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I Am Not an Eagle Scout!

As I turned the corner at the top of the hill, I saw it, flapping in the breeze like a flag of surrender from my mailbox: the tall, white, kitchen garbage bag symbolic of all culminating scout projects.

I sighed. Again.

Untangling the drawstring from my red mailbox flag, I read the attached flier:

Hi, I’m John Jones and I’m working on my Eagle project! In order to get it I either need you to give me stuff that I can donate to the charity of my choice (the list of stuff I want is below) or you can give me money so that I can buy stuff to donate to the charity of my choice. The first one is better because then I won’t have to go to the store. I will come by on Saturday at 10:00 to get whichever one you pick. Then I’ll go deliver the stuff.

Sometimes the fliers also include:

You don’t know me, but I just live a few miles away, and I’m pretty sure that since you have such a big house, you can afford to sponsor my project.

or

Cause you wouldn’t want me to be a failure and end up on your street, just hanging out and vandalizing or something. Right?

As if passing off his Eagle is really high on my 2007 to-do list.

It kind of reminds me of the 4,000 times I’ve had a high schoolish age kid knock on my door and say, “Hi! I’m Fred and I’m trying to earn a trip to Europe and a free bike! If you’ll just buy 14 boxes of cards like your neighbors the, uh, the Johnsons…then I’ll be half way there.”

At which point I say, “I have a great idea! As soon as I can afford to take myself to Europe, I’ll start worrying about your trip. OK?”

Or maybe it reminds me of the 8,000 times a kid in public school has asked me to buy a $23 roll of wrapping paper so that the school can buy a dictionary or a heating unit.

At which point I say, “I have a great idea! As soon as I can afford to buy my own, homeschooled kids a dictionary, I’ll start worrying about your school supplies. OK?”

Or maybe not exactly ?but anyway, my boys are only six and three. I haven’t experienced the “joy” of scouting ?yet. But I have four girls older than them, three of whom have entered or completed the realm of Young Women Personal Progress. To get the award (which consists of a pendant and, sometimes, a stake program offering the award en masse) each girl does seven, distinct projects, centering on a value. Each project “should be a significant effort that will take at least ten hours to complete.”

In all my days serving in Young Women, raising daughters, and being in a ward with billions of other Young Women, never once have I been solicited for donations or labor toward a Young Women Recognition Award. Nor have my daughters ever passed out fliers and/or Sacrament Meeting program inserts to captive ward members, informing them how and when they needed to complete the requirements for their projects.

Last year, a great young man from my ward made homemade suckers. Himself. Not himself as in his mom. Himself as in his very own self. Then he rode his bike from door to door…himself. Not as in his mom drove him around in the van. As in under his very own two-legged power in a neighborhood that has lots of steep hills and houses that have five acres between them. He offered his suckers (for a very reasonable price) to his neighbors in the freezing wind. The money raised from this and other such efforts would be used to build a dugout at the local, community ball field.

The rarefied atmosphere of a scout actually doing some hard work…himself…was so hypnotic as to compel me to purchase at least two dozen suckers in all manner of shapes and flavors. It was thrilling and I anticipated a string of fine, bold boys, diligently earning their Eagle Scout Award and becoming men in the process.

But it didn’t catch on. A few days later the scout master came by my house to collect the “voluntary,” annual “Friends of Scouting” donation. I don’t have a scout and I don’t recall feeling chummy. Still, every year the scoutmaster comes by. And every year, as I stand in my very own foyer with him, I am suddenly thrust back in time to the Evangelical church in Boca Raton. My neighbor, Kathy, gave our family “free” tickets to the nativity pageant. We attended the fine program. Endured the call to get saved. And then watched as our pew was enveloped by men in festive sweaters holding out purple velvet bags for our “voluntary” donation to pay for the rental of the live donkeys and sheep on the stage. Ah, so this is what it meant to be “Friends of Kathy.”

So, back to the present, I write out the check amidst very Lemual-like murmuring and muttering, and put it in the scoutmaster’s virtual, velvet bag…just so I can get out of the “pew.”

A very short time later, the next Eagle project shopping list was taped on my door. Complete with a handy, dandy, tall, white, kitchen garbage bag to load up with the loot.

I can hardly wait for my boys to join!

{ 96 comments… add one }

  • Oregonian May 15, 2007, 10:24 am

    I have one Eagle scout and another on the way. To tell the truth, our ward wouldn’t allow such things to count as an Eagle project. The boys are expected to do SIGNIFICANT work, almost all on their own. Families can assist and, sometimes, the whole troop joins in for big projects like conservation or something, but it doesn’t turn into a ward activity.

  • Rachel May 15, 2007, 11:46 am

    Can I tell you how much I HATE hearing the phrase “comparable to the Eagle in the scouting program” come out of the bishop’s mouth when he presents the Young Womanhood Recognition Award?! I don’t care if they actually did require the same amount of effort, it is NOT the same. They are completely different, and the girls deserve to have their own moment, not just to be compared to the boys.

    I’m not actually familiar with all that the scouts have to achieve, but this article just echoes my frustration that the girls seem to spend time doing spiritual activities and service projects (in addition to the occasional crafts and once-a-year, under-funded girls camp) while the boys play basketball and go camping at upscale camps.

  • Rebecca May 15, 2007, 12:20 pm

    OK. I had to add my two cents to this. Last year a young man in our ward decided that he was going to make school bags for the humanitarian center. He sent around a sign up sheet in Relief Society for sisters to volunteer to make a couple of bags. I sew a bit so I signed up to make five bags thinking it would be an easy project. Long story short I got to make all fifty bags that he had decided to donate as well as donating the fabric for the bags. Someone in the ward jokingly suggested that I should receive an honorary Eagle Scout award for doing the majority of the project.

    I think that boys should be solely responsible for their project and that the majority of the work should be done by them. I would have been more than happy to teach the young man to run a sewing machine (even though his mother suggested that only ‘domestics’ sew and that it was beneath even her to use one) so that he could be involved with more of the work. Not that my opinion matters much but let me tell you, if my son’s wish to get their Eagle Scout award it will be because they do it on their own.

