Saturday, June 30, 2012

A little help from my friends

It seems that I go through phases with this blog. Sometimes I have a lot to say. Other times I go for a while without any thoughts to share. I think I'm in the latter category at the moment. I was just wondering what I might be able to post about. Good thing there are others out there saying the same stuff I'm thinking.

Eric the Half-bee recently posted some really great stuff on his Volun-told Scouter blog. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out here and here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My man-cub

After my wife and I found out we were having a baby boy, she started to work on a present for him/me. He showed up a bit on the small side so he couldn't try it out until recently--just in time for our last court of honor.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The next step

Last night, I witnessed a major milestone in the lives of two of my young men.

These two young men (twins) have been with me almost as long as I have been in Venturing. They were teachers when I moved into the ward and joined my Venturing crew just after I attended Wood Badge and started to figure out what I was doing.

I was privileged to help both earn their Eagle.

One of them really took to Venturing and earned his Silver award and then spearheaded an effort to start a community based Venturing crew.

The other didn't get quite as excited about Venturing but still managed to earn the Religious Life Bronze award. 

Given how their birthday interacted with the School year, I got to keep them several months longer than I would others. They have been a great help to our Venturing crew, our Priest's quorum, and to me.

But last night they both earned their most important Scout award yet. They each received a call from the Lord to serve a mission. Interestingly enough, they will both serve in Brazil (different missions, but awfully close) and enter the MTC (in Brazil) on the same day.

Congratulations, guys!

Additional Scout awards

A week ago at our combined Troop/Team/Crew court of honor, I shared a thought that went something like this:
We have just handed out several Scout awards tonight, and I'd like to tell you a little about them. I'll use my own awards as an illustration. I don't do it to brag, but simply to facilitate the thoughts I want to share. 
As a Cub Scout, I went through the process, the same as you. I earned my Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos ranks. I also earned my Arrow of Light award. I don't remember a lot about this stage. I don't remember what I had to do to earn these awards and now they don't mean a whole lot to me, but I earned them.

As a Boy Scout, I did the same thing. I went through the ranks from Tenderfoot, to Second Class to First Class. I earned merit badges and worked my way from Star to Life. On my 15th birthday I had my board of review for Eagle (I held it up for everyone to see). This one does mean something to me. I worked hard for it. And I sincerely hope every one of you will earn this one too.
Along with these Scout awards I earned some religious awards associated with Scouts. As a Cub Scout I earned my Faith in God award.
As a Boy Scout, I earned my On My Honor award. this is an award you can earn, too. There are only two requirements: Earn the rank of Star (most of you are already there), and complete one section (Deacon, Teacher, or Priest) from your Duty to God booklet. I really hope you'll earn this one too.
But there is one more Scout award I want to share with you. Some of you (referring to the adults present) may have earned this one, too. Others, I hope, are working toward it. (At this point I held up my missionary name tag--sorry, no picture.)

You may wonder why I refer to my missionary name tag as a Scout award. It may help to know that when I talk about a Scout, I don't simply mean someone who comes to our meetings on Wednesday night or who wears the uniform once in a while. To me, a Scout is not someone who can recite the Scout oath and law, but someone who really lives the Scout oath and law.

Let me put it another way. If you are not living the oath and law; if you aren't doing your best to do your duty to God; if you aren't helping other people all the time; if you aren't trustworthy and loyal and all the rest, then you might as well throw these other awards in the garbage--because that's what they're worth.

Scouting isn't about awards. The awards are nice, but if the values aren't written in your heart, the awards don't mean anything.

But if you are a Scout; if you really do live those values; if you really strive to do your duty to God; if you are providing selfless service to others; if Scouting is written in your heart and not just on your uniform there is another award available to you. I'm still working on it myself. There isn't anything to wear on your uniform but there is a ceremony involved. The presenter comes up to the person who earned the award and says: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I'm sure anyone reading this post has heard the term "super-scouter." It may have even been applied to you. I think there are some who are starting to apply it to me and I'm not sure I like it.

The term almost always comes across with a slightly negative connotation. Sort of like, "Oh, So-and-so is one of those Super-Scouters who knows everything ever written in any handbook but doesn't know squat about boys."

Okay, so I've never heard it put exactly that way, but that's the impression I get. (That, and most "super-scouters" I know have district-level positions rather than unit-level positions--that might make a difference.)

So, what is a super-scouter anyway? Are there items we can all agree on? How about these, for starters:
  • A super-scouter always wears a complete uniform to any Scouting function.
  • A super-scouter knows and follows BSA policies and rules (even when it means he has to say no to a fun activity like paint-balling).
  • A super-scouter has received all the training he should associated with his responsibility, including Wood Badge.
  • A super-scouter does his best to implement the Scouting program in his unit.
  • A super-scouter has a vision and testimony of the Scouting program and encourages other Scouters to catch that vision/gain that testimony.
There might be other things that distinguish a super-scouter, but those are the ones I came up with off the top of my head. And guess what? I don't see anything negative about those things! In fact, I'd say if you are a scouter and those don't apply to you, then you aren't doing your job.

I suspect that most of the time, the term super-scouter is used by those who aren't doing everything they should to describe those who are. It's like they want to justify their own lack of commitment by saying "what I do is normal and all that other stuff is extra."

Now, let's look at those same points again from the other side of the coin:
  • A super-scouter always wears a complete uniform to any Scouting function. (He is more interested in getting awards for himself than he is in helping the boys--just look at all those square knots; what more proof do you need? OR Stop bugging me to wear my uniform, I don't like it. It makes me look like a nerd.)
  • A super-scouter knows and follows BSA policies and rules. (He won't let us have any fun. We're not going to get hurt doing that. He just doesn't get it.)
  • A super-scouter had received the training he should associated with his responsibility, including Wood Badge. (Who has time for all those meetings? And I am not going to Wood Badge. Once you go to Wood Badge they've got you for life.)
  • A super-scouter does his best to implement the Scouting program in his unit. (This may be seen as a sloppily run troop-meeting (run by youth) and less focus on being an advancement machine.)
  • A super-scouter has a vision and testimony of the Scouting program and encourages other Scouters to catch that vision/gain that testimony. (I wish he would stop bugging me to go to Wood Badge!)
Maybe I'm being a bit snarky, but the point is this: "Super-Scouters" are trying their best to do their job. They are doing their best to use the Scouting programs to bless the lives of those involved (both youth and adults). They see things from a perspective that others may not understand, and they may not know exactly how to achieve their vision, but they try. Sometimes that comes across as being a know-it-all. Sometimes it comes across as pestering someone to go to Wood Badge.

I'm not saying super-scouters are perfect--everyone has room for improvement--but I am saying that we might want to reconsider our language. Considering what a Scout "is," should we expect any less from our Scouters? Maybe we should change our language from "super-scouters v. normal scouters" to "scouters v. the rest of us slackers."