Monday, February 23, 2009

Go To Wood Badge

I wasn't involved in scouting outside of helping with my sons Webelos Den in 2007 when my church leader challenged all other church leaders and leaders working in our young men's program to go to Wood Badge. Our congregation didn't even have any boys involved in Scouting at that time. They were of scouting age, but the troop in our town had gone dormant due to lack of leadership.

I was reluctant, but felt impressed to heed the challenge from my leaders - and to steal from Robert Frost, "that has made all the difference". I'm now up to my eyeballs in scouting again, and have caught the vision of why scouting is so important to the success of young men in my church, and in the community. Now that I'm a church leader and have immediate stewardship for the Young Men - not just in my congregation, but my congregation's boundaries, I find my activity in scouting to be a major missionary tool not just for young men, but in the community. And leaders have to attend that training to catch that vision.

. INSTEAD OF WORRYING ABOUT ONE PERSON FROM A WARD AND TWO PERSONS FROM A STAKE ATTENDING WOOD BADGE -- WHY DON’T WE JUST COMMIT TO GET EVERY LEADER TRAINED, INCLUDING FAST START, YOUTH PROTECTION, BASIC TRAINING AND WOOD BADGE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEY ARE CALLED. Once a priesthood leader makes that type of an investment in the training of a leader, he will be less likely to release him after 6 months of faithful service -- but will leave him in long enough to have a positive effect in the life of a boy. - Dahlquist

In my church I believe we sometimes miss some of power of the scouting program when we isolate ourselves from activities and opportunities in the district and council. While I think an religion specific Wood Badge session (being contemplated by some scouters in my church) would be a powerful experience, I think it would short-change not only the brethren involved, but also those the might interact with at a council sponsored course for all attendees.

As one leader mentioned, we still held our Sunday church services at camp - but more importantly I met a fellow-scouter that has become a life-long friend and I never would have met him had I not been at Wood Badge.

Working my ticket, and earning my beads was just the foundation to this new journey I'm on in scouting. When I feel like I'm in too deep, and feel like maybe I need to step back and focus on other things, I am strongly reminded that this is where I need to be right now, so I keep digging. When I went to Wood Badge, I never thought I'd be a Scoutmaster, or "worse" leading the Council's Jamboree Troop to the National Jamboree. But the experiences, contacts, and opportunities have been staggering.

We have powerful opportunities to share our talents and influence the lives of others in the scouting program, and I'd like to encourage brethren in scouting callings in their church to engage with their district and council in any way possible so that they can see the power of scouting work for their young men, and those they meet. This starts with getting as much training as possible, but also includes attending district camporees, roundtables, dinners, committees and any other activities we can help support.

I'd also suggest that we need to do a better job of engaging volunteer scouters even if their calling isn't to serve with the Young Men in our church. I "fell away" from scouting after I turned 18 because I never had a calling to work with the Young Men in our church. This is one place we can improve in the church because you don't have to be in a "calling" to serve on the troop committee, or as a MB counselor, or an Assistant Scoutmaster etc. It requires a different mindset - but opportunities to support scouting should be encouraged.

I don't consider myself a great scouter, and much of the scouting program doesn't appeal to me personally (Skits, rambunctious activities) but if I am one thing, that is converted to inspired nature of the scouting program. So I'll evangelize it at any opportunity I get.

Thanks for listening to my Scouting-Impassioned Rambling,


flaxin said...

Dear LDS scout, I really enjoyed your comments and point of view and couldn't agree more. LDS scouters are shortchanged when they take isolated training courses. Also, you don't have to love the rambunctiousness or skits, the boys do! It's all about what the boys like to do (that is healthy for them) and the skits and songs REALLY HELP the shy boys come out of their shell and be better public speakers in college and their carriers.



Rens said...

Yes I do believe Scouting has helped me in life. Even if you don't feel you are the "best" every little bit helps and does matter to these boys and young men.


Karen604 said...

I have had my Beads for about 6 years now. I greatly enjoyed taking a mixed religion course. It is always interesting to see how one's religion shows in a week long course such as this. The one thing that I am sure of is that Wood Badgers are a passionate folk about family, religion and scouting. My husband received his Beads a in 2004. What we have taken from this course is about what we can give back to both scouting and our community.

Hope to see you all at Philmont for Geocaching and Scouting this summer.

YIS Antelope W5-61-03-25,