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 25, 2014

Updates at LDS.org and LDSBSA.org

The LDS-BSA Relations office has a new newsletter out! You can find it here. The first page (the YM Presidency message) is all about a new Church website focused on youth activities. There is an entire section on Scouting (which is even broken into Boy Scouts, Varsity and Venturing), which you can find here. The rest of the newsletter focuses on the Celebration last October, with the final page covering five tips for recruiting scouts into your ward units.

[Edited to add]: Don't know how I missed this, but I found out this morning that the Handbook (Green Book) was updated again last month. You can find a link to the new Handbook here.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mining in Society

Some of our readers may remember a few years ago when firebirdluver posted a letter he had written and sent to the Chief Scout Executive. The letter advocated a Mining Merit Badge, and the post was meant as an example of how we should be involved in these kinds of things, outside of the boundaries of our callings and our comfort zones.

You may have heard that this week, at the SME's (the professional association mentioned in that letter) conference in Salt Lake, the new Mining in Society Merit Badge will be launched. Firebirdluver will be there. Having been on the task force that put the merit badge together, he was not about to miss the official unveiling of it.

He, of course, already has his name in to be a counselor for the merit badge in our district. There is a lot of excitement across the district about the merit badge, because mining is one of the two main industries here. A majority of the people who live in our town are involved in mining on some level.

I know there is, and will continue to be, a lot of debate over whether this merit badge is redundant alongside a couple of the others, whether it is politically correct, or whether it is something the scouts really need. It is an opportunity, though, to open the eyes of scouts to an industry that we could not live without.

So keep in mind, the next time you are thinking about whether your ideas are important enough to be listened to, or whether you should be involved in something that you feel is important, that you can make a difference, but only if you put forth the effort to do something.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Calling All LDS Scouters: What would you do?

Yes, my loyal readers, I need your help and suggestions. I have been asked to teach a session of the "Scouting in the LDS Church" class at our upcoming University of Scouting in a couple of weeks.

What I would like is any suggestions about what you think is the most important thing to tell people about LDS Scouting? If you were in the class, what would you want to hear? What would you want to tell others taking the class? Throw out any and all suggestions. They will be much appreciated!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What is a Commissioner?

This is a question I hear a lot. Even experienced Scouters often do not know what a commissioner is, because they have never seen one, outside of maybe a red vest/jacket at a district or council event. Unfortunately, most districts do not have full commissioning staffs, and the commissioners do not always understand their jobs. I think that is a shame, because I really think commissioners can be a great support to a unit and help the leaders build a quality program.

At the first commissioner staff meeting I attended two years ago, the District Commissioner explained to us that, "Unit Commissioners are home teachers to Scouting units." Since then, I have seen the same analogy used here, and I have learned personally that the analogy really is a good one. On the most basic level, Unit Commissioners are supposed to visit their assigned units once a month. They provide resources and act as a go-between for the unit and the district.

You could even think of the different levels like this:

Unit Commissioner - Home Teacher/Visiting Teacher
Assistant District Commissioner - Home/Visiting Teaching Supervisor
District Commissioner - President
District Executive - Bishop

Just like the Bishop or president cannot visit every family or person under their stewardship every month (as much as they would like to), the DE or DC needs help serving all of the units. They need a team to help keep an eye on everything, build a relationship of trust with units, and let the district know when a unit is in trouble.

Often the commissioner is the only real contact a unit has with the district. That is why it is so unfortunate when that contact fails to happen.

According to the commissioner website, a commissioner is a friend, representative, doctor, teacher and counselor. Honestly, I think it is one of the most fun jobs in Scouting. It is great to have the excuse to attend the activities of other units and just sit back and observe. It can be satisfying to watch unit leaders grow in their positions. It can be a challenge to know when to help and when to sit back and listen.

On this year's Journey to Excellence forms, the gold level for the rechartering requirement includes inviting a commissioner and your charter representative to one of your activities. You can find out whether you have a commissioner assigned to your unit by contacting your district. If you do not have one, let them know that you would like one.

If you love Scouting and do not currently have a calling in it, or you want to be ale to do more, you may want to look into volunteering as a Unit Commissioner. Check to see if the class "The Commissioner Concept" is being offered at your local University of Scouting for a better overview of what the position includes.

And say hi to your friendly, neighborhood commissioner!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Scout Law Scripture Chase

Trustworthy - D&C 82:10
Loyal - 3 Nephi 27:13, Moses 1:39, John 10:2-15
Helpful - Matthew 9:2-7, John 9:6-7, Luke 17:12-14, Matthew 25:40
Friendly - Matthew 9:11, John 15:13-15
Courteous - Matthew 5:37-45
Kind - Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 9:20-27
Obedient - 3 Nephi 11:11, Matthew 3:15
Cheerful - Joshua 1:9, But: John 11:35 when His friends sorrowed, and He commands us Mosiah 18:9
Thrifty - Matthew 6:28
Clean - John 13:4-10
Brave - Luke 22:42, Mark 5:36, 2 Timothy 1:7, D&C 121:7
Reverent - Mark 11:15-17

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 & Moroni 7:45-48

A little something to occupy you on a Sunday afternoon (and happy Scout Sunday).