Boy Scouts serving Utah, nation

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  • Connecting the Dots
    Aug. 16, 2008 11:26 p.m.

    I also see the strength of both the Duty to God and Scouting programs. I have never come across anything that clearly identifies the connections between both the programs. Life Time Scout, I too would be interested (as crmeatball) in the 7 year plan that you developed, it sounds like just what I have been looking for.

  • Eagle @ 13
    July 10, 2008 10:57 a.m.

    You all seem to miss the forest while you're counting trees. I am astonished at the remarks here... The real problem is not the scouting program, nor the Church's support of it, nor the efforts at fundraising or training leaders. The real problem is the boys themselves. How do we--in today's world complete with sexual references on every TV program, profanity at every turn, and repulsive humor infesting our children's minds--take these young men and mold them into moral, principled, and ethical men of character, for that is what our world needs more than any other thing. Anyone can raise a child in our society who loses interest without a quick fix; who's more interested in the latest video games or movies than in serving others. But we need MORAL people for our future, for if you haven't noticed, our world's in the process of destoying itself, and it's not some alien infestation that's responsible. Rather, it's from the inside... Boy Scouts build the kind of men we need. Are we prepared to criticize it with ticky-tack offenses while we watch our youth wither on the vine? Support scouting with all you've got!

  • Just Me
    July 10, 2008 7:54 a.m.

    I agree with everything that has been said about this article. The problem with scouting is in its implementation and anyone that thinks that going strictly to the Duty to God program is deluding themselves. Duty to God will just take the place of scouting and the same attitudes will prevail.

  • CA Mom
    July 9, 2008 9:40 p.m.

    Our ward unit for younger scouts has 5 boys who are not members of the LDS church whose parents like having them part of an organization that has religious ties. The success of any group depends on how committed and trained the leaders are and how they involve the boys in leadership in their troop activities. We have two Eagle sons, both of whom don't have any regrets about having earned that badge, but it does help if they are firmly on track in their younger years. Even after 14, their interests vary and demands on their time compete. But I don't think it would be any different in any other program; it still depends on the leadership.

  • Suzy Homemaker
    July 9, 2008 6:18 p.m.

    Risking a lack of identity with the Quorum? Oh, geez...quit complaining. At least you had a nationally recognized achievement program that MOST of you could identify with. As a girl, I found the cooking, sewing, crafts and boring lessons of the young womens program a pathetic excuse for developing girls into confident, goal-oriented women. Never could identify with the archaic womens roles in the church. Leaving it all behind 35 years ago was the best thing for my my husband and I were blessed and proud to raise three very happy, very successful and well-educated daughters.

  • To Long Way from Home
    July 9, 2008 2:47 p.m.

    I appreciate your comments. I do have one warning though. Choosing not to participate in your ward's troop has some drawbacks, namely the lack of identity with a priesthood quorum. Because scouting is the activity arm of the Aaronic priesthood, the scout troop is an extension of the priesthood quorum. Members of the quorum that participate in scouting naturally feel much more a part of the quorum. Not feeling a part of the priesthood quorum has its dangers. Maybe consider volunteering for the scout committee, where you can help to ensure that your son has a quality experience.

  • Explanation scouting / calling
    July 9, 2008 2:30 p.m.

    BSA doesn't hire its own volunteers in order to keep costs down so that more youth can be involved. If BSA hired its own volunteers, they would have to hire an army of recruiters, which would drive up the cost, making what many have complained is an expensive program totally out of reach. Instead, BSA enters into charters with organizations, wherein the organization is allowed to use the scouting program, and in return, the organization provides volunteers.

    In the Church, those volunteers are extended callings because scouting is the activity arm of the Aaronic priesthood. While waiting for volunteers to come forward would likely result in more committed leaders, that is not the Lord's way of doing things. Rather, he extends callings to serve and leaves it up to the individual to "see if they will do all things that the Lord has commanded."

    Part of raising the bar for missionaries is raising the bar for leaders of the Aaronic Priesthood, which includes scout leaders. Let's improve the scouting program in our wards, which will improve the quality of leaders that we are sending into the mission field and that will serve in the Church.

  • Long way from home
    July 9, 2008 2:23 p.m.

    If you are a member of the LDS church then your registration fee should be covered by the ward, which this fee goes to do a background check on each leader, it is the BSA's way of helping to keep our youth safe, yes it may not be a 100%, but they are trying.

    I grew up with a prof scouter, my father is now a scout excitive in another state, but I remember him not being home at nights so that he could run the round table meetings for the leaders, and also he was camp director for many years, so we never had family vacations during the summer because he would be the one up at camp helping to run the programs, so the boys could have a great time.

    I think that scouting is a great program, and I want my son to have a great time in it once he is old enough. My husband who is not an egael scout have decided that if the ward we live in doesn't have a good program we will get him in a troop outside of the church so that he can have the true experiance.

  • Life Time Scout
    July 9, 2008 2:18 p.m.

    To crmeatball. I created this program for our District/Stake. I have not posted it anywhere. I will sare it with you if there was a way to contact you.

  • Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 2:00 p.m.

    To: To Star Scout 12:10 pm.

    I agree with you that rank advancement is not the way to measure young men, but when parents are all over me about why their son is not advancing the way they want them to, it becomes problematic. It all boils down to the leaders and the young men being willing to work together. Some wards have it all together, others don't. I don't push the boys into scouting because I've seen too many stay away because of it, even though their parents are encouraging. Parents help a lot and a good troop committee goes along ways in assisting. Anyway, thanks for the good discussion. I've got to get back to work and get ready for our Stake Youth Conference!

  • Scouting for Profit
    July 9, 2008 1:36 p.m.

    The price of the overhead (i.e. keeping the lights on, buildings, etc) should be included in the price of books and uniforms, etc. When I shop at Wal-Mart I don't send them an extra check to cover overhead. Same thing with other scout camps and activities which can (and do) charge hefty fees to participate.

    Someone in my family just got called as a scout leader / volunteer and I was dismayed to realize there is a "registration fee" to volunteer. That is ridiculous. Why should a volunteer need to pay to register.

    Scouting is a big business that teaches some good values, just like Disney.

    Does anyone remember that article about how much the local scouting execs are paid? It was ridiculous.

  • Scouting / Calling
    July 9, 2008 1:29 p.m.

    Why do we issue callings for scout leaders? Shouldn't the BSA recruit their own volunteers?

    Scouting is not the church. Wouldn't you be a little suprised if your Bishop called you to be an FFA advisor, or the President of a homeowners associated?

    I think we would get much better dedication from true volunteers rather than "called" volunteers. Also, this would prove whether or not their is enough interest in the program to continue as a viable entity. If not enough people were willing to put in the time then no more scouts.

    This may sound radical, but it isn't really. There are tons of good/faith promoting/value promoting organizations out there. They do their own fundraising, they hire their own volunteers.

    If scouts can survive without the LDS church then great. But church callings should be for church callings, not scout callings.

  • Why have both?
    July 9, 2008 1:31 p.m.

    Why have both DTG and scouting? One big reason has been identified by "Assistant Scoutmaster." Scouting is an excellent means of building bridges between the Church and other religions, communities and service organizations.

    The more fundamental reason is that the DTG program is currently only a supplement to scouting, meaning that scouting offers so much more than just the few requirements that it shares with DTG. For example, it offers the patrol method, which is an ideal way to develop leadership in our young men; extensive time in the outdoors learning life skills, appreciating God's creations, and building unity/relationships with other boys and adult leaders; and wearing a uniform, which is a great opportunity to prepare young men for the "missionary uniform" they will be wearing in the future; just to name a few.

    The church could incorporate these into the DTG program, but why do so when a perfectly capable program already exists?

  • crmeatball
    July 9, 2008 1:16 p.m.

    To Life Time Scout - I serve in a bishopric in a new ward that is struggling to get the scouting program started. I too am a life time scout, but many of our leaders are not familiar with the program. Have you posted this 7 year plan anywhere? It would be a great training asset. Thanks

  • Scouting Skeptic
    July 9, 2008 1:14 p.m.

    I hated scouting as a youth. Now that I have a son, I have a hard time pushing him to do anything with it when he isn't interested. I have felt for years that the Church would be better off if it went separate ways from the scout program.
    I do think that it will not happen while President Monson is the Prophet, since he is so intimately involved in the program.

  • chad
    July 9, 2008 12:36 p.m.

    I have been in Scout for awhile now and the one thing i still dont understand why it goes with Scouting Is Duty To God, its kind of hard to cover that subject when some of your Scouts follow a diferant religion say muslim

  • Assistant Scoutmaster
    July 9, 2008 12:22 p.m.

    Reading this article and these comments just make me all the more enthusiastic about Scouting. I am on of those "young students without children." I take as much time as I possibly can to be involved in Scouting. It still teaches the fundamentals all boys need to learn to be good citizens, good workers, and good men in general.
    While I am LDS, I am a volunteer in a Community troop. It is refreshing to see that the program works outside of the church as well as within.

  • Life Time Scout
    July 9, 2008 12:14 p.m.

    To Star Scout.... I also agree with your viewpoint about called leaders. It does take a ton of effort. I know, I have 4 boys that are Eagle Scouts. That is why I put togeather the 7 year calendar to help leaders with the hard part, planning a program. Keep up the good work.

  • To Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 12:10 p.m.

    Your latest comments are a case in point. Boys feel left out because advancement is the only method used by the scout troop, which is not the way the boy scout program is designed. If the scout troop would place as much focus on the other methods of scouting as it does on Advancement, the boys not interested in advancement wouldn't feel left out.

    The fact that you didn't get your Eagle, yet have lived an extremely successful and productive life, demonstrates that getting the Eagle is just a method and not the end-all/be-all of the scout program. If you were in a scout troop that focused on the other methods of scouting (ideals, patrols, outdoors, personal growth, adult association, leadership development, uniform), then your character likely improved as a result, even though you didn't get the Eagle. I know so very many that have received these benefits of scouting without earning the Eagle.

    My advice to you is to follow the prophet, who supports scouting, and just run each scouting program by the book (Boy Scout, Varsity and Venturing) and encourage your leaders to do the same. Just follow the program. It works!

  • Phred
    July 9, 2008 11:56 a.m.

    It is a common misconception that the Eagle is the end all and be all of scouting. In reality, the opportunity to earn the Denali during the 14-15 years and the diverse opportunities of Quest, Trust and Ranger awards for 16-17 means continued work toward Eagle after 13 is essentially remedial work. No wonder they loose interest if the program seems juvenile to someone in high school.

    Is your boy on track to be done with Eagle by 14 so he can fully enjoy these higher awards as his interests mature? Just look at the merit badges. 21 are required for Eagle. If he has earned a merit badge for each month since turning 12 he is on track for earning it on time. (Yes I know they can get a head start on that while 11.)

    By the way, the Trust and Ranger programs coupled with Duty to God are great training for future missionaries and fathers.

  • Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 11:27 a.m.

    To Life Time Scout... I agree with what you say, but as has been said in other posts, it is up to the leaders to make the program work. The problem in most wards (from my viewpoint) is that the leaders are "called", and don't necessarily want to be in that calling. Many are young students, without children. As you show, it takes a lot of time and efforts that many just can't afford to do these days.

    I also agree that receiving an Eagle Rank is not the end all. Scouting teaches great principles, as does the Duty to God program. But why have both if they overlap so much?

    I agree with Scouting for Profit to some degree as well. Scouting is expensive not only for the individual, but on ward budgets as well. We're limited to one fund raiser a year, and with 30 young men, we can't meet the needs to pay for scout camp. Yet the Stake pays for all the Young Women to go to Girl's Camp without them having to raise any funds (over $8,000 annually). Not complaining, just an interesting note.

  • For the Concerned
    July 9, 2008 11:18 a.m.

    For those who think the Church ought to abolish Scouting, I highly recommend you ask President Monson. President Monson has dedicated many years of his life dedicated to the ideals and principles of Scouting.
    As for the annual Friends of Scouting drive - here are some things that you may overlook. First, someone mentioned uniforms- when you went to purchase them, a council employee probably assisted you in a building with lights and water. If you have ever been to a scout camp - how did the lodge, the staff and other facilities come in to being? FOS is a necessary program.
    Scouting is by far one of the most rewarding experiences I had. And even better, my leaders took the time to match up Duty to God and Scouting requirements. Not only did I learn more about my role in the Church but also my role as a citizen and a member of society. If you want to see scouting change, become a trained leader.

  • Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 11:12 a.m.

    First of all, I do understand the relationship between Scouting and the LDS Church, etc. I have no problem with it myself. But it can be detrimental to those boys who don't want to participate and who feel left out. Afterall, it is an individuals choice to participate in the program.

    As for the personal comment on why I was only a Star Scout, that didn't bother me in the least. It was my choice and my parents didn't pressure me to be an Eagle. My father was a Star Scout and he was a very successful faculty member at an Ivy League school. My brother was a Star Scout, and I was too. I got my Ph.D. and now teach at a university, but when applying for jobs I was never been asked if I was a scout and what rank I achieved. My first two sons made it to Star and Life as well (see the pattern in my family?), but my wife has determined that our youngest son will make it to the rank of Eagle and has done much of the legwork herself. Anyway, it's just my opinion and I still support scouting.

  • Sad Scout
    July 9, 2008 11:02 a.m.

    Todays world just might not be ready for Scouting anymore. "Do a good turn daily" and await an eventual lawsuit. Its a shame.

    I still use knots and stuff I learned about nature in scouts just about every day.

  • Life Time Scout
    July 9, 2008 10:53 a.m.

    To Star Scout and Southern Utah Resident.....Both of you do not understand the Scouting Program and how it relates to the LDS Church. I have been active in scouting for over 35 years and I can tell you from experence that both the Duty to God program and scouting go hand in hand. I put togeather a 7 year calendar defining each requirement in the Duty to God Program and Scouting and plugged it into weekly activities for 7 years. I know from many hours of research that if you earn the Duty to God you also achieve most of the scout rank advancements as well as Varsity and Venture Awards. In the 7 year calander the first year, 11 year old, the scout will earn Tenderfoot Second Class and First Class. While a Deacon he will earn his Eagle and Duty to God as a Deacon. As a Teacher he will earn Varsity Awards and Duty to God as a Teacher. As a Venture he can achieve most of the Venture awards just by fulfilling the Duty to God requirements. Point is....if you are doing the Duty to God you are doing Scouting.

  • To "Scouting for Profit"
    July 9, 2008 10:33 a.m.

    I used to feel the same way as you until I began to run my program by the book, which includes going to regular scout training, (which is overseen by the paid scouting professionals), attending quarterly district camps (overseen by scout professionals, and which saved me a ton of prep time that I didn't have to do myself in planning a campout), attending organized summer camps (which have a ton of qualified teachers, equipment, and excellent facilities, much of which is subsidized by friends of scouting drives that you referenced). All of these resources are designed to teach scout leaders so they can unload themselves and focus on the boys. Hopefully your unit will take full advantage of all that your local council has to offer.

  • To Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 10:23 a.m.

    You have identified another problem with the way many leaders/parents see scouting--that getting the Eagle is the end, and not a means to an end. The BSA-designed program (which many local scout leaders do not follow) emphasizes that advancement is a method (one of many), not the goal. It is a method to increase character in young men/a way to recognize boys when they succeed.

    Too many parents and leaders see the Eagle/advancement as the end-all and be-all of scouting. This is problematic for a few reasons. First, it leaves out so many boys that don't advance to an Eagle for whatever reason (lack of interest, lack of time, etc.) Second, it prolongs the boy scout program while ignoring the Varsity and Venturing programs, thus making scouting even less appealing. Finally, it causes rifts between parents , who feel they are failures if their boy doesn't become an Eagle, so put added pressure on the boy or do it for him, and their boys.

    The scout program was designed to include everyone. Those who want to advance to the Eagle can, and those who can't or don't want to can still enjoy/benefit from the other methods of scouting.

  • Scouting for Profit
    July 9, 2008 10:02 a.m.

    It seems to me that Scouting has just turned into a big business that seeks to profit at the expense of volunteers.

    Every year our ward is asked to raise $1500+ for scouts even though we only have 2 scouts. This money is sent in to the Scouting office and we see virtually no benefit. We still have to pay for everything from uniforms, to books, to camps.

    I think the Scouting Executives are overpaid and underperform. There is still a lot of good in the program, but it is going downhill pretty fast.

    We are so traditionally attached to scouts, that is now practically synonymous with the Church itself, which is not correct.

    Of course, we need to teach our men good values, but scouts is not the vehicle it once was, and won't deliver in the same ways it used to.

  • Scout Leader
    July 9, 2008 10:01 a.m.

    There is nothing inconsistent with the principles of Scouting and the principles of the Aaronic Priesthood for LDS Scout programs. That's why the LDS Church adopted Scouting as the activity arm for the Aaronic Priesthood. Drop Scouting for the Duty To God Program? They go hand in hand. The Duty To God program has the same problems as the Scouting programs in Varsity and Venturing. The adult leaders aren't trained, don't know how to implement the program and won't take the time to learn. Bishops don't know either program nor do Stake Presidents.

    The problem isn't the program--it's apathy among the leaders. Maybe that's why Star Scout was only a Star...

  • Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 9:49 a.m.

    I'm not giving up on any programs, I would rather just have the Duty to God program (I love it) and drop Scouting. There is enough pressure on these boys these days without having to fulfill all the duties of Scouting. Even with the Varsity and Venturing programs, many boys just don't fit in. I'm not giving up on scouts, I'll support it, I'm just giving my point of view from what I see as a YM President and trying to fill the needs of every young man. I don't live in Utah and we have about 30 young men in our program with much diversity. By the time most young men are 16, they are working at jobs to save for missions and miss a lot of YM programming anyway. The path to Eagle is really driven by the parents in most cases.

  • Southern Utah Resident
    July 9, 2008 9:45 a.m.

    I too would like to see the Mormon Church drop the Boy Scout program. It's rife with inconsistent standards and abuse from the top down.

    I am an active member of the LDS Church and I will NEVER let my son participate in scouting!

  • Zach Shaw
    July 9, 2008 9:43 a.m.

    Star Scout: I have been a scout leader for six years, and my experience has shown me that your valid observation is not a result of the program failing, but it is the leaders who don't carry out the program the way it is designed that is the problem.

    I've seen too many scout leaders that work on merit badges every week in a classroom setting, rather than engaging in outdoor games and competitions, with the boys teaching the skills and planning/carrying out the program.

    I've seen too many leaders ignore the Varsity and Venturing program, either in continuing to work on merit badges (which boys have lost interest in by that time), or with ad hoc activities like basketball every week.

    If leaders will just follow the program the way it is designed, my experience is that the boys continue to thrive. When I was a varsity coach, I ran the program by the book, and a few months after I began serving, a parent of one of the young men told me that his son had totally lost interest in scouting, but that during the past few months, he was on fire about scouting.

    The program works!

  • scouting
    July 9, 2008 9:27 a.m.

    To Star Scout:
    If the wards would follow the program of using Varsity an Venturing they would find much better success with the boys. Both of those programs tailor the activities to the interests of the boys. Listen to Pres Dahlquist at the May Aaronic Priesthood Scouting broadcast.

  • spiritree
    July 9, 2008 9:28 a.m.

    Star Scout, the church is always open to new ideas. Why don't you submit your better program for review? Until then don't give up on a proven program but help those 14 and older young men understand the proven value of living by the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan instead of playing basketball and other games for youth activities to keep them coming.

  • Star Scout
    July 9, 2008 9:03 a.m.

    I think it's time for the church to drop Boy Scouts and expand on the Duty to God program. I know it's a good program, but is not for everyone. In most wards that I've lived in the Boy Scout program has only created a divide between the young men. By the time boys are 14, most no longer care for Scouting yet they are not given much of a choice to do anything else. As a result, many don't attend Young Men's programs. It's time for a change to a program that will improve the lives of ALL young men.

  • Paul in MD
    July 9, 2008 8:14 a.m.

    The boys described by "Wrong" generally don't get involved in Scouts, and if they do they don't advance very far.

    It is well known that Scouts that pursue the highest ranks in Scouting usually do very well in adult life, becoming leaders in all professions and serving with distinction in our military.

    I have watched a number of young men become Eagle Scouts, and the transformation can be astounding.

  • Wrong
    July 9, 2008 7:10 a.m.

    Boys to busy playing Base Ball to help Elders even for pay.
    Boys do not know how to work or do a job properly.
    Some of these Boys are now Men with Children that will not be taught