  • Lewis_Family May 15, 2007, 12:57 pm

    “even though his mother suggested that only ‘domestics’ sew and that it was beneath even her to use one”

    All I have to say is wow, that kid is lucky you still helped after his mom ran off at the mouth.

    My bro-in-law just worked on his, and he asked for help ( arranged for the ym/yw to assist in cleaning up a mountain trail and repainting handrails and benches ) but he was the one who arranged it, provided tools and materials, provide refreshements, made sure all the i’s and t’s were dotted and crossed. So I totally agree with you that if the boy wants to earn the award he should do most of the work, if not all depending on the project.

  • mlinford May 15, 2007, 5:49 pm

    My son just entered scouts. I have never been thrilled about the idea of scouting in general. It never really made sense to me. Then two things happened.

    One was a friend of mine was called to be over scouting. She had had the same, hesitant (perhaps even frustrated) attitude about it. And then the Spirit let her know that this was an important program for our boys.

    And then I had a discussion with someone who knew about a situation where the church’s involvement in scouting was made manifest, and suddenly I realized that when I donate to the scouting program, I am not only thinking about the young men in my ward. I’m supporting a program that may be the only structured and moral program that some boys in our country will ever have. They won’t even have young men’s basketball to give them good friends, good leaders and some good, wholesome fun. It was then that I realized that often things are not as they appear, and the work that we are asked to be involved in and support has a broader reach and scope than often we can see. And so now, I will donate to scouting with a bit more perspective and patience with the whole thing.

    And as a side note, I actually like projects that end up being service projects because they allow me to do some good where someone has done the legwork. It also is a simple way for me to involve children in some good (“guys, can you help me gather some toys/cans of food/whatever for this service project?”). On the other hand, examples like the making-bags one Rebecca shared are just WRONG.

    One of the best lines in the movie RM is when Mom says the boys almost have their Eagles and the twins say in unison, “MOM almost has our Eagles.” But this should. not. be. We have to be sure that we don’t make Scouting one more thing for US to do as mommas. We have to make sure the boys do the work~

  • SilverRain May 15, 2007, 6:36 pm

    I thought that at one point, there was a pulpit letter that the Church would no longer sponsor Scouting. I thought it came out about the same time the Gospel in Action (or was it Faith in God) came out.

    But then, I also thought there was a letter about no more church-sponsored sports, and that hasn’t seemed to change, either.

  • mlinford May 15, 2007, 6:58 pm

    Hm. I think I missed that letter and I think I keep hearing the one about supporting scouting. Anyone else know which way it is?

  • facethemusic May 15, 2007, 7:31 pm

    Unfortunately, this is all largely symptomatic of the church sort of having their own “version” of the BSA program. The BSA has made several short-cuts for the LDS scouting program, and allows us to do alot of things our own way. The church and it’s members give them substantial financial support, so frankly, they let us get away with stuff that other scouts could never get away with. Our boys get through the program quicker than most other scouts, not necesarrily because they’re working harder or more quickly, but because our program simply doesn’t function the way it does outside of the church. Our scout leaders often aren’t as trained, and don’t know the requirements as well, (which outside of the church are held to strictly) so the boys get passed for things they wouldn’t get passed for in a non-ward troop.
    If you were to talk to any Scout Master who isn’t LDS, or a scouting office outside of Utah, they could tell you how frustrated they get with us. Especially outside of Utah.
    I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m “dogging” the church, because that’s not what I mean at all.
    It’s simply a matter of us trying to make THEIR program fit OUR church/YM program. But the two work differently so they have to make several “exceptions” for LDS scouts.
    People (leaders) outside of the Church are in BSA because they WANT to be there. They’re scouting fanatics… they love it. I’m really into music, the people on this list could really be into soccer, horseback riding, dance.. whatever. THESE people are really into scouting. They go to all the Round Table meetings, go to all sorts of Scouting fairs, training meetings, etc. Our leaders hardly ever show up to these things. (Unless they happen to be an LDS person who’s also really into scouting) Our scout leaders are CALLED to do this. We might not know ANYTHING about scouting, but we’re asked to be in charge of it. Then that person might get released a year or so later, and someone else (who also may not know much about scouting) is called, and so it goes. They rarely have the necessary training. And it’s not uncommon at all for an LDS ward to not have a functioning scout committee. We’ve lived in 5 wards, in 3 different states, and have yet to be in a ward, with a real, functioning program. I know they exist– but they’re actually pretty far and few between by comparison to troops outside of the church, especially outside of Utah or other highly populated LDS areas.
    So parents, often uneducated in scouting matters, end up trying to push their kids through the ranks without a lot of support from their ward program. Because too often, no one in the ward really knows what they’re doing.

  • SilverRain May 15, 2007, 7:36 pm

    It sounds like it’d be a good idea if they were separated.

  • facethemusic May 15, 2007, 8:34 pm

    – Well, there’s already been quite a bit of scuttlebutt about the church possibly breaking away from it. But, being scuttlebutt, I have no idea if it’s true or not.

  • Rebecca May 15, 2007, 9:37 pm

    Having served in Cub Scouts for the past two years…and honestly it is a calling that I enjoy so very little that I do anything at all to get out of attending all of the trainings etc. I agree about the lack of training in Scouts. It’s not that I don’t think that Scouts is a good program but it’s not my kind of program. I just have ideological differences with the program I guess. One of the things that bothers me is that from what I can tell it is supposed to be an activity based program that is supposed to teach the boys about all sorts of different things…and then give them the opportunity to put into practice the things they have learned when they do their Eagle Scout project. I could be totally off on this but that has always been my impression. That was what bothered me about the experience I had in my ward. I felt that if the young man truly felt that what he was doing was important and needed that he should have been more involved. When he brought over the fabric I was trying to show him how to do the math to calculate how much he would need to make all the bags he committed to donate. He didn’t want to figure it out and wanted me to do it, I thought that at least he should do a bit of the work on the bags as they weren’t difficult to make and being able to run a sewing machine is a good skill to have regardless of who you are…and it’s not that his mother was trying to be rude or condescending when she made those comments to me it was just that we had ideological differences and while I thought that the young man should have learned about what he was doing on a deeper level she felt that the sewing and calculating and figuring out the pattern wasn’t important to the project. I thought that without those three things the project wouldn’t happen at all so they were actually a very important part of what he was doing and in my opinion it wouldn’t have hurt him to learn those skills.

