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Vision 2020 Faculty and Participants

Vision 2020—a Philmont Training Course to assist in retention of Latter-day Saint families, leaders and youth desiring to continue their Scouting Adventure after December 31, 2019—was held in June at the Philmont Training Center near Cimarron, New Mexico. Over 40 participants and 130 family members attended the conference, which was sponsored during the religious week at Philmont.

“Our focus with Vision 2020 was to provide inspiration, training and information to those involved in helping retain youth, leaders and families who wish to continue in Scouting,” commented Mark Francis, Director of Latter-day Saint Scouting Relationships for the BSA. “It was exciting to watch these participants and the zeal they have for going back to their local councils and starting and supporting new units. We also focused on helping others in their local councils and districts learn how to start new units, recruit new charter partners, find locations to meet, retain youth and families currently in Latter-day Saint chartered units and recruit other Latter-day Saint families, youth and leaders.”

Participants attended from across the nation, including representatives from Anchorage, Alaska and Puerto Rico, and the course involved unit, district, and council leaders.

The week opened with a session on Latter-day Saint Scouting history and the 106-year partnership. “As Scouting for Church members moves from an institutional partnership to an individual choice, it’s valuable to understand the past and those who went before us,” taught Nettie Francis. “The past will never change, and as Latter-day Saints we enjoy a rich Scouting heritage. Let’s never forget that legacy.”

“Even though the Church partnership is ending, there will always be relationships between Latter-day Saints and the Scouting community,” shared Mark Francis. “We encourage BSA councils to continue to have Latter-day Saint Scouting committees and provide specific support and information as we move forward in 2020 and beyond.”

Charles Dahlquist, former BSA National Commissioner and former Young Men General President, directed the week.

National Commissioner Ellie Morrison
and former National Commissioner Charles Dahlquist

“It’s important that we not let down our expectations for those still desiring to continue their Scouting Adventure—now, during the transition period, as well as after December 31, 2019,” shared Brother Dahlquist. “While many youth are working to earn their Eagle before 2020, Scouting is about the experience and the growth. We want these awards to mean something to them. There are many Star and Life Scouts in the nation.  While they didn’t make it to Eagle, they still had their lives changed through Scouting.”

“As leaders of today’s Rising Generation, it is our obligation, opportunity and blessing to continue to provide a marvelous, fun and adventure-packed, character-building experience for ALL youth—those who are working to complete their Eagle before the end of the year and those who just want a fun, adventuresome program.  That is the guidance all leaders have received from the Brethren, and we need to be aware of the need to continue to feed and strengthen the youth during this critical transition time. If we do not, we will be responsible for those youth who not only left the program, but who became inactive during our period of ‘waiting for further direction.’” 

“We need to stay fully engaged during this transition period; and, in addition, BSA is committed to providing sufficient community units for those currently in Latter-day Saint units who desire to continue their Scouting experience after the end of 2019. ”

Families who attended enjoyed the PTC programs and other signature Philmont events during the week, including a Family Home Evening and Family Banner parade on Monday night and a Children’s Parade in conjunction with Western Night. They attended the seasonal Philmont Branch on Sunday and also had the opportunity to attend interreligious services with other faiths during the week.

“There were so many non-members at the Latter-day Saint religious service, and I had flashbacks to my mission,” shared Rachel Armstrong, attending with her family from St. George, Utah. “It’s important to be as inclusive as possible. I love learning about the other cultures and religious perspectives in Scouting because we’re all trying to do the same thing. It’s encouraging that families of many faiths can participate in Scouting and still accomplish their own religious traditions and customs.”

The course was held along with nine other trainings at Philmont and provided an inspiring opportunity for participants and families to mingle with religious people from many faiths. The United Methodist Church, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and the National Jewish Committee on Scouting also held training courses during the week.

Dr. Ken King, Nancy Farrell, Dennis Kampa, and Linda Vaughn all served on the Vision 2020 faculty.

“In the past, Latter-day Saints attended Philmont during their own week of conferences. One of the powerful aspects of Vision 2020 was the interaction of Scouting leaders and families with the other participants,” said Mark Francis. “There is a synergy in gathering Scouting ideas from many religious, civic, and educational chartered organizations.”

Representatives from three religious groups spoke to the Vision 2020 participants during their course.

