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.

Monday, August 24, 2015

To Scout or not to Scout, that is the question.

I have so many tools that I have to store them in two different places. I have auto mechanic tools, construction tools, mining tools, and specialty tools. With my tools I could rebuild and restore a car, build a house, dig a tunnel, or any of a number of other activities. I have tools I’ve never used and tools that are well past being worn out. There are any number of activities I could approach from different aspects using a number of different tools. Right now, the tool the Lord has instructed us to use to help our young men grow into self-sufficient missionaries, temple-going husbands, dedicated fathers, and responsible citizens is the Boy Scouts of America. Despite all that is going on in the political climate, the Lord has not yet retracted that guidance. During a recent troop committee meeting, one of our committee members, a man I hold deep respect for, made it very clear that whether the church decides to stay with the BSA or not, if the recent vote by the BSA to allow homosexual leaders stands, he will no longer participate. I understand his viewpoint and don’t hold it against him. As we prepared for our upcoming annual planning meetings I reflected on how to approach this. It occurred to me that it is irrelevant which organization we call ourselves, it is the activities that the youth need to develop that are important and we’ll be doing those activities whether in BSA uniforms or in homemade activity shirts as a Deacons quorum. So this is the statement I read at the beginning of our planning meeting: There are a lot of questions going on right now about the future of the relationship of the church and the BSA. Before we start planning our year let’s take a moment and think about what we’re really doing. We are NOT planning a BSA event; we are planning the activities that we hope will help the young men in our quorum become better priesthood holders, better missionaries, better fathers, and better citizens. The BSA is only the tool we are using to accomplish that. We know that activities that we are planning will, like the Mormon Battalion experience of the early church, prepare these youth for great things. I propose that whether the church stays with or separates from the BSA is irrelevant; we’ll still be holding these activities. It’s the experience that is important, not the organization. So let’s do our best to plan thoroughly and with due diligence. I encourage you to keep the big picture in mind when you approach this delicate subject. Pray for direction and remember the Lord’s most recent counsel. Until He gives us new guidance, carry on as if nothing has or will change. firebirdlvuer


Eric the Half-bee said...

Hear! Hear!

Evenspor said...

I have heard some people asking about what the point of working on advancement is, if they aren't going to be finishing. This answers that question perfectly. Advancement is just another tool. Whether a boy ends up finishing a merit badge or his Eagle or whatever else isn't as important as what he learns along the way (although finishing what you start is a good lesson too).

Mike said...

Thanks for your post. I just moved from California to Canada and have been called to lead scouting except that the stake and the ward is no longer going to register the boys in our ward into Scouts Canada (it costs about $200 a boy, so it has become cost prohibitive and SLC won't pay for boys registration like they do in BSA). That means we will do scouting without scouting. I've been a scouter all my life and so I've been struggling a bit about what that means. I came to the same conclusion that you did, mainly that all that we do is to prepare the boys for future priesthood service: mission, fatherhood, community service, temple service.

We are still working out the details, but the deacons gave us a list of things they want to work on that was very close to a scouting program (except for more references to zombies and the like). We are going to make 3 week modules on a topics that the boys want to know more about: physical fitness, wilderness survival, car maintenance, home maintenance, shooting sports, etc. On the forth week we have a combined activity and on a fifth week we will always do a service project. We hope to have long hikes and camping trips and bike rides once a month as long as the boys take interest in these things. We will end each activity with a reflection and try to continually point out to the boys what they are learning and how it will help them with future priesthood service. We will get the boys to take the lead on planning and executing activities - hard for a 12 year old, but we can get them started. We are trying to think of advancement type rewards that boys can work towards as they come to and participate in activities.

I feel a bit like a pioneer, going out without a book to back us up. Still, I'm confident that a concerted effort aligned with the principles of scouting, mainly Duty to God, will be successful.

Thanks for a great blog!