    And another thing…there are scouting families that are in every ward that eat, breathe, and dream about scouts so why don’t they get to serve in scouts? I mean if scouts is that important and you have people who love, love, love the program and wouldn’t mind serving there forever why not let them? I know that occasionally they may be needed in other areas but there are times when I wonder why they don’t utilize the people that are most skilled and willing to function in that calling.

  • facethemusic May 15, 2007, 9:49 pm

    Because they’re callings. We actually have 3 brothers in our ward who are very experienced scoutmasters… none of them serve in scouts. It’s just like with other callings in the church. People who having teaching degrees aren’t necessarily the ones being called to teach. They might be playing the piano, or serving as a secretary.

  • Lewis_Family May 15, 2007, 10:04 pm

    I think being called to scouts is to broaden our horizons. I got called to Webelos a little over a year ago. I can’t speak for scouts for all that I have experienced is cubs, but I don’t see the exceptions that were spoken of, if anything ours is more condensed, and therefor our boys have to do more sooner, is what I was told about the program.

    Yeah, sometimes I seriously am exhausted with my calling, it is so time consuming and expensive, and everything is supposed to be reimbursed later, but especially in my situation it is not easy to come up with it up front and if you ask about it people acted put out to have to cover it for you, so that is not a fun part about the program.

    When called, my family laughed, told me I didn’t have the patients for such a calling, and they were right, I am very no nonsense when it comes down to it, but for some of my boys it is the only structure they have ever had to deal with so we butted heads at first but they learned quick if they want me to help them they will listen to me. But i all honesty I am learning patients, so maybe it is where I was supposed to be. Somewhere I could learn to be more understanding and patient, believe me scouts is such a place.

    I do have to say though it is worth it, when you get the boys who do want to be there and put forth the effort, and you see them earn their webelos and their arrow of lights ( which is the only award they can carry over to their scout uniform and wear forever ) It truly is a calling just like any other and I don’t understand how people can say no. It took my ward five months to get me a partner, it was rather ridiculous. I figure being in scouts has to be some sort of golden ticket into heaven, :bigsmile: so suck it up and serve the children in your ward :smile:

  • alana May 15, 2007, 10:05 pm

    Rebecca when you wrote ” I mean if scouts is that important and you have people who love, love, love the program and wouldn’t mind serving there forever why not let them? I know that occasionally they may be needed in other areas but there are times when I wonder why they don’t utilize the people that are most skilled and willing to function in that calling. ”

    Ok, the short answer is, because the Lord didn’t call them to that.

    This reminded me of something I have been trying to gain a testimony of lately. The inspired nature of callings. Our stake president said something very poignant regarding this at a Stake Auxiliary Training meeting. He said that the Spirit of the Lord has whispered our names into the ears of our Bishop. He talked of how humbling it is to think that the Spirit of the Lord whispered his name into the ear of a prophet. I found that very powerful. It made me consider how much I sustain my leaders, and how much I respected that the Lord called them to these callings. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that, those people who are called to scouts aren’t called because of their passion for scouts. It is a calling from the Lord to help bring them/the boys closer to Christ.

    I know that some callings have a greater impact than others, but I think this calling is of great importance to the young boys who are part of it. I think it is a shame that more people do not take this calling seriously. I really have a testimony that the prophet and the apostles would not have this program as part of the church organization if it were not important to bringing these boys to Christ, and giving them much needed survival skills.

    I do see that the Duty to God program is the most important out of the two programs. But I don’t think that the scouts program is unimportant, or not worthwhile. I know that I will make sure I do my part in supporting this program, and the leaders that are called.

    I know some may think I am naive to believe that all callings are from the Lord. I don’t. I know that sometimes leaders are not following the promptings of the Spirit, or even bothering to pray for some things. I am thinking of the “callings of desperation, not inspiration” anecdotes. However, I think those are few and far between.

    I hope this makes sense.

    As for my thoughts on boys earning their Eagle? Well, that is their responsibility, and others shouldn’t be doing the work for them. That is absurd!

  • PlaneJain May 15, 2007, 10:07 pm

    Wow, just next Sunday my son and I are to sit down and meet with the scoutmaster to discuss possible ideas for his upcoming Eagle Scout project that he’ll be working on for the next four months. The pressure is on! :-)

  • Lewis_Family May 15, 2007, 10:21 pm

    Glory, I was so fustrated when first called, the counselor even said ” We just had someone released and were trying to figure out who to get to help Sister so and so in scouts and remembered that you needed a calling. Since they had called me and my husband in for assignments, but only had one for him ( we had a six month old baby and they called him to team teach with another brother in primary, I was so fustrated that they would take him away from me at church where I so much needed his help, we would take turns going out with the baby, etc ) So for sure I KNEW that I was called out of desperation not inspiration. SO I started off with a chip on my shoulder but it quickly fell/ got knocked off :smile:? I kind of threw myself into it thinking that I need to do my best no matter the circumstance, because it wasn’t the boys fault that I felt I was finagled into scouts. I ended up having to fly solo just three months after getting called, for five months, and I made sure those boys didn’t suffer because no one would accept the calling. I gave them the oppurtunity to earn their webelos and arrow of lights and 6 of my boys went the distance and did earn them ( which ofcourse sealed my fate in scouts FOREVER… guess I need to move soon :smile: ) Either way, I have mothers come up to me with the most sincere of thanks, one told me her boy had never been into scouts but say how fun it was to accomplish something and wanted to earn what he saw the other boys earning, and he did in 6 months which is quite fast. So yeah, I understand now, that what I saw as desperation more than likely truly was inspiration, because I might not have had the right attitude in regards to liking the calling, but the Lord knew I would accept the challenge ( I am a very competitive person, I like to get things done the fastest and most correct way possible :smile: ) and would not let Him down in my responsibilty to guide his young men down the path that hopefully gives them the desire to continue to set goals and meet them thus helping them to succeed in life in all areas. Scouts really do tie in with our beliefs in this church, the boys set goals and strive to accomplish them. If that isn’t a prime example of teaching them how to stay on the path I don’t know what is.
    But I guess one has to expereince it, to understand. I never had any idea scouts was so amazinf before I became invovled in it. ( Like I said though beofre, it is extremely exhausting and time consuming, but knowing you make a differnce in these boys lives is worth it. )

  • Alison Moore Smith May 15, 2007, 11:21 pm

    PlaneJane, welcome!! :) (Do you fly?)

