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Extremely Conflicted on Scouting


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#21 Hemidakota

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:46 AM

Pam, in reading the story link, I am appalled in giving this man that amount of salary.

#22 Wingnut

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:32 PM

Anyone wonder how much money the Girl Scout Troops get to keep on cookie sales??? When my daughter was it was 30 to 40 cents on the dollar.


I was a Girl Scout for 13 years...that sounds about right to me. That's how much the troop gets to keep. Some goes back to the councils to deal with overhead and some subsidization of council-wide activities, and some goes to cookie production.

My daughter attends the activity days program and I don't spend a dollar on her. No uniform or book or camp out or awards night. It just seems a little strange for the church to put so much effort into training boys and less focus on girls. I mean, don't girls need to learn to use a knife or do first aid?


I learned first aid at Girls' Camp, and I learned knots, lashing, orienteering, map-reading, Morse code, and knife safety in Girl Scouts. And more first aid. :)
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#23 bytor2112

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 06:26 PM

I have been the Scoutmaster for nearly three years. Perhaps focusing on Duty to God and how Scouting values reinforce the standards young men are taught as Priesthood holders might change your perspective.
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#24 MarginOfError

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:45 PM

Just_A_Guy, I can appreciate some of your thoughts. In my scouting career, I have been in three different troops and a venturing crew as a youth, and two troops as an adult. I was a member of these units in three different councils. In that time, I have seen varying levels of corruption poor leadership at different levels. I might surprise a few people when I say that, to some extent, scout executives deserve a good salary. In one council I was a part of, there was an uproar when the council tried to buy a new car for the scout executive. The executive was driving a car that the council had bought him just five years ago. There was even more uproar because the car in question was somewhat large and luxurious (by which I mean it had air conditioning). There were loads of people complaining that an executive of a volunteer and non-profit organization shouldn’t be getting such handsome perks when the money could be going to provide more services for the youth. What these people failed to see, however, was that since this executive worked for a council covering two-thirds the state of Maine, he had put almost 200,000 miles on the car in those five years. When you’re expecting someone to drive 40,000 miles per year, it is fair to provide him with a vehicle that can take the mileage well and can provide some comfort along the way. Yes, sometimes, the salaries/perks we give our scout executives are justified. Another reason it’s fair to give scout executives good compensation is that they have to work a lot of nights and weekends to help train the volunteer leaders. Not only do they usually work at the office regular hours, but they travel around their council in the evenings to be with volunteer leaders. Their work load (if they’re worth their salt) is much more than 40 hours per week and often requires that they have reduced time with their families. It’s only fair that they be compensated for that. (but I’m not justifying excessive salaries. Surely salaries in the $100 k would be more that sufficient). On the other hand, in a different council, it was well known that you could earn a Silver Beaver award by making a donation in the order of about $12,000. Every couple of years the price went up. That council truly was corrupt, and I refused to give any more money to it than was absolutely necessary. Corruption in the scouting program can vary dramatically from one council to another. I’m terribly sorry if you are in a bad council. That will almost certainly make the scouting experience more sour. Roundtable meetings can vary from district to district and from council to council as well. In my current district, the only time quality unit awards were mentioned was about three weeks before the applications were due. All other discussion about quality unit awards are held between troop leaders and district commissioners. Also, quality unit award requirements are determined by the council. In our council, money is not a factor. Each unit sets a goal for how many new leaders to recruit and train, boys to recruit and advance to first class, etc. And we aren’t required to increase our goal each year. If we have a lot of boys in the troop, but are lacking in leaders, we might set a goal to recruit fewer boys and focus on leaders that year. Perhaps you should start making some noise about changing the requirements, or at least eliminating the fundraising part. I’m also with you on Friends of Scouting. I think it’s a horribly mismanaged campaign. Everywhere I’ve been, the FOS representative will show up once a year and distribute envelopes to all the parents. As if the families involved aren’t already committing enough money and resources. Well, I suppose in a Church sponsored troop the families might not be, so perhaps FOS is worthwhile there (my issues with Church sponsored troops would make a subject of an entirely different thread, but let’s just say I hope never to have to work in a Church sponsored troop). But my troop is not Church sponsored, and each family pays $15 - $25 per month to participate in the monthly campouts. That’s a huge financial commitment on top of scout camp each summer, and so when FOS shows up, we aren’t too inclined to donate a lot. I agree that the BSA needs to find a way to tap the population that isn’t already involved in scouting. That being said, the overhead costs for councils and national operations are immense. And the only source of income there is to finance that is chartering fees and additional donations (and popcorn sales). These costs include camps, jamborees, insurance, and employee pay and benefits and training materials. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the infrastructure functions pretty well at the national level. The corruption is more rampant at the council level, and I’m not entirely sure how to fix that. The best piece of advice I can offer is this: If you run a high quality troop that focuses on turning the boys into leaders, the good you perform for the boys in your troop will far outweigh the cost of corruption in the council. And the boys likely won’t even know that corruption exists.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#25 Herr_Jones

