Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Can't read, won't read

Mark Twain, as quoted in my stake conference on Sunday:  "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read."

If I may indulge a paraphrase, those who won't get training are no better off than those who can't get training, excuses notwithstanding

Summer Reading

Are you curious about what Wood Badge is all about? Read the current LDS-BSA Relations newsletter, starting on Page 6, for a great explanation.

Then read the rest to learn about LDS and BSA summer safety initiatives and how Scouting opens doors.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Sunday I took my family and some friends up the mountainside for an unobstructed view (except for clouds) of the solar eclipse. I had wanted to go a bit further south to see the actual ring of fire, but circumstances being what they are, settled for this. It was great anyway.

I've posted some images I made of the event, and programmed the total eclipse of 2017 into my Outlook calendar. I'm thinking Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho would be a very appropriate location to watch it.

Heavenly Bodies

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The New, New Green Book

On May 10th, there was a General Young Men Leadership Training broadcast in which a new, new “Green Book” was introduced. I haven't seen the training (I'm a Primary guy, after all), but I’ve looked over the new manual and here are the changes (all in the first two pages, except for the last one):
  • Sections and paragraphs numbered for easy reference 
  • Referenced materials are hyper-linked, useful if you’re reading it online, especially for accessing training. 
  • Sec. 2.0, Training and Development added the following statement: “adult leaders are considered trained when they complete the following training:” YPT, Leader-Specific Training, Intro to Outdoor Leadership Skills, and Troop Committee Challenge (new in this version) were then listed, with hyper links where appropriate. Gone are references to “Fast Start” and “This is Scouting.” The section as a whole more clearly implies an expectation that those called and set apart - at all levels - will get the necessary training as a part of their service (training beyond those listed would probably be considered magnification).
  • Para. 2.2, Priesthood Leadership Conference (Philmont for Stake Presidents) was moved to the end of the section for emphasis.
  • Sec. 2.4, LDS-BSA Relationships Committee changes the language from BSA Councils to Coordinating Councils as the entity which each LDS-BSA committee works. 
  • Sec. 3.1, Stake Presidency was reworded to make the entire presidency – not just a counselor – responsible for the organization and functioning of ward Scout Troops. 
  • Sec. 3.3, Stake Young Men Presidency emphasizes Troops, Teams and Crews, as opposed to Troop-centric Scouting (the done-with-scouting-at-14 model). Also a paragraph was added about the SYMP receiving appropriate training, participation at roundtables, and building relations with the local BSA district. 
  • Sec. 8.13, Funding Scouting added more Handbook 2 references, and the following: “Commercially produced or packaged goods or services should not be sold.” 
It's mostly clarifications and updating to conform to current BSA literature/policy, but at the same time, there's a pretty strong training bent to it all.  I feel that it more clearly shows that BSA governs Scouting, and the Church has some MINOR adaptations mostly dealing with how Scouting, done properly, serves and provides a robust developmental program for LDS boys and young men, ages 8-18.  For example, the Aaronic Priesthood section (Sec. 5) is still just five paragraphs long. This is a pretty good indication that the Green Book expects those serving in such capacity to go to the BSA materials as the authoritative source to learn how to run their respective programs. The Green Book describes how to run the program within Church strictures, but expects you to do some anxious engaging of your own.

New link

Added a new link to Scout-O-Rama.com on the links page.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Conservation as Stewardship

Tenth in a series of ward Scouter Training topics

Conservation: a careful preservation and protection of something; especially: planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect1

Stewardship: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care <stewardship of natural resources>2

Every time we venture out, the natural world has been entrusted to us. We owe it to those who succeed us to give them the same experience we enjoyed. Both of these lofty words imply accountability for one’s actions in relation to one’s responsibilities and resources, and toward society at large. The Parable of the Talents is a great illustration: Three servants were entrusted with certain responsibilities; those who lived up to the expectations could take pleasure in knowing they had done their best, the one who did not lived in fear of being found out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Three down, two nearly done

One year ago, I completed Wood Badge training, the BSA's premier adult leadership training program.  I have often compared this experience with going through the Missionary Training Center all over again; it was on a similar spiritual plane (some may think that a blasphemous statement). Like the MTC, it's something you have to experience to understand.  It was a privilege to work and learn with so many bishopric and stake presidency members, primary leaders, high councilors and young men presidency members, Scouters all and many reluctantly so, from around the state. (Yes, it was a Utah/LDS course; there was one non-LDS participant in the room.)

As part of that training, I committed to completing five leadership projects aimed at bettering myself as a Scouter and improving the experience for the boys I work with. I have completed three and am very close to wrapping up the last two. See the Ward Scouter Training tab above for summaries of four of the projects.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lead by Example

So, my son recently moved from the 11YO patrol to the “big Scouts” and became the patrol leader to boot. We’re getting ready for the Spring Camporee this weekend, and were heading to the Troop meeting (Since we have only one 11YO now, he’s ‘adopted in’ to one of the big troop patrols for this one). I told B to get ready, get his uniform, etc. and he said that no one wears their uniform, and he didn’t want to be the odd man out.

This provided an opportunity to discuss leadership with him – how leaders often have to take an unpopular position, because it’s the right one. (It's the reason I bought Scout pants - to show a proper example, and ya know what? They've kind of grown on me.) He seemed to understand, and apart from the 11YO patrol, was the only one in uniform last night. The discussion turned to proper attire for various aspects of life: Don’t you wear a ‘uniform’ in your Sunday duties? Why? Your Scout uniform is a lot like that. It helps you look the part, sets you apart from the crowd, makes you think differently of yourself. Others think differently of you as well. (It's harder not to lecture to your own son than it is to a group of boys, but I think I did OK.)

He and I discussed solutions, including a troop t-shirt for regular meetings and camps, that he could take to the SPL and the Scoutmaster. It became a hot topic of discussion at that very Troop meeting, as everyone shouted out ideas for a shirt to identify their Troop and patrols. Success!

The uniform is one of eight methods of Scouting, just like checking requirement boxes, er, advancement. There are implications to it way beyond wearing a goofy-looking shirt.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Practice makes what?

Several years ago, my flight instructor, a crusty old Marine major, once taught me something I can never forget. My class was up against the wall for something, I forget what. Basic "butter-bar tomfoolery" or something like that.

After a good chewing-out, he asked us, "practice makes what?" And we all mumbled, "perfect, Sir." He said, "B____S____!"

"Practice Makes Permanent."

- My flight instructor, Maj. Mike Harris, USMC, Vance AFB, OK in 2001.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quote - Gordon B. Hinckley

"I love the Scouting movement. The promise of the Scout Oath and the twelve points of the Scout Law point young men along the path of being prepared for the 21st century. They provide a solid and powerful magnetic force toward development of a well-rounded and noteworthy character that counts. If every boy [and girl] in America knew and observed the Scout Oath, we would do away with most of the jails and prisons in this country. If each of us would live up to those few words, 'On my honor, I will do my best, whether it be in school, whether it be in our social life, whether it be in our business or professional life, if I will do my very best, success and happiness will be mine.'"
- Gordon B. Hinckley