Bruce Chudacoff

“Most Scouting units include youth and leaders from many religions,” explained Bruce Chudacoff, Chairman of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting. “What do we expect from these varied youth including Latter-day Saints who might join a Jewish troop? We would expect them to follow the Scout Oath and Law and be a Scout.”

A tremendous energy was felt among participants as they learned together and shared best practices for retaining youth after December 31, 2019. Classes included training on starting and governing Scouting units, recruiting families, involving parents, fundraising, and other traditional tools. Additionally, challenges and opportunities specific to Latter-day Saint Scouters were discussed.

“Those who act now in recruiting and starting new units will have the greatest influence in the lives of their local youth,” commented one participant.

Matt McIff, Scoutmaster from St. George, Utah shared, “This is an adventure first program, and it will be an adventure first program after 2019. When you put the emphasis on adventure and not on advancement, that’s when the youth will come and stay. In our troop, we focus first on adventure (and learning) and THEN on advancement.”

One morning of the course was dedicated entirely to the spiritual aspect of Scouting. Participants traveled to a beautiful outdoor location and heard from Charles Dahlquist, Mark Francis, and Chip Turner—former Religious Relationships Committee Chair. They also viewed a talk given by Elder S. Dilworth Young in General Conference in April 1975 entitled “Scouters: Lead them to a Mission.”

“Scouting isn’t about knot-tying,” shared Charles Dahlquist. “Baden-Powell knew that. And while skills are certainly critical in building youth, it’s the opportunities to bear testimony. The testimonies you bear in Scouting are through who you are and how you respond. This forthcoming change is an opportunity to strengthen youth like never before. We need leaders who are firmly grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

At the conclusion of the week the feelings of the participants were positive and energetic.

“I need all of my children to marry Eagle Scouts, so I hope we can stay strong and vigilant,” said Becky Nakagawa, from Colorado.

Her husband Robert, shared, “I want to be the catalyst back home. I want to take this message back and revolutionize Scouting. I know that the Duty to God aspect of Scouting is vital. I’m here because of the spiritual side of Scouting. Scouting brought me into the Church. We have a big job ahead of us, to share that vision with others.”

Andrew Monks from Oklahoma commented, “Everything good in my life I can trace back to my marriage, my mission, and being in Scouting. And I can trace my marriage and mission back to being an Eagle Scout. Sometimes it’s discouraging to hear the naysayers of Scouting, but it’s been great this week to see how many good Latter-day Saint Scouters there are in the Church.”

“I’ve seen the value of Scouting for many years,” said Art Slaughter from Texas. “I’m grateful to know there is still room for Scouting. Let’s go back and make it happen.”

“I wasn’t entirely sure what the future of Scouting would be after this year,” admitted James Hammer from Utah. “But this week gave me hope that it will still be a strong option for our children.”

Flag Ceremony Scouts

His wife, Mamie, added, “Being here at Philmont has given me a clear vision of Scouting moving forward. My blurry vision of the future is gone, and I have been reminded of the goodness and power of Scouting in blessing the lives of our young people. I’m excited for my boys to continue their adventure in 2020.”

Mike Ball from Utah shared, “I’m so grateful that I came. I was feeling discouraged and distraught and wondered how to help Scouting moving forward. I’m rejuvenated and excited now.”

His wife, Robin, added, “I started this course as a naysayer, but I’ve seen a change in myself throughout the week. I’m now excited to go forth with an enthusiasm for Scouting and to help my boys and those in our area.”

“I’ve been to lots of trainings and learned the basics of Scouting so I came to Philmont feeling like it was going to be another Wood Badge,” shared Ellen Townsend from Utah. “But I didn’t realize that I would also gain the courage and the confidence that I can actually go home and make a difference as we transition to community units.”

Mountain Trek Sisters
Mountain Trek Brother and Sister

“Just like the youth in the Philmont backcountry, we’ve been on a journey, on a trek for a long time,” shared Jim Huff from Texas. “But this chapter is coming to an end, and now we have the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to Scouting.”

“It’s important that we always remember the foundation of this organization,” concluded Mark Francis. “The strength of the BSA is doing our Duty to God. I believe that what we’re doing is in line with the Lord’s will. The world needs good organizations because young people connect in different ways. Scouting plays a critical role in the development of a young person and in the maturity of an adult.”

