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, July 28, 2013

Preparing for Wood Badge

As I packed my bags this week, I also tried to prepare myself mentally, taking the advice of the pre-course paperwork I received by taking some time for reflection. I was feeling pretty anxious, so I decided to take some time out from my "To Do" list to sit down and begin my "Wood Badge Journal."

I selected a small notebook I thought would be appropriate to carry around with me taking notes in during the week, both during classes and of my reflections, thoughts and feelings about my experiences. I started my journal by listing the reasons I was feeling anxious. The next page I filled with reasons not to be anxious. Then I filled in my answers to the twenty question pre-course assignment. I had already thought about these a couple of times and written some answers down elsewhere, but I wanted to go through them one more time and get them all written in the same place my other reflections would be going.

After all of this I was feeling much less anxious. I had also read a few blogs and comments online, which inspired me to write a list of questions for myself - things I want to get from the experience. This is similar to the approach we have been told to take to General Conference. I put and extra effort into doing this during the last conference, listening with specific questions in mind I would like answered, and I found it so effective, I actually took notes on some of the talks for the first time ever (which I wasn't planning to ahead of time). So I filled a page in my Wood Badge journal with questions, in the hopes that having that focus will help me to get more out of it.

As I completed these things, I realized that this was the real preparation I needed. The things I carry in my pack next week are probably not as important as the thoughts and intents I carry with me. Off I go!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Just in Cub Scouts..."

In a recent conversation with my DE friend, he said something that has had me thinking about it ever since. As someone who has lived mostly in the Midwest, he has had an interesting time adapting to the culture since moving here a little over two years ago, and there are many things about Church Scouting that drive him crazy. This one really took me off guard, though, especially coming from a professional Scouter. He made the comment that we don't focus enough on primary. He feels there is a very big imbalance, with all the focus on youth 12 and up. He believes Cub Scouts is important for getting the boys started in Scouting.

He is not the only one I have heard this from. More than once our Council Commissioner has made comments about how Cub Scouting is the best/easiest way to recruit/do missionary work. He talks a lot about how easy it should be to have those Cubs bring their friends to meetings with them. I have heard that something like 90% of Boys Scouts started as Cub Scouts (don't remember the exact figure).

When boys are Cub Scouting age, they are much more open to joining scouts and many of the things associated with that. If they participate in a good Cub Scout program, they are more likely to continue on and enjoy Boy Scouting. If their program is a disappointment or they do not attend Cub Scouts, they are very unlikely to have any interest in participating in Boy Scouts when they are older.

My own personal observation is that when this happens within the Church, the boy not only has no interest in participating in weekday activities, he does not seem to feel a part of his quorum on Sunday.

I think it is important to have good programs all the way through, but it really does need to start in Cub Scouting. As a unit commissioner, I recently met with a Charter Rep for one of the other wards nearby. He is the bishopric member assigned to both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts (I know different wards do this different ways; some have the charter rep focus on Boy Scouts and the other councilor focus on Cubs, and some have just one do both). He confessed that he did not pay much attention to what was going on in the Cub Scout program. He was very busy, and he trusted that the committee chair and primary were taking care of things and it was best if he just stayed out of the way. I wonder whether he would ever take that same approach with the youth programs.

What do you think? Do we often de-emphasize the importance of Cub Scouts in favor of programs for the older youth? Is it "just" Cub Scouts, or should it be regarded on the same level of importance as any of the other programs? I know the age group of around 12-25 is considered "high risk," but does the foundation for or prevention of that risk actually begin earlier?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Back to Gilwell

Last week I heard from the course director for our council's Wood Badge course for this year. Regional/national have approved the course going forward, even though we are not quite at 30 yet. (I hear we are close, and there is still a week left to register). Yes, you read that right. Our council, which covers everything in Nevada besides the Las Vegas area, plus a little of California, only has one Wood Badge course a year, and it needs special approval, because there is so much trouble getting the required minimum of 30 participants. This year, when I can finally go, they have been especially anxious about whether it would happen.

I received my packet of info and forms, and I am working on getting those filled out. In three weeks I will heading for a week of adventure and learning. Pretty exciting. I know the course director and several of the staff, and the DE tells me it looks like it's going to be a really good one, so I am looking forward to a great week.