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:13 AM

My biggest problem with the Scouting program is how it's run in certain places. Currently in my ward the 12-14 year old category of male youth is 3. 3 total boys in the Boy Scouts program-there are more in the 14-16 (teachers and Varsity Scouts) and a couple in the 16-18 (Priests & Venturers). How does a boy have any leadership positions in a "troop" of 3?? Since it's not looked upon favorably to consolidate all ages of boys into one troop (imagine younger boys learning from the older ones....novel concept) because they are separated by age and Priesthood level, nor is it agreeable to combine my ward's 3 boys with another wards 4 boys to combine to at least a fair sized patrol. The local council here doesn't stock items for Varsity or Venturer programs, the only registered ones they have are the LDS ones, not a large enough population to justify the inventory. As such the Varsity & Venture programs are non exsistant in the three wards in our area. Scouting effectivly stops at 14 for youth here. I'm one of those that pushed hard to earn my Eagle as quickly as possible, I acheived it at 13, went on to get 5 Palms, with as little help from my ward as possible. I wasn't in the correct Deacon's quorum leadership positions to get a leadership position for rank advancement with my ward, so I went to my grandfather's stake & ward to become a Den Chief. Because that ward had a really active Varsity program, the focus there was on earning the Varsity letter and all pins possible, those that didn't succeed in rank advancement and merit badges before they turned 14, didn't succeed in getting their Eagle. Of the 35 boys in my "friend" range (my age, one year older & younger) only two managed to get their Eagle, both of us before we hit 14 and moved to the next mandatory fun program.

#26 JoeUzel

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 02:00 PM

New to the church and already a Scoutmaster. With 27 years of Scouting experience, my Bishop was so eager to have me participate, he asked me if I would like to help out with the troop, even before I became a member I'm 100% behind the principles and values of Scouting and 100% behind the church. I'm somewhat disallusioned by the belittling of other people by members of the church and scouters here. I'm trying to understand how to rekindle the Fire of Christ through the Boy Scout Troop here in my ward through the program the council provides and through the Duty to God program. I'm certain that through understanding the core values of both programs, I can resolve the conflicts that reside in my ward. If anyone has any ideas to help me resolve conflicts surrounding "traditional scouting" and "scouting in the church", please let me know. I wasn't aware anyone thought there were two different types of scouting until our former scoutmaster mentioned it. I knew the Church had a different charter than non-LDS scout troops. I thought having our own specially tailored charter was the Church's strong point. Looking for conflict resolution, Yours in Christ, Joe

#27 BenRaines

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Posted 07 October 2009 - 02:46 PM

Joe, I have been in non LDS Scouting and LDS Scouting for many years. How are the charters different? Biggest challenge in LDS Scouting is that we only camp from Friday to Saturday. Fortunately I live in Idaho where 90% of the scouting is LDS units. Programs are planned around Friday and Saturday activities. Where I have a problem is with our available meeting days. As an LDS troop we have four meetings a month. One is for Duty to God and another is joint activity with the Young Womens program. We have two meeting days a month for Scouting activities and one campout a month. We are expected to prepare young men leaders and earn Eagle rank with half the time a non LDS Scout has. That is my only beef. Having been involved with Scouting as a young cub to scout to various leadership positions in the Council and District as well as the troop I love the Scouting program and work hard to make it work and benefit the boys. It is about the boys that we do what we do. Ben Raines
"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties." Sir Francis Bacon

