Monday, January 24, 2011

The Ethics Forum

One of the requirements for the Religious Life Bronze award, and the Venturing Silver award, is to organize and lead, or help organize and lead an ethics forum for your crew or another youth group. The Venturing Leader Manual describes the ethics forum thus:
An ethics forum is simply a crew meeting devoted to learning about the ethical issues in your crew's career or interest area. You might invite one or more individuals with expertise in the area to speak to your crew. The presenters can describe the ethical standards for their profession that are upheld by corporations, trade associations, unions, or other organizations. It is best if they give examples of how those standards are used, explain the consequences of breaking the rules, and explain why the rules are important.
The presenters also can give examples of the ethical dilemmas that arise in their professions. These could be dilemmas for which ethical standards have not been written or for which it is difficult to understand how to apply standards.
In our crew I had gotten the young men to do several ethical controversies, and they really enjoyed them. I wanted to be able to do the ethics forum, but for the longest time couldn't quite figure out how to go about doing it. I just couldn't think of what career or interest area the young men would be interested in. I had one young man who wanted to do the activity to pass off the award requirement, but it needed to be interesting enough for him to take the lead.

Finally, inspiration struck. I had been hung up on the part about our crew's career or interest area and we didn't really have one. What I eventually realized was that our interest area could be religious life, and the expert individuals we could invite to speak might be the missionaries.What if we invited them to come speak about the rules and standards they are expected to follow as a missionary and why they are important?

I mentioned my idea to the young man who wanted to do the activity, and he had an idea. Instead of asking the missionaries, who are really busy, why don't we invite a recently returned missionary to do the same thing? I agreed and the young man ran with it. He called the returned missionary, scheduled it and organized everything.

It was a fantastic activity. This recently returned missionary was someone from our ward, who the boys knew and had known growing up. They were familiar with him, and he with them. He spoke to them about mission rules and why they were all important--even the one about having a part in your hair. He told them how following the rules would help them keep the spirit with them. He taught them and encouraged them to serve missions. He committed them to study the gospel further. At the end of the night, every one of our young men were genuinely excited to serve missions. It was wonderful.

This is the kind of activity that will help young men come closer to Christ. Now, you may say it has nothing to do with Scouting or Venturing, and you might have a point. We could have done this without any association to Venturing. However, the idea that gave birth to this activity came because we were thinking of how to fill an award requirement. I doubt it would have ever come up under any other circumstances.

Just another example of how Scouting and Venturing can be used to support Aaronic priesthood quorums.

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