Friday, August 28, 2015

The Joys of Scouting

Two Cubs building their Rain Gutter Regatta boats
"Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?" 
Pictures speak by thousands but Joni Mitchell nailed in just a few.

Early last night I helped my wife in her role as Cub Committee Chair out of sheer joy and love for her, and also for Scouting. We almost lost it. And I've never appreciated it more.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Wednesday from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Church’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.
In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.” At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.
With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.
I've had my own ups and downs with Scouting as I've posted on this blog. There is a need to phase out for a program that will meet the needs of a global church. Scouting is in many countries around the world, but it is generally a middle-class Anglo-American institution that does not have applicability everywhere the LDS Church operates and has a need for programs for youth, female and male, to build character through activities and service.

When Scouting is done right, it is a wonderful program for building character and citizenship in young people (and old). When done wrong, or for the wrong reasons, it can be absolutely painful.

But yesterday, I was a true volunteer. And that's one of the joys. I had no "calling" other than to help my wife. I am registered still on our Troop Committee, but they don't need me much. Even with the callings in the LDS Church which can seem like ecclesiastical obligations of do or die, heaven or heck, it is still a volunteer organization. You can say, "no." And better that you do than take on responsibilities you are unwilling to perform. Mormons say "no" all the time. We just don't admit it.

A friend shared a Facebook thread of the wife of a professional Scouter who needed to vent on some of the attitudes she has heard from members. It was great! (Remember, my mom was the wife of a professional Scouter - I'm the husband of a committed volunteer at the local and national levels). I'm not going into all the controversies here. I just wanted to glow in the joy of a wonderful Pack Meeting where we did it right.

The unofficial motto of the Cub Scouts: "Keep it Simple. Make it Fun!"

A variety of inexpensive supplies (my wife went to the local butcher and got a pack of the styrofoam, black, meat plates)
And a family activity making the boats.

The race is on!
Our local clergy sponsor, the bishop and also a Cub dad, is in the white shirt and tie.
My wife, Cub Committee Chair, stepped in to make sure things were fairly organized.
Little and big sisters got to build boats and race too.
Even I got one made in my "festive" Chief Seattle Council Jamboree Shirt
sent to me by a friend. My Welsh ship sadly lost to the Den Leader from England.
It's been that way, sigh, for 1500 years now.
Awards and Recognition were given.
Our Cub Master (on the left) went into an odd story at the end about a "Captain Donner" and coming to a pass with handcarts.
Afraid of where this may have been going I was giving my buddy the cut-off sign from the back, but he ended up with Captain Donner's
famous words at the pass, "The Church has partnered with Scouting for 100 years and it has now decided on another hundred. Get over it!"
I waived a friendly "mais ou menos" sign that my fellow Brazilian Missionary understood with a smile.

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