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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaching in the Savior's Way

I admit, as I am not currently a teacher of youth, I have not paid a whole lot of attention to the new curriculum. However, I was on the Church website this morning reading about it, and I felt the Spirit so strongly, I wanted to share my testimony of this teaching method with you.

This is not a new method, but it can be very difficult to get the hang of for those of us who have spent our lives in the classroom model of education. Obviously, the Savior used this teaching method in His time, but there have been examples of it in recent times as well. Neil Flinders called it, "Agency Education." BYUI calls it their, "Learning Model." Baden-Powell called it, "Scouting."

Is that an exageration? I really do not think it is too far from the truth. As I read through the points in the outline here, it struck me how similar they are to the points made in Trails to Testimony. I believe as Scout leaders and other leaders of youth combine what they learn in training and what we can learn from this teaching method, as it is being given to us by Church leaders, they will see how well the two compliment each other, how they share many aspects, as well as how they can enhance each other.

These are some of the thoughts I had as I read through the points summarizing the way the Savior taught, as they relate to Scouting:

"He loved them, prayed for them, and continually served them... He knew who they were and who they could become." It really does make all the difference in the world when you think of each boy individually, what his needs are, what his strengths are. And we should always be focused on helping the boys "become." My favorite thing about the "Capturing the Vision of Scouting" Ensign article last year was the pictures. There were three or four pictures of young men in outdoor experiences having their pictures taken. On the camera each time was a picture of the missionary the boy could become.

"He prepared Himself." Leaders of youth need constant spiritual and temporal preparation to be successful. I noticed throughout the church website an emphasis on leaders nurturing their own habits of daily prayer and scripture study. Remember the most important of the "four T's" is Testimony. How can we expect to be good examples and mentors without a strong foundation in the gospel? The second most important T is Training. Being well prepared includes ongoing training, as well as carefully preparing for each class, lesson or activity.

"He used the scriptures..." Do we find opportunities to use the scriptures in Scouting activities? Why not? Draw on the experiences of Nephi and Moses. Help the boys "liken them" to their own lives. Help them see how the courage of Abinidi, Ammon and Moroni relates to them.

"He shared simple stories, parables and real-life examples... He asked questions that caused them to think and feel deeply." Scout leaders have the opportunity to share real-life experiences with their boys, then use reflections to help the boys learn to glean eternal truths from those experiences. A few good questions after an activity can help the boys learn to feel and think deeply.

"He trusted them, prepared them, and gave them important responsibilities to teach, bless and serve others... He invited them to act in faith and live the truths He taught... In every setting, He was their example and mentor." If those three sentences do not perfectly describe the role of a Scoutmaster, I do not know what would.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

What I Should Have Said

We all have those, "what I wish I'd said" moments. Mine last week happened when I was doing my unit commissioner duty, visiting another pack's committee meeting.

This summer's Wood Badge course came up. I did not expect anyone would be jumping at the chance to go, all of them being women and Cub Scouters, but when one of them started giving those same excuses, I had to counter her arguments.

"But that's not for us; it's for the men. I mean, we just do Cub Scouts. They don't go camping."

"Nope, it's for us too," I told her. "I'm going."

The conversation went on, but later, as I thought it over, that is where I think I could have said more. It occurs to me now that she was probably thinking, since this training is a week long camping experience, that it is all about learning camping skills. I wish I had mentioned that outdoor skills may be part of it (having not been, I do not know for sure, but I am assuming that since that is what IOLS, OWLS, and BALOO are for, that is not the main point of Wood Badge), but the focus is leadership and cooperation.

I forget sometimes that most people think of Scouting as learning scoutcraft skills, and that is it. I wish I had taken this as an opportunity to point out that what Scouting is really about is teaching leadership and self-reliance. It is about spirituality and citizenship as much as it is about life skills. I cannot think of any better way to teach all those things to young men than sticking them out in the wilderness for a week, where they have to eat the meals that they planned, prepared, cooked and cleaned up after themselves. They have to rely on themselves and each other for many things; food is just one example.

It is not my impression that Wood Badge is a survival course, but I can see where someome might think that. Hopefully, next time I can do a better job dispelling the notion.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Birthday BSA

I have no doubt that Baden-Powell was inspired, as were those who founded the BSA, in creating and bringing this program to our boys.

This year also marks the 100 year anniversary of the LDS Church becoming the first nationally chartered orginization with the BSA.