he cut a quick car for our toddler. Something happened at the race that made my son angry, and he was upset about it for quite a long time.

This week our oldest will be racing in his first pinewood derby as a Cub Scout. As we worked on his car, we ended up talking about previous cars he has made, and the race at the Boys and Girls Club came up. He said something like, "I was upset about ____, but now I know that I was a winner, because I did my best."

I know even in the short time he has been a scout, it has helped him develop such a mature attitude. I have heard him say more than once, "A scout wouldn't do that." I am thankful to have a program that will help all my boys do their best and aim high, and I am thankful I get to be involved in helping other boys do the same.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fun With A Purpose

I got a call from someone in our stake asking whether I know who it is who teaches the Cubs about archery and BB guns at Day Camp. She is planning girls' camp and wanted something fun and different for the girls to do. She told me, "I thought, if the Cub Scouts can do it, why can't the Young Women?"

In a meeting with our ward primary president recently, she asked whether we could turn Pinewood Derby into a ward activity. "As long as the boys have a chance to race just with each other," I told her, "You can do whatever else you want with it." I have always thought Pinewood Derby would make a great ward activity.

People know scouts have a lot of fun. When I was a young woman, I know we wanted to do the kinds of activities the boys were doing. Lord Baden-Powell designed Scouting to be a "game with purpose," and we still use the phrase "fun with a purpose."

If so many people want to have fun like the scouts are having, why are people so reluctant to accept callings in scouts or work with the scouts?

I think one reason is that people are scared of being in charge of a group of boys. I like this post about the stigma associated with groups of boys, and more specifically scouts. I admit, being good with boys does take practice, but in my experience, it is a lot easier when you allow yourself to have fun with the boys.

I have also found it helps when you understand the purpose. When you really understand the potential Scouting has to affect young men, when you understand Scouting's purposes and goals, when you remember this is the program the Lord has chosen to prepare boys for the priesthood, to prepare young men to be missionaries, husbands and fathers, you will be a more effective leader.

How do you get to that point? Prayer, study and time. And loosen up. Let yourself have fun with it.