#28 mightynancy

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 04:21 PM

LDS units have more than just scheduling issues. First of all, we register different units for each age group. Each ward will have 11-year-old Scouts (who are Scouts but don't camp without a parent present), Scouts who are 12-13 (deacons), Varsity (14-15 yr old teachers) and Venturers (16-17 yr old priests). This leads to nearly no continuity, nearly no opportunity for the boys to exercise leadership of the younger boys, and if you're not an Eagle by 14, your mother will have to make you do it. This is meant to keep the quorums distinct, but this could be accomplished by having different patrols in one large troop, IMO. We regularly change Troop (or Pack) leadership. If you're LDS and a male, you will be in Scouting whether you want to or not. This means we don't always have buy-in from the boys or from their parents. In a community unit, either the boy or his parents are invested in the boy's participation (both, if you're lucky). I love Scouting and I hate to see how little we take advantage of its possibilities.

#29 JoeUzel

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 07:14 AM

Ben, Thanks for the positive feedback. The challenge of creating and maintaining a high quality scout cub/troop/varisity/venture program is echoed hear in Iowa too.

I'm starting to find that most conflicts at the Troop level can be solved through better communication on my part. I just started a monthly newsletter and website to help with that.

When I talk about a different charter, I'm referring to pages 4 and 5 of "Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". Since the original charter in 1910 for the LDS Church, scouting in the church has had some differences from other BSA scout troops.
(link: Boy Scouts of America LDS Relationships - Resources)
(direct link: http://www.ldsbsa.or...- temp book.pdf)

I too love the Scouting program and work hard to make it work and benefit the boys. Once parents, church leaders, and the scouts themselves learn I do what I do, because it's for their benefit, many conflicts dry up in a stupor.

Joe Uzel

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 08:56 AM

The expense everyone is talking about bothers me. I've never been in scouting, but I had to set up a cub pack when I was in the Bishopric. I was amazed at the expense of things like badges, etcetera. There are times I wish we had our own program -- our own Church program that is similar to Scouting in goals and concept, but which makes the materials and resources more affordable. The problem with this is that it would a monumental effort to get it started. Plus, it would have little recognition outside of the Church. At least everyone knows what an Eagle Scout is.

#31 john doe

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 09:51 AM

Yeah, but being an Eagle Scout is practically meaningless these days. The program has been watered down so much and become so easy that a 14 year-old has very little concept of the values he is supposedly reflecting.
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#32 BenRaines

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 10:04 AM

JD, oh I guess I have more than one beef other than scheduling. I agree that a 14 yr old Eagle Scout has little understanding of the responsibility or honor that comes with being an Eagle Scout. Becoming an Eagle Scout is not the end of the journey but just the beginning. Once you achieve the rank of Eagle, Scouting has given you much, now is the time for you to give back. Also parents telling sons that they can not have a drivers license until they become an Eagle is a wrong incentive, in my opinion. I want boys that will at least come to the campouts. If they come to the campouts they will learn Scouting principles and have religious experiences. That is how we run the program. Ben Raines
"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties." Sir Francis Bacon

#33 Marine8541

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 08:27 PM

I have been a long time lurker and I was moved to respond to this thread. I'm relatively new to the Church and I'm First Counselor in YMs. From what I've seen in my few years with the Church scouting is having an adverse effect on out YM programs. Too many scout leaders are putting way too much pressure on our youth to participate in their program and that is driving kids away from the Church. I have kids who are involved in football, basketball, jujitsu, debate, swim, science club, and thespians just to name a few of their activities. These are great kids who are doing all we ask in the Strength for Youth and are progressing in their callings, assignments, duties, and are completing their Duty to God yet there are those traditionalist who are always chiding them for not coming to scouts. that attitude is driving our Youth away from the Church and we have to tread very lightly and remember that scouting IS NOT a commandment. Scouting needs to be less intertwined with the Church when it comes to kids who just don't want to do it. Scouts is a great program but there are a lot of great programs out there and our leadership has to stop putting pressure on those don't like scouts because in the end we're hurting everyone when that happens.

