Monday, May 15, 2017

The Parable of the Wood Shop

A certain man gave his servant a fully equipped workshop to teach his apprentices. There was a table saw, jointer, brushless drill and impact driver, nailer, router with a full complement of bits, laser-guided miter saw, and more. Whenever a newer, better tool was introduced to the market, the master would add it to the shop.

The servant knew that these tools could be very effective to make what the master needed, but was intimidated by the owners manuals, and so he made everything with his rusty old hammer, dull hand saw and slotted screwdriver.

Eventually the servant retired and his apprentice, knowing only what he'd been shown, used the old dilapidated tools, while the workshop sat empty and unproductive. The state-of-the-art tools went unused, except for the occasional new apprentice who, wondering at the capabilities of the shop, read the manuals and produced beautiful furniture, but was looked down upon by his colleagues for "trying too hard."

This cycle continued for several years, until the master, saddened that his resources went largely unused, finally repossessed the workshop and sold all the tools on craigslist.

And so the servant's successors wondered and marveled at their competitors' superior products (when they finally went outside to look), while grumpily repairing the old hammer again.

* * * * *
I didn't think I'd revisit the topic of the loss of Varsity Scouting and Venturing in the LDS Church, but this little story just wrote itself.

Prepared. | For Life.™

Friday, May 12, 2017

Church to drop Varsity, Venturing

Yesterday, the LDS Church announced that effective January 1, 2018, it would no longer participate in Varsity Scouting and Venturing. I've had a day to think about it, and I think it's a sad acknowledgement that no amount of prompting, goading or prodding will ever change the status quo. I'm not going to go into any detail, or offer any explanations for it *cough cough training cough cough*; that can be found in these pages and in other places. I will, however, rewrite the headline so as to explain exactly what has happened and why:

Authorities Amputate Aaron's Atrophied Activity Arm;
Aaron Oblivious

Seriously, 95% of boys will not notice that anything has happened. Which is why this has happened.  This is sad.  I wish them luck in the new program that looks a lot like the old program, but without any of the resources they used to have.

One final comment, and then I am done with this soapbox: One of the points brought out in the press release is the disparity in budget and resources between YM and YW programs - something I have mentioned once or twice here. Parity will now be achieved, not by providing more resources to those who have been consistently short-changed, but by taking the resources of those who had, but failed to use, them. Sounds like the parable of the talents has taken effect. (And yes, I recognize that the budget for merit badges alone is immense, and that's not going away. Yet.)

Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Be careful out there

Recent research shows that about 84% of wildfires in the US are human-caused. All the rain and snow this winter translates to lots of fuel growth this spring, and huge burn potential throughout the year.

A DC7 drops a load of retardant in Millard County, UT, 1994
© Eric Larson


Prepared. | For Life.™

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On being prepared

Lord Baden-Powell once responded to an inquiry of what one should be prepared for with, "Why, for any old thing!" It seems this man takes that counsel to heart.

Prepared. | For Life.™