“My hat is off to all of you,” he continued. “I thank you for making the sacrifice of your time and money to come and be with us this week, and learn how we can provide a Scouting opportunity for all youth. Let’s go out and find lots of people to share this vision with.”

Patrick Sterrett – Assistant Chief Scout Executive, Charles & Zella Dahlquist, Chip & Sandy Turner, Mark & Nettie Francis at the Philmont Children’s Parade.

At the close of the course Charles Dahlquist shared, “Thanks to all of you for being here. It is an exciting time to be a Latter-day Saint!”

After relating a story about the impact a small bee can have on a cornfield, Brother Dahlquist counseled, “If one little bee can pollinate a field, imagine what our efforts can do! As we anticipate the introduction of this new worldwide Church initiative for children and youth, we fully support the Brethren and especially our beloved Prophet in this movement.  Scouting teaches that a Scout should do his duty to God—and that means being active in his denomination’s youth program—whether that be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Latter-day Saint.  And in the face of that new program, I feel certain that each of us and thousands of parents and Scouts will recognize that the Church initiative is not a program in competition with Scouting. There will be room for both for those who wish to continue their Scouting Adventure.”

Brother Dahlquist concluded with a three-part challenge. “It is our responsibility and blessing to ensure that current Scouts (and their families) understand their opportunity to continue their Scouting experience, that those youth AND THEIR SISTERS are invited to continue Scouting after 2019, and that there are sufficient units for those youth.”

“Our leaders have reassured us over the decades that Baden-Powell was inspired as he began the Scouting Movement—a fact that we know to be true,” he said. “That movement continues today to bless the lives of our youth across the world, including many Latter-day Saints who desire to continue Scouting after the end of the year.  Never in the history of this country have..

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Are we bailing water on a sinking ship?

I get asked questions like this all the time as an Assistant District Commissioner and as an admin for two social media pages for Latter-day Saint Scouting leaders.

My answer, of course, is a resounding, “No!”

In May 2018, the Church stated that we would, “remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting” until Dec. 31st, 2019.

This statement has power in it. We are not bailing water, we are to continuing to build character! Building is much different than bailing.

We have been given our assignment. Our work–which will never stop–is to raise boys into amazing men.

Let’s each of us recommit ourselves to this goal by setting the example for those around us who may be floundering and who are focusing on bailing rather than building.

There are boys who need quality activities, parents who need Boards of Review to happen and boys with a Life rank that are so close to the great accomplishment of earning their Eagle Scout award.

Do we want to be that leader who turned their back on these boys in the 11th hour?

Not me! As for me and my house we will serve the Lord however and where ever he calls us to go!

During my Scouting service I have suffered both a brain tumor and two aneurysms. Even during my difficult health issues I have found joy in my Scouting service.

I will show the Lord that I can be entrusted with these souls who have value beyond earthly measure.

Who knows how long each of us has on this earth? I am glad that I have a legacy of helping youth along the trail.

I invite you to join me in building–not bailing–as Latter-day Saint Scouters in the 4th watch upon the tower!!

-Submitted by Roseanne Service
Assistant District Commissioner, Agave District, Grand Canyon Council

The post Still Scouting: Bailing or Building? appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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Are we bailing water on a sinking ship?

I get asked questions like this all the time as an Assistant District Commissioner and as an admin for two social media pages for Latter-day Saint Scouting leaders.
My answer, of course, is a resounding, “No!”
In May 2018, the Church stated that we would, “remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting” until Dec. 31st, 2019.
This statement has power in it. We are not bailing water, we are to continuing to build character! Building is much different than bailing.
We have been given our assignment. Our work–which will never stop–is to raise boys into amazing men.
Let’s each of us recommit ourselves to this goal by setting the example for those around us who may be floundering and who are focusing on bailing rather than building.
There are boys who need quality activities, parents who need Boards of Review to happen and boys with a Life rank that are so close to the great accomplishment of earning their Eagle Scout award.
Do we want to be that leader who turned their back on these boys in the 11th hour?
Not me! As for me and my house we will serve the Lord however and where ever he calls us to go!
During my Scouting service I have suffered both a brain tumor and two aneurysms. Even during my difficult health issues I have found joy in my Scouting service.
I will show the Lord that I can be entrusted with these souls who have value beyond earthly measure.
Who knows how long each of us has on this earth? I am glad that I have a legacy of helping youth along the trail.
I invite you to join me in building–not bailing–as Latter-day Saint Scouters in the 4th watch upon the tower!!
-Submitted by Roseanne Service
Assistant District Commissioner, Agave District, Grand Canyon Council