#34 bl8tant

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 03:19 PM

I have a somewhat different perspective on this issue. In my previous wards (in the southeastern and midwestern US), the scouting programs were OK. However, last year we moved to the west coast, and our scouting program here is *terrific*. We have great activities that the boys love: white-water rafting, caving, backcountry hiking, etc. The boys are learning not only Scout and church principles, but practical skills. I am thankful for the energy and effort that our Scout leaders put in, because it pays off for the boys, in spades. Marine8541, you're right that pressuring kids who don't want to take part in Scouting can eventually drive them away. I think, though, that we can lovingly invite, rather than pressure, to make the benefits of Scouting participation available to everyone.

#35 Bacdoc

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 01:16 PM

I'd like to thank everyone who commented in this thread. I was called to serve as the YM president a year and a half ago, and have some issues with scouting as well. I try to keep my opinions to myself, as I don't want to murmur, and I try to serve the Lord as best I can. Half of our boys are interested in the scouting program. Of that half, most of them are involved because their parents are forcing them to be there. So be it, when I was a kid I had to do things that were good for me even if I didn't enjoy it. My point though is that there is no motivation within our troop from the boys to advance and no excitement from them for scouting in general. The leaders (Bishop, myself, scoutmaster, advisers) are dragging these boys through the motions. It is a massive effort to accomplish meager goals. Those boys that are not interested in scouts never come to mutual anymore, because we are always focused on scouts, and we're losing them. The parents of these boys that do come, drop them off and expect us to take care of everything. I could go on, but............ I don't want to, you get the point, and it sounds as if it is not only our unit. I love these boys. I'm frightened for them. As I continue to get to know them, I worry more and more that they are not as prepared for life as I felt we were. Perhaps I have an inflated opinion of our education and preparation. I don't think so. I sense a lack of ambition with our boys for anything. Where is their ambition??? It's for this reason that I continue to use any tool at my disposal to teach them. Scouts and Duty to God are the tools that I have, so I do the best I can with them. I have a testimony and know that scouting can direct and teach and prepare a young man. But that young man has to be self motivated to do so. So, here's the crux of my issues with scouting. I believe that the way we do scouting some times as LDS unit's is a watered down version of scouting. Where I live there are many non LDS troops and they think that we are a complete joke. We are consistently the worst financed troop, and have the least amount of discipline and most often are the least prepared. I know that much of the blame for that can be placed at my feet, but I also see a distinct difference between our troop and non LDS troops. They are volunteers. The leaders and boys scout because they are interested and love it. Our leaders and boys do it because they were called to do so or they turned twelve and are Aaronic Priesthood holders. I will never love scouting. I love the boys and do my best, but I could care less about knots, camping, and merit badges. I would much prefer to see the boys achieve their Duty to God then Eagle scout, and much of the culture of the church seems to have this backwards. Nevertheless, I've been called to this position, the Lord knows me and my weaknesses, so I know I have much to learn and I'm here for a purpose. Perhaps in time my views regarding scouting will change. I just want a program that didn't divide the YM into groups. Scouting and non scouting. It doesn't mean to, but it does. If I try to do fun activities that don't involve scouting I hear "what does ultimate frisby, or dodge ball have to do with achieving merit badges." I just want to keep everyone involved, but I can't convince the boys that want nothing to do with scouts to come anyways and we'll have fun. And I can't blame them. Sorry for the long post and rant. I just feel like the energy that we use to "drag" these boys to different ranks that mean nothing to them that we could do something else that could be fun and help them with their spiritual progression. In the mean time, I'll continue to try to change my attitude. Thanks

#36 bl8tant

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 01:34 PM

Bacdoc, as I was reading your post I remembered something that I was told at a ward Scout meeting shortly after I joined the ward: our stake president frequently tells people that Scouting is the activity arm of the Aaronic priesthood, a statement that echoes a bunch of other similar-sounding quotes here. Some stake presidents and bishops drink more of this particular flavor of Kool-Aid than others. In my current stake, the leadership puts a lot of horsepower behind the programs, and they are well supported by the families. We try to focus on helping the boys earn their Eagle rank by age 15 or thereabouts, before they start smelling perfume and gasoline. We still have some boys who aren't interested, but we also have about 20% of our troop who are non-members. That's the flip side o f the integration between Scouting and church.

