We Need a Comprehensive LDS Scouting Manual

So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
NoahVail
New Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:12 pm
Location: USA

We Need a Comprehensive LDS Scouting Manual

Postby NoahVail » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:15 am

It seems to me that we are way past the time for distribution of a comprehensive manual and resource guide for LDS Scouting.

Fifteen years of YM-Scouting leadership has taught me, that not being able to get clear answers to critical questions cripples programs. It allows young men to to have their interest drawn elsewhere.

Really important (and oft repeated) questions that begin with:
"What is the Church's Intention regarding..."
or
"Where should our focus be, when we look to implement..."
or
"What are typical results for YM/Scout programs that have..."
need to have unambiguous answers.

This isn't an invitation for the Church to micromanage our programs. Instead it's to help us insure that the programs we run are in harmony with the Lord's desire for our young men.

What we have now, is instruction spread across several disconnected sources; with no meaningful correlation between them.

Often Church manuals will direct us to BSA materials for instruction. There are 2 problems with this.

First is that the combination of BSA guides+Church manuals usually leave us with an incomplete picture of how to accomplish the goals at hand.
I believe this is because there is an assumption that there is an existing Scout program and experienced leadership in place, at the Ward/Stake levels.

Second is that the BSA doesn't speak with Church authority. We are asked to receive Gospel related instruction from non-Gospel related sources. Again, this isn't a problem with experienced Scouting leadership, who can recognize the Lord's hand in the BSA and help guide new LDS Scouters in the Lord's direction.

Where this is a huge problem is in Stakes and Wards that have a near-complete vacuum of Scouting experience. As an example: our stake has had hundreds of active young men over a decade and yielded just 4 FT Missionaries in that same decade.

When Stake and Ward leadership lack vision and a working knowledge of how Scouting/YM functions, the members that ultimately wind up in control of the programs are the ones that are most manipulative. They gain control by exploiting the ignorance left by incomplete information.

The BSA is decried as non-authoritative, by those members and not in line with Church teachings. The gaps in knowledge are filled in with whatever serves to achieve the private agenda. Under this control, programs are far afield of what experienced Scout leadership might accomplish.

Having a comprehensive manual would assist other members, who are focused on the Lord's program by giving them a voice; louder than folks who are inappropriately running the show.

There is one LDS Scouting Leader Resource guide out there (dated 2005) that is pretty good. It's close to what ward leaders need to have. But since it's a mulit-stake effort and not sanctioned by the Quorum of the Twelve; agendized members can discredit it by declaring it not-authoritative.

The situation I describe, may seem isolated to someone who's never come across it. I've spent over 5 years as a BSA unit commissioner to LDS and non-LDS units. I've also been involved with youth programs in other churches. The push toward personal agendas is always present. What determines success is how closely leaders follow the correct councils, that they are taught.

NoahVail

techgy
Community Moderators
Posts: 3174
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:48 pm
Location: California

Postby techgy » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:38 am

NoahVail wrote:It seems to me that we are way past the time for distribution of a comprehensive manual and resource guide for LDS Scouting.

Fifteen years of YM-Scouting leadership has taught me, that not being able to get clear answers to critical questions cripples programs. It allows young men to to have their interest drawn elsewhere.

This isn't an invitation for the Church to micromanage our programs. Instead it's to help us insure that the programs we run are in harmony with the Lord's desire for our young men.

What we have now, is instruction spread across several disconnected sources; with no meaningful correlation between them.

When Stake and Ward leadership lack vision and a working knowledge of how Scouting/YM functions, the members that ultimately wind up in control of the programs are the ones that are most manipulative. They gain control by exploiting the ignorance left by incomplete information.

There is one LDS Scouting Leader Resource guide out there (dated 2005) that is pretty good. It's close to what ward leaders need to have. But since it's a mulit-stake effort and not sanctioned by the Quorum of the Twelve; agendized members can discredit it by declaring it not-authoritative.