The post Still Scouting: Bailing or Building? appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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In Matthew 13:33, Jesus teaches that “the kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

When I was a teenager, I once made a batch of cookies.  Lacking experience I didn’t realize that there was a problem with the baking soda.  It was very lumpy!  I made the cookies as I always did, and they looked and smelled delicious.  But when I bit into the first beautiful cookie, I discovered my mistake.  Whenever I encountered a lump of baking soda the most dreadful taste would overwhelm the delicious cookie-ness and the whole batch was ruined!

The lesson I learned was obvious: Leaven doesn’t work when it all ends up in a lump.  Rather, leaven works best when it is evenly distributed throughout the dough. 

As followers of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to be actively engaged in our communities.  When we clump together—only associating with members of our own congregations, only participating in activities sponsored by our own church—we miss valuable opportunities to be the leaven that the world so desperately needs. Furthermore, we often sadly strengthen the stereotypes that Christians are judgmental and clannish.

Throughout my life I have come to feel that the real reason we tend to stick together as Church members is because it is easier.  Too often we are timid or afraid to put ourselves in “out of church” situations for fear of uncomfortableness or ridicule.

It’s easy to make friends at church but (at least for me) much more difficult in other settings. I struggle to make conversation with strangers or move a relationship from “co-workers” to “friends.”

In December of this year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will end its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America.  When I heard about this change I was shocked.  Our family has been involved in our Latter-day Saint Scout troop since our oldest son was a toddler.  My husband and I have served in a variety of callings in our ward including Scoutmaster, committee member, committee chair, den leader, and commissioner.  For us, Scouting in the Church has been a wonderful and natural way to reach out into our community.  Just by showing up to Roundtable and other meetings and training opportunities, I have built relationships with some amazing people—people who share many of the same values and goals that I do; people who are passionate about service and youth, and people who are not afraid to have fun.

After the Church announcement, we discussed the future of Scouting in our family and the impact of no longer having a Latter-day Saint unit to attend after this year. We also considered our desires for our children, and the natural outcomes of still being involved in Scouting.

Specifically, we discussed:

1) the current and future needs of our children

2) the current and future time commitment for our family

3) the current and future opportunity that Scouting still offers us to be involved in our community.

We concluded that in response to the needs of our children, we most certainly DO want what Scouting has to offer for both our girls and our boys. Mainly, character and leadership development as well as adventure and friendship—even after our Latter-day Saint troop has ended.

In response to the time commitment of Scouting involvement, we decided that we are already putting in that time in our currently Church-chartered troop and pack, so transferring those hours to a community pack and troop at the end of this year would be the same.

And finally, we desire to be leaven in our community.  Our Church family is so wonderful and important to us, but we (our family and our Church) are part of a community.  There are people all around us who need the love, service, friendship, and leadership that Scouting can help provide.  By participating in the Boy Scouts of America we can bless the lives of so many people, young and old alike.  We believe it is always in everyone’s best interest when more of the youth in our communities learn to make “moral and ethical choices throughout their lives.”

In conclusion, whether your family chooses to continue in Scouting after this year or searches out other community opportunities that better fit your interests and needs, I invite you to remember that the Lord has commanded us to be leaven; and, though we are few in number, we can have an uplifting influence on the world around us when we reach out and participate in our communities.

~Contributed by Bernice H. Oliver

Sister Oliver currently serves as a Wolf Den leader and an adult Sunday School teacher in the Wyoming Ward, Grand Rapids Michigan Stake

The post Still Scouting: Thoughts from a Michigan Family appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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I have recently had the opportunity to serve as a Scoutmaster in a local troop.

Once again, I am so impressed and encouraged by the SKILLS that youth learn through Scouting. As I interact with the Scouts in my troop, I am constantly observing SKILLS that they are required to use in their Scouting activities.

