Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A change of attitude

Last weekend my wife and I attended our council's University of Scouting event. We were there to take classes to learn what we need to know to start a new family pack in our area. It was mostly a good day.

I say mostly because there was one major frustration. Over and over again we heard complaints and gripes about how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do Scouting all wrong: We don't get trained and do stupid stuff, resulting in excessive insurance claims. We don't get parents involved in the committees, so important stuff doesn't happen. We don't tell Scout leaders what their job is when they are called so they don't even know what they're supposed to do. And on, and on, and on.

It was exhausting.

Look, I get it. I've been involved in Scouting in the Church for over 10 years. I've been a young men's president, and a bishop. I've taught basic training for nearly every program. I've helped with roundtable. I've been on stake Scouting committees. I've been there. And if you look at past posts on this blog you'll see I've contributed my fair share of gripes and complaints about Scouters in the Church not doing it "right."

That's when it hit me. The thing that I found so exhausting that day was something I have done myself for a decade.

Well, I'm tired of it and I'm going to make a change. And I'm going to start by saying I'm sorry to those who have been worn out hearing my complaints.

I'm going to try to approach things differently. When I look back on the 100+ year history of the Church and the BSA I am filled with gratitude for that partnership. It would be impossible to say what either organization would look like today had that partnership not happened. The fact is that both organizations are what they are today, at least in part, because of that relationship.

Just look at how many millions of members of the Church have been influenced by Scouting, either as a youth or because they were asked to help as a leader. Or think of the contributions the Church has made to the BSA, among them:

  • The chartered organization structure (read more about that, here.)
  • The push for women to be leaders for Cub Scouts (read about Lavern Watts Parmley, here.)
  • The involvement in creating both Varsity Scouting and Venturing
So, to the Church as a whole, I want to say thank you, for using the programs of the Boy Scouts of America for over 100 years to help millions of boys. To the BSA, I want to say thank you, for allowing such a close relationship to flourish.

Most importantly, to all the Scouters in the Church (past and present) I want to say, thank you for giving your time, talents, energy, and resources to help boys and young men. Thank you for doing what you have. For those currently serving, thank you for doing all that you can. And if there is anything I can offer to help you improve your service, I want to help.

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