    Posted By: mlinfordAnd then the Spirit let her know that this was an important program for our boys…I realized that when I donate to the scouting program, I am not only thinking about the young men in my ward. I’m supporting a program that may be the only structured and moral program that some boys in our country will ever have.

    These may well be true, but are entirely independent of how the program is run. Does it remain an “important program” and a “moral program” if boys get big accolades and lifelong recognition for what their mothers, their neighbors, or others substantially did?

    I actually like projects that end up being service projects because they allow me to do some good where someone has done the legwork.

    I don’t mind an opportunity. I mind the sense of entitlement. “I’m here to get the ‘Friends of Scouting’ donation.” or “I’ll be around to pick up your donation at 10:00.”

    I used to host the monthly Enrichment service in our ward (when we had one), I have belonged to multiple homeschooling service clubs, I love service projects, think they are crucial for children, and, actually, think the RELIEF Society should do more. But with limited resources, I want to CHOOSE where my service efforts go and, frankly, I usually have things in mind that are more important to me than someone’s Eagle project.

    FWIW, I have loved the testimonies from so many of you. I really dislike scouting and have hoped beyond hope that it would be gone before I had to deal with it. But those feelings come much more from the disparity between the girls and boys programs than anything else. I SO wanted to be a scout when I was a kid. It looked SO fun.

    Question: Is scouting really a “calling” or is it an “appointment,” like teaching early-morning seminary? The reason I ask is that you can’t give callings to non-members, but you CAN have non-LDS folks serve in scouting positions IN LDS-SPONSORED TROOPS.

  • ChanJo May 16, 2007, 12:46 am

    mlindford “They won’t even have young men’s basketball to give them good friends”

    Why don’t I ever hear anyone saying, “They won’t even have young women’s scrapbooking to give them good friends”?

  • mlinford May 16, 2007, 1:47 am

    I don’t mind an opportunity. I mind the sense of entitlement.

    Understood. There shouldnt’ be any sense of entitlement at any level, should there? Everything is voluntary in the church. These things should be, too. We do what we can.

    ChanJo,
    I can’t tell you why things are different for young men and young women in the world and in the church, but I believe it’s for a purpose and I believe that God knows what that is. Boys and girls ARE different creatures, no matter what anyone says, and I think that means the Lord will give them different opportunities for growth and support…just like He does with the grown men and women. :)

  • SilverRain May 16, 2007, 7:19 am

    I must say that if I were “called” to participate in scouting, it would be a real test for me. I disagree that scouting is a worthwhile pursuit. I admit to resenting it when I’m continually hit up for donations. If I wanted to donate money or food, it would be to people who needed it, not to the scouts whose parents forced them to participate in scouting. As much as I loved camping and such in YW, I would appreciate a more Christ-centered program for the YM, much like the YW program. I also get itchy to think about the Church so heavily involved in a commercially-oriented enterprise such as scouting.

    Now I have officially cursed myself. :cry:

  • Rebecca May 16, 2007, 7:45 am

    Alison,
    I think you hit the nail on the head…is it a calling or an appointment? In every ward I have lived in Scouts is a completely non-Sunday, non-Church related calling and it’s often a place where inactives or non-members are called to serve because it has so little to do with church. Therefore I don’t see why a person who loves Scouting and is often at the activities even though it’s not their ‘calling’ can’t be allowed to officially serve in Scouts. In our ward we have a Scouting mother with six boys who sits in the foyer every Tuesday night just in case anyone might need her expertise (of which she has a great deal of). She goes to every Round Table she spends her summers working at the local boys camp…she loves Scouting and her knowledge and experience would be a great asset but instead the callings go unfilled or neglected.

    I really wish that the YM program were more comparable to the YW program. I remember talking to a friend about this once and he said that he felt in some ways the the YM were getting short-changed because in YW they try really hard to have meaningful activities that build faith and prepare the YW to become wives and mothers and the YM go and play basketball. I don’t think that YM should be just like YW and I realize that there are fundamental differences between the two sexes but these YM are hopefully going on missions and I would want to make sure that they were as prepared as possible…and yes, I believe that means learning good social manners as well as the Gospel.

  • Lewis_Family May 16, 2007, 8:57 am

    I agree with that, actually :smile: Just because the YM have scouts they shouldn’t be lacking in the YM activites, there should be just as rigourous of a program with goals to meet and “medalions” to earn if they want? But I see that too, that someone how earning their Eagle in Scouting is supposed to be equavilant?

  • alana May 16, 2007, 10:06 am

    From http://www.lds.org the primary activity days page, then scouting links
    Cheryl C. Lant, Primary general president, has said: Scouting is fun and has an important purpose! Woven through all the fun is an inspired program that really works. Scouting is about learning and living the gospel. Scouting can reinforce positive character values and leadership skills that are taught in the home.

    Scouting prepares boys to become righteous men who hold and honor the priesthood of God. Scout leaders have the responsibility to help each boy connect what he is learning in Scouting to his priesthood preparation and his future as a covenant keeping missionary, husband, and father. ?

    The Duty to God program IS the equivalent of the YW Personal Progress program.

    The Aaronic Priesthood Duty to God program is designed to strengthen young men spiritually and help them accomplish the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood.

    I don’t know what else to say.

  • alana May 16, 2007, 10:14 am

    Scouting is a calling. It is sustained in sacrament meeting. If you explore the Primary areas and scouting areas of lds.org, I think it is very obvious what the church intends for this program.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 16, 2007, 10:17 am

    My question still stands, sustained or not. Non-members can’t have callings, but they can serve in scouts. If it’s a “calling” it must only be so at the discretion of the leaders. Which begs the question as to the stewardship, since a bishop doesn’t have stewardship over non-members either.

    FWIW, in my “mission field” wards, the seminary teachers were also sustained, but the position still isn’t a calling.