Let me list just a few:

-Knot tying

-Fire building

-Orienteering – map and compass skills

-Outdoor cooking

-Camping

-Hiking

-Record keeping

-Completing tasks and assignments

-Learning about our communities, nation, and world

-Duty to God and Country

-Respect for adults

-Respect for peers

-Kindness

-Returning and reporting

-Writing

-Service

In today’s age of “how do you feel” and “what do you want to do?” it is encouraging that there is an organization that still has “requirements” which stretch boys above and beyond their own personal whims.

There is value in asking youth to perform difficult tasks and to stay on task until they reach an end and finish it.

I am a product of Scouting. Much of who I am today developed because I was required to camp in the snow, tie difficult knots, hike tall mountains, and swim through cold lakes. I was required to keep records, call merit badge counselors, finish products, and complete tasks.

These requirements taught me skills, and these Scouting skills are indispensable in my life, even today. 

Thank you, Scouting, for instilling character, fitness, leadership, and citizenship in America’s youth–and, for teaching valuable skills to enhance their lives.

I’m Still Scouting.  Are you?

~Mark R. Francis has served as the LDS-BSA Relationships Director for the Boy Scouts of America since 2012.

The post A Minute With Mark: Scouting Skills appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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Friends we are, and friends we’ll ever be.

The words of this familiar Scout song—often sung at the close of a campfire—echo the future of the LDS-BSA Relationship. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said during his remarks at the May 2018 National Annual Meeting, “This is not a divorce. We are friends now and we will be friends forever.”

The powerful relationship between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America spans over a century, but the organizations will soon change from “partners” to “friends.” How will that friendship look?

Many elements of the new relationship will unfold in the coming year as key Church and BSA leaders work out the details. Regardless of how things develop on a national scale, however, what should our future friendship look like on a personal level?

Fully engaged

As an employee of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I often reflect on the term used in the May 8, 2018 announcement: “fully engaged”. (Read the announcement here.) During our final year of partnership Church members have been asked to be fully engaged in Scouting within our ward units.

This request seems reasonable and clear. Stay involved. Work on rank advancements. Attend activities. Follow the guidelines of the BSA including completing Youth Protection Training, registering incoming youth, wearing uniforms, and attending council and district events and camps. In my opinion, these activities are a simple demonstration of an “engaged” attitude.

Above and beyond the obvious, however, there are two additional ways I suggest staying “fully engaged.”

First, think outside the box—your box.

Consider your local council’s FOS campaign. This annual financial drive is aptly named Friends of Scouting. It may be easy to digress to the attitude that “since Scouting in the Church is going away, we no longer need to support FOS.” But just because the Church is not chartering BSA units doesn’t mean we want Scouting to fail. Remember, we are still “friends.”

Even when we aren’t officially partnered with an organization—or directly affected by it—we can still be charitable and kind. In fact, both the Church and the BSA have set a standard of serving beyond their own boundaries. The Church freely donates monies and items to many charities around the world. The BSA blesses others through the numerous Eagle projects performed by Scouts each year. In fact—by requirement—an Eagle project must help an entity outside of the BSA.

Charity is by definition thinking outside of our box. That’s what giving is. That’s what friends do.

We are often quick to support needy people around the world suffering from the devastating effects of hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other disasters. What about neighborhood boys who are struggling with digital addictions, loss of fatherly influence, and lack of real physical activity in their lives? The BSA is addressing all these catastrophes in our society, and I believe they deserve our support as well—whether or not we are directly involved.

Last week a young man in my own ward completed his Eagle project. It was gratifying to see the incredible support he received as he collected donations for children in Africa. This Scout’s efforts will be directly noticed by those children who receive the gifts overseas, and indirectly felt by our local families who gathered the items.

As Shakespeare wrote, “The quality of mercy is not strained… It is twice blest. It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

When the BSA council shows up at your door inviting you to be a “friend” of Scouting, I suggest you smile, be a friend, and consider blessing the lives of local youth—even if your own son is not one of them.

Again, think outside the box. Your box.

Second, Be kind.

The LDS-BSA partnership is changing, but we can still benefit by looking back at the patterns and prophets of the Church. We find support for Scouting through quotes, actions, and involvement from every prophet from Joseph F. Smith through Thomas S. Monson. It is hard to imagine that all of those prophets—now watching this transition from the other side of the veil—would want us to suddenly cast off our friends.

On the contrary, they would (I believe) hope and anticipate that this transition happens positively, with real support of our good Scouting counterparts; understanding that the Church must move on, but continuing as friends in our communities side by side. As the song from the musical Oklahoma! states, “The farmer and the cowboy should be friends.”

