Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Eagle Project

On Saturday I had the privilege of helping one of the young men in my ward work on his Eagle Project.

We met at the cemetery and cleaned up headstones. This particular cemetery used to have a policy that all headstones had to lay flat so that it would be easier to mow the grass. (Terrible idea, if you ask me.) As a result, many of these headstones had sod growing over them. Some had two inches of sod (not just grass--sod) covering names and dates on the stone. 

This young man told me that he got the idea for this project as he visited his father's grave in that cemetery. He noticed how it made a difference to him when his father's grave marker was neat and clean. He told me he wanted to clean up some of the other markers so that other visitors would be more able to feel the Spirit as they came to honor their relatives.

It was a long, hard day. I came home tired and sore. I'm still sore. My knees, which have been giving me problems all summer, are revolting. And we didn't get everything finished he wanted to. I believe he's going to set up another day to continue work. If at all possible I'll be there then, too.

I don't know how many times he thanked me for coming to help. As I told him, "I wouldn't miss it."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Troop Program Helps

I just got an email from our District Commissioner:
Dear COR:
The LDSBSA relations committee have taken the program helps and have formatted them into the Duty to God Program. These will be a great help to our scoutmasters as they implement the Duty To God program with their scouting activities. These troop helps are laid out very well, I would encourage you to download them and pass them along to your scout leaders so they can implement them as soon as possible.
For each subject (backpacking, camping, swimming, etc.) there are four weeks worth of agendas for Troop meetings and an agenda for a weekend activity. I converted a couple pages of one of them to a picture so I could post it here (click on the image to see it full size):

I have never used the Troop Program Features books because I was in Venturing, and there aren't any program helps for Venturing. For us the only guidance was: "What a Venturing crew does is limited only by the imagination and involvement of the adult and youth leaders and members of the crew."

It looks to me like leaders will still need to Troop Program Features books so they have all the information--these helps simply organize it in a way that is consistent with LDS meetings and the Duty to God program pattern of Learn-Act-Share.

I am excited to share these with the Scout leaders in my ward and see how this improves their activities.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


It's time to recharter all the Scouting units in my ward. As the new Chartered Organization Representative, this falls to me. I don't really think it will be that difficult once I get down to it.

Sure, we do have a couple boys who need their registrations moved from Scouts to Varsity, but I don't anticipate that as a big obstacle. Of course, it wouldn't be an obstacle at all if we had a functioning committee keeping track of those things. (That's my number one goal now--get a functioning committee in place.)

What I do see as obstacles, and rather large ones at that, is with the adult positions. (Isn't always the adults that cause problems...?)

First, I need to make sure they all have youth protection training. Not a big deal for an individual to get trained, right? I just have to make sure that all of the individuals do it. That's proving a little more difficult.

Second, and most difficult, we need at least three new people: Committee Chair, Varsity Coach, and 11-year old leader. We really also need committee members. We could just assign the bishopric to be the committee like they did last year. That would fill the positions but wouldn't mean anything, so I'm pushing for a different direction.

The problem there is that I have no idea where those people will come from. I don't see them in church on Sunday unless we strip good people out of other important positions. And then who do we get to be our Elder's quorum president and ward clerk?

I'm sure we'll get there (think positive!) but it has to be done in the next six weeks. With each passing week I'm finding it harder to have faith.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Will Venturing last?

The September issue of Venturing Magazine contains what is, in my opinion, a pretty disturbing article titled "What's in Store for Venturing?"

According to this article, there are several changes in the works that include the elimination of the Venturing oath, code, sign and salute. These will be replaced by the Boy Scout oath, law, sign and salute. Just in time for Venturing's 15 year anniversary next year.

Also mentioned in the article is the rumor that the Venturing awards program could be facing changes and possibly elimination. If they do away with that much, will the even keep the name "Venturing"?

Most of these changes (as well as others that have already happened over the years) are reportedly due to the desire of the National office to have more oversight on what is often perceived to be a "renegade" program.

I will admit that I never got my Venturing crew to run the way I thought we should. It is also true that most local crews didn't use the program. I will also confess that I occasionally thought that Venturing could use a little more oversight from the district and council (or am I confusing "oversight" with "support"?).

From that perspective I can understand the desire to make some changes. However, the changes that I saw needing to be made were not with the program itself, but rather with the way it was used and promoted.

If the changes outlined in this article do indeed happen I'm afraid that the Venturing program I fell in love with over the last four years will be history. There may still be some token program for older youth, but it won't be the same. As the author of the article states, "much of Venturing's soul is being stripped away" and I don't think I like it.

Time will tell, however, if the changes actually come and if they will be positive or negative. Many things that seem negative now may turn out, in the end, to be good. But there's something in my heart that tells me I should be glad I was released when I was.