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.