The LDS-BSA partnership has been a glorious 105 years. Millions of lives—both members and non-members—have been blessed. Let’s conclude this incredible legacy by ending on a positive note. We can affect these attitudes in our neighborhoods and wards.

Speak positively about the Boy Scouts of America and their programs. Thank former leaders who have dedicated so much. And, if you choose, continue to be involved in a community unit, providing Scouting opportunities for other young people around you. At the same time, I invite BSA employees to be kind as well when interacting with Church members and leaders.

I am personally grateful for the LDS-BSA relationship. I often reflect on the many missionaries and fathers who have been strengthened and taught through Scouting activities. I am grateful for the experiences my own sons have had because of Scouting in the Church. Additionally, one of the greatest benefits of Scouting I have observed is bringing together good people of many faiths in an effort to strengthen the youth of America. My hope is that Scouting will continue to bless many lives in the coming decades.

I invite us all to move forward supporting, strengthening and working side by side with our BSA neighbors as together we prepare the world for the Second Coming.

I pray that—as the song predicts—Scouting friends we’ll always be throughout eternity.

~Mark R. Francis has served as LDS-BSA Relationships Director for the Boy Scouts of America since 2012.

The post A Minute with Mark: Scouting Friends appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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I’m a new Bear Den leader…and I LOVE IT! Cub Scouting is so much fun!

At first, I was hesitant.

“Why should I volunteer?” I wondered. After all, I’m a busy mom with ten children, I teach preschool, my husband is busy with his job, and I was already a Scout leader 20 years ago. (Yep! Been there, done that.) Haven’t I sufficiently paid my dues?

Still, my son is 9 years old, so I accepted the invitation to lead his Cub Scout den. And I have NO regrets. In fact, I highly recommend that any busy parent consider getting involved in Scouting.

Here’s why:

First, Cub Scouts is a quality program. Available resources make the life of a leader easy. Let me illustrate with what I call the “Six C’s of Cubbing.”

Before my first den meeting I had butterflies in my stomach. What was a Mama supposed to do with 8 busy boys for an hour?

My husband suggested I read my new Bear Handbook, so I did. Tentatively, I cracked open the spine, peeled back the fresh pages and…VOILA! I immediately found a fun activity I could do with the boys. I turned another page…VOILA! Another simple activity. I kept turning pages and discovered that the entire book was filled with pictures, ideas, and easy activities that boys LOVE! Thankfully, I realized that I didn’t need to start from scratch—everything was already laid out for me. Opening the Bear Book was like discovering a gold mine!

There is so much CONTENT in Cubbing. The research and planning have already been done for busy leaders like me. Cub Scouts is a tried and true program that works!

Within a few minutes of reading the handbook I had so many ideas that I had to take out a pen and paper and scribble notes to keep track of what we would be doing each week. Which leads me to my second tip…

CALENDAR. It was easy to create a schedule of activities for the next three months. I soon had a clear idea of what the boys and I needed to accomplish. After writing my plans on a calendar I felt confident that I could lead a Cub Scout den, help the boys pass off requirements, and advance at a good pace through their Bear Books.

A calendar makes my life simple because I don’t need to reinvent the wheel each week. Instead, I glance at my plan, put a few finishing touches on the details, and I am prepared for a quality meeting the boys will love. CALENDARING is vital to successful Scouting.

Once I had a plan in place, I COMMUNICATED with my parents. An introductory email, with my calendar attached, let them know I was serious about meeting with the boys and would make it worth their time and mine. After all, we have lots of choices in our children’s extra curricular activities and I don’t want to waste precious afternoons. I also send a brief follow-up email each week as a simple reminder. Scouting is Fun with a Purpose. Make it worthwhile, too.

Next, I invited my parents to CONTRIBUTE to our den. A simple request for one parent to attend each week immediately introduced me to which parents were available to help. In fact, all of my parents were happy to oblige. It’s fun to have them there to see what we are doing. And let’s face it, going to one den meeting every few months to assist is a small price to pay for quality Cub Scouting.

Also, inviting parents to contribute lightened my load. I didn’t have to be a ringmaster every week, creating a bigger and better show. Instead, I’m drawing on the talents of the parents. They have so much to offer! Someone else is handling the woodworking, someone else is arranging the tours, someone else is reaching out to Veterans. It’s amazing what happens when each family lifts a little. Scouting is all about synergy.

Once I started my meetings, I stayed CONSISTENT. Even when it wasn’t entirely perfect for my family or someone else, I did my best to keep our meetings at the same time and in the same place. I’ve found that meeting consistently helps the boys and parents trust that we are really doing Cub Scouting and, again, this will be worth their time.

Finally, my all-time favorite part of Scouting is the opportunity to CONNECT with good families in our community. Scouting is a natural draw for people who believe in and honor God, Family, and Country. It is a safe place for youth to be taught and grow together in character, fitness, citizenship and leadership.

It’s now been a month since I started this round of Scouting. To anyone considering involvement, let me review what I’ve learned:

  • Scouting is a quality program chock full of CONTENT that is already outlined in an easy format (just open a handbook and see…)
  • Make a CALENDAR for the next few months.
  • COMMUNICATE regularly with your parents and share your calendar with them.
  • Invite every Scouting family to CONTRIBUTE something to your den.
  • Stay CONSISTENT with weekly and monthly meetings and activities.
  • And finally, enjoy the CONNECTIONS that come through Scouting.

I’ve recommitted as a parent to be involved in the greatest youth-serving organization in our nation—and from one busy parent to another, I invite you to do the same!

I’m a busy mom, I’m a Cub Scout Den Leader, and I LOVE it!

~Nettie H. Francis is a new Cub Scout Bear Den leader. She is also a mother to ten wonderful children. Seven of her children are currently involved in Scouting.

The post The Six C’s of Cubbing (According to a busy Mom) appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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Have you ever wanted to take your family to Philmont Scout Ranch? This summer is your chance!

Vision 2020 - YouTube

Come to Vision 2020, a unique opportunity for Latter-day Saint families to attend the Philmont Training Center together and learn the skills necessary to continue Scouting! This exciting new Philmont course is a catalyst for increased knowledge and energy among the Scouting community and will set the groundwork for important membership development as Latter-day Saint families transfer to new units in 2020.

This inaugural week at Philmont will provide specific support, training, and information to help Latter-day Saint Scouting families find a new charter organization, start a Scouting unit, organize a committee, recruit youth, train adult and youth leaders, fund raise, develop an annual plan, and learn other skills necessary to continue Scouting with energy, increased knowledge, and optimism in 2020.

Come enjoy the trademark family events of Philmont: spouse activities, children age-groups, youth mountain trek, family hiking, western night, children’s parade, family dancing, campfires, and so much more! A memorable family vacation that will jumpstart a new Scouting legacy in 2020.

Dates: Saturday, June 15th – Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 Registration Click Here.

Bring the whole family for a unique and exciting Philmont experience!

(The Vision 2020 conference is sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America.)

The post Vision 2020: A New Philmont Opportunity For Latter-day Saint Families appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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Queen Creek Stake Primary Presidency at a Stake Camporee: Yvette Rasmussen, Roseanne Service, Stacie Cliff, and Michelle Solomon.

Hi! My name is Roseanne Service. Yes, I’m literally “Sister Service!” I live in the Arizona Queen Creek Stake; the BSA Grand Canyon Council Agave District.

A few years ago I was serving as the Primary president in my ward. At first I wasn’t exactly sure what my eleven-year-old son was supposed to be doing in Scouting! I vaguely remembered being told something about parents “not being as involved in Boy Scouts” as they were in Cub Scouts. At first, I thought that meant be “uninvolved.” However, I soon discovered that there were still LOADS of ways I could be involved in my son’s Scouting adventure!

Here are a few examples of ways I became involved in our Boy Scout troop:
-I took my son to merit badge clinics
-I received training and became a merit badge counselor
-I helped teach at merit badge clinics
-I began to support our Scout troop and would even call to ask the Scoutmaster if he had any specific needs I could help with.
-I served on our ward troop committee

Because of my determination to learn more about the Scouting program, I now teach a Roundtable class for Primary presidencies each month. Serving in Scouting also opened the door for me to do public speaking. And, I manage two national Facebook support pages for LDS Eleven-Year-Old leaders and LDS Scouting Leaders. It’s fun!

The experiences I had through “becoming involved” were very helpful when I was eventually called to be the stake Primary president. Later, I served again in a brand new stake as the 1st counselor in the stake Primary.