    To be clear, I don’t know the answer, but it seems not to be clear cut.

  • alana May 16, 2007, 10:22 am

    I will have to respond better to this after I get some stuff done today, and get home from YW. I have to gather my thoughts, and put my ducks in a row! Ha!

  • mlinford May 16, 2007, 11:55 am

    One reason I see not to call just those who looooove scouting is that sometimes, the Spirit can help someone catch the vision of scouting. This happened to my friend, and it prepared her for other callings that came later. I don’t think we can necessarily speak in generalities. It may not be your thing, and may never feel like your thing, but for some people, having a disliked calling can actually help change that point of view, for the Lord’s purposes.

    Don’t know if that made any sense. I imagine that scouting would be a difficult calling for me, so I’m not trying to patronize here, just sharing a different point of view.

  • SilverRain May 16, 2007, 12:33 pm

    Alison – I thought a bishop had stewardship over all – members and non – who lived in the boundaries of the ward. Perhaps not, however, since they don’t have veto power over baptisms.

    I must say I have no testimony of scouting, and no desire to develop one yet. Who knows, perhaps I’ll change my tune later. Meanwhile, I’ll stew in sin for my lack of scouting conviction. I’m already having severe difficulty with believing in callings in general, so it’ll just make the pot more interesting.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 16, 2007, 12:36 pm

    I agree, mlinford, of course. We can grow from callings we really don’t like. I’m trying to do that right now. :/

    As I think about this, though, can a bishop be inspired to call a non-member for the non-member’s sake? In other words, I think he might be inspired to look outside his “flock” to help those IN his flock (i.e. those over whom he DOES have a stewardship). But can he receive inspiration for someone outside his stewardship in the way you discuss above? There’s lots of council that addresses appropriate stewardship and I don’t think that fits. Making it fit, to me, seems to stretch the bounds of stewardship to the point that it doesn’t matter anymore.

  • facethemusic May 16, 2007, 12:53 pm

    is it a calling or an appointment? In every ward I have lived in Scouts is a completely non-Sunday, non-Church related calling and it’s often a place where inactives or non-members are called to serve because it has so little to do with church.

    Scouting is a calling. You actually get set apart for it. I was Den leader for awhile, and my husband has been Scoutmaster several times (with virtually NO help).
    The Scoutmaster is VERY often one of the YM presidency members. (I imagine in Utah, where they have a plethora of active members, this may not happen very often. But it’s very commonplace otherwise.)
    I’ve not heard of non-members being leaders over a ward troop! Hmmmm… that’s very interesting.
    I think Scouting is a great program– I WISH that wards took it as seriously as they should, but so many just don’t.
    The truth is, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’d feel like we weren’t being supportive or would be considered to NOT be sustaining people in their callings, we’d put our son in a troop outside of the church.
    As far as YM goes — their program IS equal to the YW program. It’s supposed to be run the same way. The problem isn’t the program– it’s the leadership.
    I think we’ve all seen that it’s not uncommon at all for the YM to have no real, planned activities, unLESS they’re meeting with the YW for a joint activity. And often, the successful joint activities are the ones that the YW planned. They plan it, set it up, etc. Wehn the YM are in charge, it either falls through or is thrown together at the absolute last minute and they end up watching a movie and having ice cream or popcorn. In almost every ward I’ve been in, the YM spend at LEAST 60% of their midweek mutual nights playing basketball. Every now and then you’ll get a YM presidency that REALLY does a great job with the YM, and runs the program the way it’s supposed to be done. But unfortunately it’s just not very common. I’ve been a member pretty much all my life, have served in YW four times, and I’ve only seen 2 YM leaders who really ran a great program. I’ve also seen a phenonmenal Stake YM president– he’s was SO fantastic. So on the ball and so dependable. Talk about magnifying a calling. He was simply exceptional.

  • mlinford May 16, 2007, 12:59 pm

    Actually, Alison, the way I understand it, bishops have stewardship for everyone who lives in the ward boundaries! (That was one of the things that amazed me when hubby was in a bishopric…to see the bishop’s point of view on that). I realize that doesn’t mean he will typically call those who are not members to callings (although I have heard of this happening). So, on one hand, I do think he can receive inspiration for anyone within the boundaries of his ward, but I think usually the focus is on those who are members, as it has to be for practical purposes.

    I also think scouting is a tricky thing because it is a mix of church and non-church. I’m not sure how that works — not every scout position in every area is a church calling, is it?

  • Rachel May 16, 2007, 1:53 pm

    I have started, and deleted, several comments to add to this discussion. But as I would type scathing judgements about how this program appears to be run (at least to me, having never really been a part of it), one thought keeps coming to me, and I’ve decided it’s not from me, because it doesn’t fit into my opinions at all. It is this: If the Young Men throughout the Church were really not gaining the experiences they were supposed to be getting (spiritual and otherwise) wouldn’t it have been changed long ago? If I really have faith in the revelation of the Church leaders, shouldn’t I realize that, though it may be imperfect, especially when carried out by fellow imperfect human beings, it must be the vehicle the Lord is choosing to use to teach these Young Men what they need to learn?

    This is a difficult realization for me to make because I don’t have a testimony of the Scouting program, and I would prefer the Young Men have a program more similar to the Young Women before my son becomes Scout age. My dh didn’t get his Eagle (and he’s a great guy, return missionary, etc), so my son doesn’t even have the “Dad did it” example, I have no idea what we’re going to do when we reach that time. Heavens, I don’t even know what I would do if I were “called” (we have established that it’s a calling, right?) to be a Scout leader–no way in heck would I be willing to take that calling right now, which dooms me to it sometime in the future.