NoahVail


Noah,

Having served in a variety of scouting positions including a 3 year stretch as District Commissioner I have seen this from both sides. It would be nice if such a guide existed, however, the very nature of how the BSA program is operated is that they provide a set of guidelines as to what's acceptable and what's not (BSA Safety Manual for one example). The program is then to be designed around whatever interests the individual unit - within the guidelines.

The Church also has published a scout manual, as you have stated, which gives the guidelines for the Church members to follow.

As most scouting units don't want to be "micro-managed" as you have noted, it's really up to the Scouting Coordinator of each ward to meet with the Primary and YM organizations along with the Committee Chairman and Bishopric and create a program - within the guidelines - that will meet the interests of the youth in their wards.

I would agree that it might be time for the Church to update their manual but, I wouldn't expect too many changes in the rules.
Have you read the Code of Conduct?

User avatar
greenwoodkl
Member
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:59 am
Location: Orem, Utah, United States
Contact:

Postby greenwoodkl » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:57 am

I would suggest looking at the resources at the following website if you have not done so already: http://www.ldsbsa.org/

This is a website from the LDS Relationships Office of the BSA in Salt Lake City.

There is also LDSScouting.org which is resources compiled by Church Scouting leaders in the Taylorsville area of the Salt Lake Valley.

Two more for good measure:
http://www.mormonscouting.com/
http://www.lds-scouts.org/

tomsquatch
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:27 am
Location: Memphis, TN USA

Church LDS BSA Relationships website

Postby tomsquatch » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:42 pm

The church has a LDS-Scouting relationships website that contains a great amount of information, newsletters from YM General presidency, and many other scouting related things. One document on this site that meant a lot to me was the "Scouting and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" document. This document contains a wealth of information including a suggestion of how the Stake and Ward leadership should be structured on the scouting side of things in Org Chart format(i.e. District commissioners, unit commissioners, unit committee's). I would highly recommend all YM and Stake leaders to be familiar with this site and what it has on it. The other sites listed in this thread are good, but this site is officially published by the church.

Main URL: http://www.ldsbsa.org

Scouting and the Church Document click here

lajackson
Community Moderators
Posts: 6143
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: US

Postby lajackson » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:31 pm

TomCombs wrote:The other sites listed in this thread are good, but this site is officially published by the church.


Almost, but not quite. While I agree that it is one of the best sites, it is published by the LDS Relationship Office of the Boy Scouts of America.

The Church and the Boy Scouts of America work closely together to support Scouting, and this is one example of that excellent work. Nevertheless, while this site is published by faithful Church members who are very familiar with Scouting, this site is not published by the Church.

And where there are differences in what this site says and what is contained in Church handbooks, wisdom suggests following the counsel in the Church handbooks, instead, always consulting with priesthood leaders where necessary.

NoahVail
New Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:12 pm
Location: USA

Postby NoahVail » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:34 pm

Thank-you for your response.

techgy wrote:the very nature of how the BSA program is operated is that they provide a set of guidelines as to what's acceptable and what's not (BSA Safety Manual for one example). The program is then to be designed around whatever interests the individual unit - within the guidelines.


I agree, the BSA supply of instruction is comprehensive. However, LDS specific Scouting instruction is woefully incomplete; at least to us who work directly with the YM.

techgy wrote:The Church also has published a scout manual, as you have stated, which gives the guidelines for the Church members to follow.
Yes, but it's more of an overview than an instruction manual. There is a lot of necessary information that isn't in there.

I think there is an assumption that the information not in the LDS Scout Manual will be supplied by experienced LDS scouters, Bishoprics and Stake Leadership.

The unresolved issue occurs when there are no experienced LDS Scouters. The result is the Bishopric not implementing a Scouting program. Lastly, the Stake Presidency is largely disconnected from the YM/Scouting programs altogether.

When this has been the situation for a decade or more, the question becomes "What can I do, as an involved member?" If I'm a Scoutmaster, and there is no ASM, Committee or experienced members; how can I best serve the 10 or 20 youth entrusted to me?

I can't do it alone. I need the help of other involved memebers and I believe they should be organized into the leadership roles outlined by the BSA and endorsed by the Church.