My determination to “be involved and engaged” was not only a help to me in my callings, but was also a tremendous blessing to my three sons as well.

Looking back, I don’t believe we should leave it to others to understand and manage a program that our own son is involved in. Instead, we as mothers can do SO MUCH to understand, be involved in, lift ,and support the Scouting program.

~Roseanne Service is currently an Assistant District Commissioner in the Grand Canyon Council. She has been to Wood Badge and helps teach Trainer’s Edge and Baden Powell University classes.

The post Be Involved and Engaged! – A Message from Sister Service appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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The value of Scouting is OUTING. There is no way around this simple truth. When a boy gets out into the world—on an adventure—he experiences GROWTH, real growth that doesn’t necessarily happen sitting in a classroom.

The most successful units go on outings every month. This doesn’t mean that all leaders and all boys go every month. This means that leaders alternate when necessary to accommodate their work and family schedules. This means that boys go when they can. But the opportunity to adventure every month is always there.

Outings work wonders on youth, and the evidence is all around us. When boys are away from technology and the noise of the world they can experience sacred space. Fresh air should never be underestimated.

I had the opportunity to experience outdoor adventure with my wife this summer in Skagway, Alaska; the doorway to the famed Yukon Territory. This tiny town sits along the coast below breathtaking mountaintops and glaciers. Surprisingly, we had two encounters with Scouting in Skagway.

While shopping in one of the many tourist stores, I took my wallet out of my backpack to pay for our items.

“You’re a Scout,” said the young cashier immediately. “I see the symbol on your backpack.” And then the inevitable, “I’m an Eagle Scout.” He was proud to tell us of the good Scouting experience he had had as a youth. In fact, he gave us a bonus discount on our purchase as well!

Later that day we had still another encounter as we rode the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad up into the Yukon Territory. This historic railway was built in 1898 to aid in the Alaskan Gold Rush. Before the railway, potential miners traveled over 20 treacherous miles through the narrow White Pass, an elevation climb of almost 3000 feet. They traversed the pass with packhorses, backpacks, and whatever means they could find to bring their goods up into the Yukon and search for gold. It was a perilous and adventurous time.

Thankfully, the ingenuity and grit of determined men inspired the building of the railroad. Once completed, goods and people could be much more easily transported through the White Pass and up into Canada.

My wife and I rode this historic train up into the White Pass for 20 miles. The old train cars, glaciers, waterfalls, blooming Wildfire flowers, and majestic waterfalls and views made our trip unforgettable.

After reaching the top and stopping for a time in Canada, the train made its way back down the canyon. The conductor, passing through the cars, stopped and started up a friendly conversation with us. We asked about his background and he in turn asked where we were from and what I did for a living.

“I work for the Boy Scouts of America,” came the reply. Without hesitation this conductor immediately straightened, and with an air of respect said, “I was a Boy Scout.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I was raised in Florida, in the city, and joined a Scout troop.” He explained. “We were a very poor downtown troop. We didn’t even have uniforms at first. But what Scouting did for our troop was tremendous. Our leaders got us out of the city into the outdoors. They taught us to fish, camp, and hike. It was life changing for me. In fact, Scouting is partly what brought me here to Alaska.” He shared with us that he had been an Alaskan resident now for over 30 years and thoroughly loved his life in the beautiful wilderness of the state.

“Principles I learned in Scouting I still practice today,” he said. “The buddy system, good outdoor skills, how to survive in the wild—those are all part of my life even now.”

We were surprised and awed by his sudden and wonderful tribute to Scouting. There, on an old train, in the wilds of Alaska, was a gentleman who had been touched and changed by Scouting.

My favorite thing about the Boy Scouts of America is that our involvement invites instant friendships and connections with people in the most unexpected situations. You never know when or where you will meet a Scout. But chances are, Scouts will turn up in good places and be doing good things. They will still remember good leaders, good principles and good activities that shaped their lives years ago, and they will be grateful for what they experienced as a youth.

I will always remember the Scout I met in the remote White Pass of the Yukon Territory.

~Mark R. Francis has served as the director of LDS-BSA Relationships since 2013. In his next life he hopes to be a train conductor.

The post A Minute with Mark: Scouting in Skagway appeared first on LDS-BSA Relationships.

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