    At least one thing I know: My son is dang well going to be doing his own work for his Eagle project, no way am I (or some poor person in the ward!) doing the work for him. I can’t believe the gall some people have to expect it. If I had one of those boys at my door saying, “You don ?t know me, but I just live a few miles away, and I ?m pretty sure that since you have such a big house, you can afford to sponsor my project.” I would entertain him with a list of my bills and expenditures, and explain to him how hard our family works to afford such a house, finishing with a lesson on basing judgement on appearances. Or, if he used the line, “Cause you wouldn ?t want me to be a failure and end up on your street, just hanging out and vandalizing or something. Right?” even in a flier (maybe especially in a flier), I’d hunt him down and explain to him that earning his Eagle project is not the only worthwhile thing he can do with his time, and that if he thinks HE is a failure because SOMEONE ELSE didn’t do the work for him to earn his Eagle, he has a long road of failure ahead of him because Sally-down-the-road is not going take his college exams for him or bear her testimony for him as he teaches the gospel on his mission.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 16, 2007, 1:55 pm

    Do you have a source for that, mlinford? Seems an odd idea of kind of an involuntary stewardship. “No, you’re not a member, no you don’t recognize my authority, but I still have a right to manage your affairs.” This would be particularly problematic in areas where there are millions of people within a ward boundary.

    Sam has been in a few bishoprics and my dad has been a bishop…um…four times that I can think of. I just talked to them both. In summary they both said, “Weellllllll, yes and no. It’s not the SAME stewardship that you have over ward members. But you have some level, depending on the circumstances, to spread the gospel and fellowship within your boundaries as is practical.”

    I also asked about scouting being a calling. They said that they didn’t know a distinct specification, but that in practice it seemed to be as I said. Most people consider it a calling, when it’s a member. If it’s not, it’s an appointment. So, the designation would depend on who the bishop extended the invitation to.

    Tracy, the scoutmaster in the LDS troop in Boca Raton for a long time was a good friend of mine, a wonderful Jewish man named Bob Rubin. Everyone called him Rabbi Rubin–even though he wasn’t a rabbi. :)

  • SilverRain May 16, 2007, 2:06 pm

    I don’t have a source, Alison, but I do have something to add. I don’t think that the bishop has any right to manage my affairs, though he certainly has stewardship over me. I don’t equate the two. To me, stewardship means he has access to heavenly inspiration on my behalf. That is as true for nonmembers as for members. It also means that he has a responsibility to help me when I need help – that’s also true of nonmembers, such as in the case of the Gulf flooding. I’ve never been a bishop, nor been in a family with a bishop, but that is my understanding.

  • mlinford May 16, 2007, 2:14 pm

    Alison,
    This is why I said that practically speaking, the stewardship isn’t the same. The bishop I am talking about was especially thinking in terms of welfare, but he also didn’t go out handing things out, either. He just realized that the responsibility was there at some level, even if practically he couldn’t do much about helping most everyone because he simply can’t do it and we don’t have the resources to help every person in our boundaries.

    I also think it would be a rare situation where someone who isn’t a member would be issued a calling…it would probably be someone who already has some sort of relationship with the ward. But I do think a bishop can receive such inspiration in appropriate (albethey rare) situations. My point was not to try to necessarily equilibrate the stewardship within the boundaries, but to say that there is some responsibility and it isn’t unheard of for a non-member to be involved somehow in a ward.

    And FWIW, I could go for the calling vs. appointment distinction for scouting. That makes sense to me. :)

  • Alison Moore Smith May 16, 2007, 2:21 pm

    I was using the dictionary definition of stewardship. I think it applies. The bishop certainly does manage the affairs of members, and not just the…ahem…extra-marital ones. :) He deals with those who ignore their callings, who won’t accept callings, who don’t pay tithing, who don’t attend church, who break the Word of Wisdom, who haven’t been sealed in the temple, who abuse their spouses/kids, who use porn.

    But we can switch to the Mormon.org definition, if you like, since I’ve discovered their handy-dandy glossary. :)

    Responsibility to administer or attend to the assignments one receives in a Church calling, or to take care of those things with which we are blessed from God, including families, neighbors, and even temporal blessings.

    I’m not sure that we disagree. There is some, manageable level of stewardship, but it’s not the same toward members as non-members. I would guess that in the case of gulf flooding, for example, the bishops knew the status of every single member in their wards, but doubt that any of them ever leaned the status of every resident of their ward boundaries.

  • mlinford May 16, 2007, 2:47 pm

    Yeah, I think we agree in essence. I just have found it interesting to hear of an exception here and there, but who am I, the love-the-rule person, to talk about exceptions! :shocked::tongue::wink::confused:

  • Lewis_Family May 16, 2007, 3:16 pm

    My two cents, and don’t take it as my feathers are ruffled, but I don’t agree with the demeaning of it being a lesser calling or questioning if it is a calling at all. But then again, I am in the program, and as bitter as I was about recieving the calling and had the harsh thoughts and words about it, I still knew that it was a calling and accepted because I was taught that you accept any calling unless physically unable to fulfill it. So yeah, my two cents on the distinction of scouts being a calling. Glory, sometimes I would love a sunday only calling, but then I realize it is my laziness and I stop whining.

  • mlinford May 16, 2007, 3:19 pm

    I think what we were saying is for members, it IS a calling, but since it also sometimes involves non-members, so we can’t generalize. I think scouting is something that a lot of people do because they are asked to and believe in accepting callings but not because it thrills them. That faith aspect is worth recognizing and deserves a pat or two on the back!

  • Alison Moore Smith May 16, 2007, 4:39 pm

    Lewis, just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting that the possibility of it not being a calling meant it was less important than a calling. It would just have different parameters surrounding it and so the discussion might take a different turn. For example, it leaves the positions much more open to those who really love scouting. Another example would be school teachers. Getting a great teacher who loves teaching can have a huge impact on your child–even if s/he isn’t “called” to the position.

    Holy cow, how many callings take as much time and can have a more positive impact than seminary teachers? Not many. Being an appointment rather than a calling doesn’t demean it or make it insignificant. :)

  • facethemusic May 16, 2007, 4:55 pm

    Tracy, the scoutmaster in the LDS troop in Boca Raton for a long time was a good friend of mine, a wonderful Jewish man named Bob Rubin. Everyone called him Rabbi Rubin–even though he wasn’t a rabbi. :)

    That’s really cool! Wow… I had no idea! Learn something new every day!

    I think of stewardship over non-members this way:
    The prophet isn’t just the prophet of the “church”, he’s the prophet for the entire earth– they just don’t know it! :)
    And Bishops/Stake presidents are the same way– they’re Bishop/Stake president for their entire boundaries. The non-members in their areas just don’t know/recognize that.
    Too bad ward budgets are figured by Sacrament meeting attendance and not the number of people in the ward boundaries. :jumping:

  • PlaneJain May 16, 2007, 5:03 pm

    Scouting is a subject I feel passionately dispassionate about. It is what it is: a time-honored, excellent program that some people enjoy more than others. I ?ve watched my oldest son get bitten by scouting and the merit badge bug and spent my share of time tracking down merit badge counselors who have had the time to help my son out. I ?ve seen him juggle sports and scout camp outs and school. I ?ve also received handmade gifts from him (leather works and basketweaving, anyone?) and benefitted from his responsibility, example to his younger siblings, and perspective. Did the BSA make him into who he is today? No, but in its vacuum, he could ?ve been a little more…something else. I ?ll probably be more proud of him than he is of himself when he gets his Eagle award. What an accomplishment, LDS-watered-down version or not.

    Not to get too long-winded, but I was asked to be a Cub Scout den leader a few months ago. Before then, when I looked at the scouting program I felt like an airplane passenger who gets a glance at the cockpit control board when embarking the plane. Wow, there ?s a lot of stuff in there–I ?m sure glad I don ?t have to fly the plane! ? Now, I realize that there are flight manuals, flight simulators, and of course traffic control to help pilots fly the planes, just like there are resources galore to assist those in scouting. (I just spent a while in the local scout council office and dropped $20 for some good baseball- practice reading.) I ?m excited to help the boys in my den earn their awards and hopefully they ?ll come away from the experience a little more understanding of the whole goal-making and achieving business that can be so useful in life.

    Alison, the only time I ?ve flown recently was when a very generous neighbor let my son fly his 4-seater Cessna above the valley as part of his aviation merit badge. Just wait…being a scout ?s mom has its definite advantages!

  • PlaneJain May 16, 2007, 5:14 pm

    P.S. I don’t really mind the plastic bag on the mailbox thing. I can either participate or not. Same with the Friends of Scouting thing, they’ll still put the flag up on patriotic holidays. The thing is, though, we are supposed to give and support the needy, and more often than not I don’t have time to do the research myself and welcome the lazy way of giving a little when someone else provides the conduit.

  • facethemusic May 16, 2007, 6:19 pm

    Hey PlaneJain! Welcome to the group.
    I don’t mind garbage bags to collect donations either. I think the complaint though, was a matter of methodology, and more so, that simply placing a garbage bag on peoples’ mailboxes and dropping off the donations somewhere does not meet the requirements for an Eagle project.
    But somehow some boys are getting away with simple little things like this, or like the school bag thing that Rebecca spoke of. The boys are required to document all the time spent on their project, who participated, how much time THEY spent, etc. The only way things like the ones described above could ever get someone an Eagle rank is if they lied in their documentation, or if they had a non-chalant board of review that’s not requiring the boys to go by the standards set for an Eagle project. This is part of what I meant earlier, about Scout leaders outside of the church getting ffrustrated with LDS troops, and how too often, our boys get ‘pushed’ through their ranks without having to really EARN them the way boys in non-LDS troops are required to do.
    That said- there ARE well run LDS troops. And certainly, there are many LDS scouts who really ARE doing what their supposed to do, and LDS Eagle Scouts who deserve every accolade that comes with such an achievement. Unfotunately, there are so many poorly run scout programs in the church, that we’ve sort of developed a bad reputation of letting boys slide through.

    Here’s a little Eagle info for those who may not know.
    There’s a list of things TO do when choosing a project, and things NOT to do when choosing a project. One of the things under NOT to do is this:

    Projects involving only routine labor normally done by volunteers
    (Your project must allow you to demonstrate creativity, planning, and leadership of others)

    Also, this explanation/description:

    Clothing drives, donation drives, and blood drives are worthy service projects, but you have to be careful to plan them to meet the expectations for an Eagle Scout Leadership Service project. Remember, your goal is to lead others as well as provide some service to the community. So you will want to do a project that requires a number of volunteers who will carry out the project under your leadership. The problem is easiest to describe with blood drives. As one Scouter says, “my secretary can organize a blood drive in 5 minutes – call the blood bank, arrange a date, and they’ll provide posters and show up with a crew. How does that show leadership?” Good question, and not one you want to try to justify in front of your board of review. One way to make this work is to scale up the project. Set an ambitious goal, above and beyond the typical drive. For example, organize a project to collect 100 units of blood. That’s 2-3 times more than might usually be collected. You’ll need volunteers to help promoting the project, processing the crowds, etc. You may have to coordinate more than one blood collecting crew. You get the idea – if you do an ordinary, easy collecting drive of some sort, you are certainly providing a service, but can you explain to your board of review how you demonstrated Eagle-quality leadership? Scale up the project so that they can see what kind of leader you are.)
    A few years ago, the BSA actually changed the name from Eagle Scout Service Project, to Eagle Scout Leadership Service project, to empahsize that Leadership, in planning, in directing others, and executing the project, are a huge part of the it.

  • Sharilee10 May 29, 2007, 7:37 am

    Again– very interesting thread! This one was very enlightening to me on many different levels. A couple of years ago I was called as the Scout Committee Chairperson. They told me outright that there was no program and they needed someone to organize a program for 4 wards that were combined. I confess, I have never had desires to be in scouts– ever. I was not thrilled, but the challenge of organizing a program from the ground up was a bit enticing and so I moved forward. For the first couple of months I worked tirelessly to get people in the positions. I enjoyed the reward of seeing a program come together more than anything to do with scouting, and after a few months when everything was together a Cub Master was called that is incredible, and I haven’t had to think about that calling since other than to send lots of gratitude and thanks and recognition her way to let her know how much I appreciate her. If someone asks me what my church calling is I confess I would say Gospel Doctrine Teacher, Visiting Teacher and probably even organist before I would remember scouting. It’s nice to have the program in the hands of someone who loves it does it well.