Presenting BSA material, to my leaders, as guidance is ineffective. Because it isn't issued by the Church, it is discounted as non-authoritative and ignored. This has been a consistent reality. Having Church Issued material would help overcome this one hurdle.

techgy wrote: it's really up to the Scouting Coordinator of each ward to meet with the Primary and YM organizations along with the Committee Chairman and Bishopric and create a program - within the guidelines - that will meet the interests of the youth in their wards.
That suggestion assumes that there is a Scouting Coordinator and Committee Chairman. I am seeking a plan on how to convince a Bishopric with no experience in Scouting; that other members need to be involved; in order for the YM to be properly served.

Thanks.

NV

NoahVail
New Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:12 pm
Location: USA

Postby NoahVail » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:51 pm

kgthunder wrote:I would suggest looking at the resources at the following website if you have not done so already: http://www.ldsbsa.org/

This is a website from the LDS Relationships Office of the BSA in Salt Lake City.

There is also LDSScouting.org which is resources compiled by Church Scouting leaders in the Taylorsville area of the Salt Lake Valley.

Two more for good measure:
http://www.mormonscouting.com/
http://www.lds-scouts.org/


Each one of those is an excellent resource. I've been drawing on them for my own edification, for some time.

However, because they aren't directly issued under the authority of the First Presidency, the material in them is rejected by other members and Ward Leadership. I get the same result with BSA instructional materials. The response is "That's not Church instruction, so it doesn't apply to us."

I'm looking for a way to convince leadership and other folks, that a Scoutmaster alone is insufficient to run a Ward Scouting program.

There haven't been experienced LDS Scouters available to set the record straight. I'm trying to locate material that gives a direction to the ward scouting program; that can't be easily dismissed.

Thanks for your kind response.

NV

lajackson
Community Moderators
Posts: 6143
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: US

Postby lajackson » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:42 pm

NoahVail wrote:However, because they aren't directly issued under the authority of the First Presidency, the material in them is rejected by other members and Ward Leadership. I get the same result with BSA instructional materials. The response is "That's not Church instruction, so it doesn't apply to us."


One approach I have taken in the past is to reply that the Church fully supports the Scouting program, and that the rules and procedures of the Scouting program should be followed unless there is specific instruction in Church issued handbooks that differs.

There are, in fact, some significant differences. But, for the most part, I can think of nothing in the Scouting instructions that should not be followed if the Church has not provided additional insight on the subject.

NoahVail
New Member
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:12 pm
Location: USA

Postby NoahVail » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:40 pm

lajackson wrote:One approach I have taken in the past is to reply that the Church fully supports the Scouting program, and that the rules and procedures of the Scouting program should be followed unless there is specific instruction in Church issued handbooks that differs.

Their response is that isn't the case. Though the Church does indeed fully support the Scouting program, there are a number of differences between them. As a result, BSA instruction is at most, a rough guideline.
What BSA teaches can be discounted. It is the Bishopric's prerogative to choose which portions (if any) of a BSA program to implement.

lajackson wrote:There are, in fact, some significant differences. But, for the most part, I can think of nothing in the Scouting instructions that should not be followed if the Church has not provided additional insight on the subject.
When I communicated that, I was not believed. Not for over a decade.

Any concerns to the Stake presidency or High Council were redirected back to my Bishopric.

After everything, this appears to be an unsolvable problem. I'm trying to learn if I missed anything. A number of generations of YM have wandered off.

BTW, it bears mentioning that one of the comprehensive manuals listed on mormonscouting.com was assembled by consortium of (I think) 7 Stake Presidencies. Seven SPs felt there was a need for a comprehensive scouting manual; and coordinated to produce one.

Thanks for getting back to me.

NV

lajackson
Community Moderators
Posts: 6143
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: US

Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:57 pm

It appears then, that you have done all you can do, because you have already been to the stake presidency.

And now, you have the challenge of supporting your priesthood leaders as best you can. It will not be easy. You will be blessed for doing it.

I have been there. Stay in tune with the Spirit and do the best you are able to do under the circumstances.


Return to “Ideas & Suggestions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest