How Bishoprics Should Extend Scout Callings

My Ward recently announced a split and overnight, I lost my “job”.  It was pretty hard that first weekend to think about all that we were planning and preparing for 2018 that changed in an instant!  We all knew this was coming but didn’t know exactly when… and this being my first time experiencing a split, you really don’t think about what that means or how the impact will be felt until it happens.

Lucky for me though, a week later, the new Bishopric called me to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past 8 years.  I was like “YEEEAAHHH” while my wife sat next to me in the Bishop’s office not nearly as excited.  All week long I was sweating the idea of ending up somewhere in the Elders Quorum or with the youth in a Sunday-only capacity that wouldn’t include outdoor adventurous responsibilities.  Nooooooo!!!!  My hope was to land somewhere, anywhere in Young Men’s since I can’t think of a better place to serve… even better that I get to continue with the age group that still formally supports scouting.

That said, I asked my Bishopric to be clear on the commitment level and expectations necessary as they pondered over my assistants.  Since they told me I’d be getting two, I know I wanted both to understand what each will be getting into before they accept.  Memories of past assistants saying “yes” to vague job descriptions came to mind.  Why doesn’t the church (or BSA) provide a 1-page outline of how to get started in scouting?  Men are just called into a position and wished “good luck”.  Is that what happens with Young Women leaders too?

With this opportunity to start over as a new Ward and new assignments in scouting, I wanted to see if we could improve upon that situation.  I asked my Bishopric to include these 3 hard copy hand-outs with every new calling to be extended in scouts:

  1. An overview of the Training requested, no required, by each new adult scout leader – this info was organized by a fellow scouter in the neighboring council to our south that does a phenomenal job with scouting in his area. I took his original version of this continuum and simplified it a tad for how I think training expectations should be presented to someone brand new to scouting.
  2. A copy of the article written by Charles Dahlquist about the importance of training. I specifically highlighted the two following statements from his writing:

    The reason why Scouting training is vital is that, by and large, we do a very poor job in training the leaders we call to Aaronic Priesthood/Young Men callings – and yet expect them to work miracles in the lives of their young men.”

     ”I know companies that don’t even allow a new employee to step into the plant or office until he has received initial training. They do that because they know that, without training, most individuals will be ineffective in the job they were hired to do. And yet, we call leaders to strengthen, motivate and prepare young men for missionary service and life in general – without one iota of training.”

  3. An official WoodBadge brochure (the one from our council is a nice 3-fold when they have it professionally printed).

I also requested this new Bishopric to follow up on these acceptance conditions and actually hold people accountable for completing this expected training.  In the eight years I’ve been involved with scouting in this Stake, I still can’t believe no one, and I mean NO ONE, keeps tracks (or even asks) who’s been trained and who has not.

Isn’t that something the Stake YM Presidency should care about??

You would think… but unfortunately, mine doesn’t.



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