A couple of weeks ago, my husband spent almost a full week at Philmont Scout Ranch in eastern New Mexico for a training with the General Young Men's Presidency. He was home for a few days and then headed to a local Scout camp with my son. He had previously spent 3 days (not including all of the set-up or planning) hiking with the older boys in our stake in a Zion's Camp type of experience to help priests develop a stronger testimony as well as a desire to serve a mission. He jumped through all sorts of hoops to make this camp a BSA approved camp.
He attended Wood Badge last year, attends Rountable Meetings each month, and serves as a Unit Commissioner. He's also trained to train other leaders.
I served on the Troop Committe for years, helped my first son earn his Eagle, and now have another son who's a Life Scout and should earn his Eagle by the end of the year.
We know Scouting. Truthfully, I find all the red-tape somewhat suffocating and think it's outrageous that professional Scouters earn a salary for a job that could be voluntary. All of us in the trenches, who actually spend the time with the boys, volunteer our time and money to support Scouting, yet professional Scouters are paid a salary. Somehow, that doesn't make sense to me.
However, I do believe in the Scouting program and I believe it helps boys learn many skills as well as satisfaction in achieving difficult goals. There is a direct correlation between boys who earn their Eagle and those who serve missions. If your son earns his Eagle it isn't a guarantee he'll serve a mission, but it's much more likely, especially if he also graduates from seminary. I'm really thankful that my husband and my oldest son both earned their Eagle ranks and look forward to my other son earning his.
Here's what gets under my skin about Scouting. All the complaining at the local level from the leaders. Why is it so hard for people to serve in Scouting? Why is it so hard to take boys on camping trips? Why is it so difficult to attend Roundtable meetings? A calling in Scouting doesn't last forever, but a leader's bad attitude can affect a young boy forever.
Yeah, there's red tape. Yeah, it's a headache sometimes. Yeah, BSA has some ridiculous rules. Yeah, it's hard getting a boy from Tenderfoot to Eagle. But, the effort is so worth it. Think of the boys' lives we can affect for the good simply by doing our callings in Scouting. Think of the impression we can leave on young men when we plan hikes, campouts, and badge opportunities. Think of the good we can do simply by having a good attutude and magnifying a call from the Lord. Boys learn their attitudes about Scouting from their leaders and they can tell in a heartbeat if their leaders are committed to Scouting or not.
The Lord isn't going to ask us if we loved Scouting, but He is going to ask us if we fulfilled, and magnified, our callings, including those in Scouting. He's going to ask us if we did our best to serve the young men in Scouts. What do we want to answer?
I say, quit our complaining and just do our calling in Scouting. We may find we really like it after all.