I think that to the extent the stake and ward leadership embraces this principle that Scouting can be a wonderful experience, but there has to be more to the exercise of, and learning in, the priesthood than just Scouting.

As the father of three sons, let me say that I appreciate your willingness to serve even though this isn't your favorite calling. THe Lord will bless you for your efforts even if the YM don't seem to appreciate or recognize them.

#37 MarginOfError

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:38 AM

They are volunteers. The leaders and boys scout because they are interested and love it. Our leaders and boys do it because they were called to do so or they turned twelve and are Aaronic Priesthood holders. I will never love scouting. I love the boys and do my best, but I could care less about knots, camping, and merit badges. I would much prefer to see the boys achieve their Duty to God then Eagle scout, and much of the culture of the church seems to have this backwards.

Nevertheless, I've been called to this position, the Lord knows me and my weaknesses, so I know I have much to learn and I'm here for a purpose. Perhaps in time my views regarding scouting will change. I just want a program that didn't divide the YM into groups. Scouting and non scouting. It doesn't mean to, but it does. If I try to do fun activities that don't involve scouting I hear "what does ultimate frisby, or dodge ball have to do with achieving merit badges." I just want to keep everyone involved, but I can't convince the boys that want nothing to do with scouts to come anyways and we'll have fun. And I can't blame them.


Have you taken any of the BSA training? From the way you talk about scouting, my guess is that you haven't. If scouting were all about knots, camping, and merit badges, then it would be entirely worthless for the Church. The reason scouting fits so well for the Church is that the purpose of scouting is to take boys and develop them into men with strong morals, leadership skills, and teaching skills. And 90% of the program should be run by the boys.

Camping is important to scouting only insomuch as the outdoors provide a great classroom in which boys can develop their leadership and teaching skills. Knots, first aid, cooking, and plant and animal life identification are merely skills on which boys can practice teaching others. The patrol method is employed to give structure to leadership.

Also, if you're focusing on merit badges, you're doing something wrong. In the troop I work with, we try very hard to get the boys advanced to First Class within the first year. After that, we encourage them to run for leadership positions, and that's it. We might offer four merit badge through the troop in the course of a year. And these merit badges require participation on nights other than troop meetings. They are typically eagle required merit badges that are in more of a class room setting, although sometimes we offer hiking or cycling.

Other than that, the boys are on their own to get as many or as few merit badges as they like. Most of our Eagle Scouts attain the rank between 16 and 18 years of age. Roughly 60% of the boys who make it to First Class go on to get their eagles.

It's a very successful program, and it's successful because it is run by the boys. They meet once a month on a Saturday to plan the next month's activities. If they decide they want to do a merit badge (we did cooking one month), then we make it happen. If they decide they want to focus on emergency first aid, that's what we do. Anytime the scoutmaster asks me, "do you think we ought to do X", I always say, "let's ask the boys at PLC."

So, I can't stress enough how important it is to take the BSA training (Outdoor Skills and Leader Specific Training are essential) and to get as many adults to take it as well. The more trained adults you have, the more people you'll see catching the vision, and the more successful your troop will be.

Also, try to get your boys to go to National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). It will make all the difference in the world.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#38 jayanna

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 06:23 PM

Okay, this might sound really weird, but my hbby was told, in a church training on the stake level, that the young mens' program is breaking away from scouts and becoming much more like the YW program, which is harder. Is this just a regional thing?

#39 gabelpa

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 05:09 AM

By someone at Wikipedia's reckoning, the LDS church accounts for 13% of the BSA's membership. I wonder what impact it would have if the Church withdrew support wholesale in this fashion?

#40 jayanna

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 06:25 AM

Actually at the meeting the numbers were significantly higher than that. I guess we'll just have to see as it unfolds. Maybe it is a regional thing, I'll post when I see a change.




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