Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scouting's Values apply everywhere

The values of Scouting apply everywhere, even on-line. Check out the Scouting Magazine blog to see the Scout Law as interpreted for the internet and modern communication (facebook, texting, etc.):

Monday, November 19, 2012


I just turned in all the rechartering paperwork for our Scouting units. Despite the warnings I heard from others it wasn't that painful of a process. Aside from pestering adult leaders to do their youth protection training, and being turned down when extending calls to ward members to serve as new adult leaders, everything went smoothly. The paperwork was turned in on-time and we are good to go for another year (except a few adult leaders I still need).

One thing about it really struck me, though. The church spends a ton of money for the right to use Scouting as part of our programs. The church pays the registration fees for all youth and adults who are a part of our units, whether they participate or not. When you charter four different units (pack, troop, team, and crew) it adds up.

While going through the rechartering process I kept thinking about the money being spent. We are spending money to register people who never come. We are spending money to register adults who don't want to be there. We are paying for the rights to use a program and then not using it. It would be comparable to the church building a new temple and then never opening it for use.

Admittedly, some of our programs are being used more than others. We do pretty good with Cubs, but our Varsity Team might as well not exist. I kept wondering how much of the money we were spending on Scouting was being wasted. I'm afraid it's more than what's being used properly.

I'm not suggesting we abandon Scouting. What I'm suggesting is that we start using what we are paying for. We need to recognize the value in Scouting. We need to use the programs. Our leaders need to get trained so they know how to use the programs. We need to reach out to those who don't come and get them involved.

The money used to pay for Scouting comes from Tithing. Those are sacred funds--the same funds that are used to build meetinghouses and temples. In this case we use it to build men. The church will continue to pay for the privilege to use Scouting. The question is will we make use of it, or will let it go to waste.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The importance of Example

Last night I was able to see two of my Venturers set apart as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was a very touching experience and one I am grateful to have been a part of.

When I first became a Venturing advisor, these twin boys were Varsity Scouts in our ward. By the time I figured out what I should be doing with Venturing, they turned 16 and joined our crew. In reality, they made our crew. They were the first two in our ward to earn Venturing awards and one of them earned Silver. I was also able to help both of them finish their Eagle.

When I heard the recent announcement in LDS General Conference about the age of missionaries being lowered from 19 to 18 my first thought was that we needed to do a better job preparing our young men.

I then started to question whether or not I did a very good job of it when I was in that position. I worked hard on the Scouting end of things and did everything I thought I could that way but I wondered if I could have done more to help prepare them spiritually. Did I share my testimony with them enough? Did I talk about experiences from my mission? Could I have done more to encourage and mentor them? Did I do enough to teach them how to lead?

I'm sure there were plenty of things I could have done better.

But one of them told me something last night that made me think I had more of an influence than I had realized. Frankly, I was surprised to hear it. He said something like: "When I think of what it means to be a missionary I think of you."

I had no idea he saw me that way. I don't really see myself that way. I'm not sure where that image comes from, but apparently he sees it.

It reminded me of something Robert Baden-Powell said in Aids to Scoutmastership:

“Success in training the boy largely depends upon the Scoutmaster's own personal example. It is easy to become the hero as well as the elder brother of the boy. We are apt, as we grow up, to forget what a store of hero worship is in the boy. 
The Scoutmaster who is a hero to his boys holds a powerful lever to their development, but at the same time brings a great responsibility on himself. They are quick enough to see the smallest characteristic about him, whether it be a virtue or a vice. His mannerisms become theirs, the amount of courtesy he shows, his irritations, his sunny happiness, or his impatient glower, his willing self-discipline or his occasional moral lapses-all are not only noticed, but adopted by his followers. 
Therefore, to get them to carry out the Scout Law and all that underlies it, the Scoutmaster himself should scrupulously carry out its professions in every detail of his life. With scarcely a word of instruction his boys will follow him.”
Perhaps the best thing a leader of boys will ever do is to show a good example. That's why our Scout leaders need to be "the best men in the ward." Never underestimate the influence an adult leader can have in the life of a boy. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

An invitation

I just got a call from the course director for the Wood Badge course that will be held in my district next August. He asked me to serve as the Assistant Scoutmaster over Troop Guides.

I wasn't going to volunteer for next year's course, but I sure won't turn down the invitation.