    As I read the thread, however, I couldn’t help thinking that it’s no wonder the scouting programs are in such a state with the attitude toward scouting that appears to be so prevalent. Wow! I was hard pressed to find anyone who had anything positive to say about it. Thank you to those few of you who defend and value the program. I wonder what the Relief Society and Young Women’s programs would be like if we all felt such disdain for them. Again– I’m as guilty as the rest of you in many ways. I hate going to the scout office and purchasing over-priced stuff. I kept thinking, though, of a story I was told by one of those devoted scout leaders. A bishop once went to a single mother and asked her what he do to help her. Her response was, “Please call your very best leader as the Scout Master!” As a single mother I can relate to that! I have 3 boys who need positive male role models, and I can’t be that for them! While it would be nice to have the YM program run more like the YW program, it wouldn’t really be normal. Think about it– is priesthood run like Relief Society? Not at all! Men and women are different– they do things differently. I remember being frustrated with the YM leader when I was the YW leader back in NY, and yet as I think about, he was developing a relationship with those boys the same as I was developing a relationship with my young ladies. I did it a female way, he did it the male way. In all honesty, I have to admit that my boys have developed a good relationship with their YM and Scout leaders, and the core of that relationship was done on the basketball court or out pulling weeds or doing some other service project. My 6′ 6″ and 6′ 4″ boys are much more open to ‘bonding’ in a sweaty basketball game or in some other casual setting than in a formal gospel discussion. My daughter, on the other hand, spends every free moment she has working on her personal progress and has practically finished the book– and she’s a new Beehive. That’s the difference in children- but my boys are every bit as spiritual and prepared. My boys know the scripures, have testimonies and make incredibly courageous choices in the face of temptation, just as my daughter does. I don’t know— maybe it isn’t right or wrong. Maybe it just is what it is.

    I certainly have a lot to think about. I’m not sure I will ever become the devoted scouter I see at Round Table who loves to make a fool of myself with the silly cheers, etc., and there is no doubt that if I had a choice I would be serving in the YW program instead of in scouting– but perhaps the lesson here is for me. You have all given me a great deal to think about. I loved the comment made about it being the Lord’s program or it wouldn’t still be around. I definitely believe that! Perhaps I need to re-assess my priorities and search wihin myself to find more passion for my calling in scouts. Heaven knows I have passion— for many things. Why not for scouts?

  • Alison Moore Smith May 29, 2007, 11:04 pm

    Posted By: Sharilee10As I read the thread, however, I couldn’t help thinking that it’s no wonder the scouting programs are in such a state with the attitude toward scouting that appears to be so prevalent.

    You could be misreading cause and effect. I’d say it’s the state of the program (i.e. awards for work substantively done by others) that has most strongly contributed to my attitude. :)

    While it would be nice to have the YM program run more like the YW program, it wouldn’t really be normal…I did it a female way, he did it the male way.

    I haven’t suggested that the programs should be identical, but that there should be some parity in ideology.

    This is actually one of my gripes. The idea that shooting hoops is the “male way” and, so, must be accommodated, and that the “female way,” obviously, is to do a group scripture cross-stitch. Or that the “female way” isn’t spiritual enough and so it can’t be accommodated.

    OR the “female way” won’t be accommodated because girls will still come, even if they don’t really like the activity. The guys, on the other hand, just won’t come unless they shoot hoops. So it’s better to get them there shooting hoops than not there at all. (Molly, remind you of anything?)

    I haven’t served in YW in about four years, but was a YW leader for…hm…ever. The YW were counseled, first, to use mutual night for Personal Progress and then later, to spend mutual specifically reinforce the Sunday lessons.

    The guys were goofing off and having fun (oh, yes, while bonding) and, frankly, the girls wanted to do the SAME THING. They didn’t want to do an “activity” about the importance of tithing or preparing to enter the temple. They didn’t want to do “journal jars” (again!) or highlight the Family Proclamation with corresponding value colors. Especially not while they could hear the guys in the cultural hall shooting hoops.

    My 6′ 6″ and 6′ 4″ boys are much more open to ‘bonding’ in a sweaty basketball game or in some other casual setting than in a formal gospel discussion.

    Agreed, but I think this is also true to a great extent for young women, minus the sweat. OK, a bunch of my YW have really liked sports, too, and would have been thrilled to do that most weeks. (I had one presidency who, literally, suggested a different sport every single week.) But others would have loved sleepovers (heck, the scouts have them monthly), shopping, makeovers, movie nights, etc. Girly stuff.

    My other problem with scouting, similarly has nothing to do with the program itself. It is the fact that the boys, from the time they are very young, have a really great program, with lots of infrastructure and books and events and uniforms and awards and incentives and camps and such. Activity Days are supposed to work on Faith in God. While the little scouts do fun, cool activities and camps. The young women’s program is substantively spiritually based while the young men’s is more focused on creating well-rounded youth.(Incidentally, the YW program was more like that when I was a kid, before the seven values were created and defined the goal-setting.)

    The programs aren’t even in the same ballpark and STILL the Primary girls and YW are severely limited in trying to make improvements. The BIG program has, as I said, leaders going door to door collected expected “donations.” The little program isn’t allowed to do that. In fact, by policy, the YW can only have one fundraiser per year for camp.

    As for the scouts being abolished within the church, if I remember correctly, the announcement was that the church would discontinue trying to incorporate scouting in NON-American congregations. I think we can count on it staying here as long as President Monson, for one, is around.

    To me, it’s a question of purpose. What is the purpose of the church youth program? It seems the answer might be markedly different depending on which gender you’re talking about. I’m of the mind that both programs should have similar goal outcomes. I was, however, encouraged with the revision of Duty to God, as I think that is, at least, more spiritually focused.

    Enough. Night before last I was on a red-eye from Hawaii. Last night I went to bed after 4:00 am yesterday (um…this morning) because instead of doing my work, I was posting here. I really need sleep tonight! Night all!

  • mlinford May 29, 2007, 11:53 pm

    young women’s program is substantively spiritually based while the young men’s is more focused on creating well-rounded youth.

    I can’t help but think that sometimes the focus is just on keeping the boys involved in church at some level. I’m not saying that basketball is the right approach; in fact, I would argue that there needs to be more spiritual focus for those boys or else at some point they will likely lose it and won’t be ready for missions, marriage, life. It takes leaders who get that, though. I think the programs can support more similarity between the YM and YW if the leaders know how to approach them the way I understand them to be designed to be.

  • SilverRain May 30, 2007, 6:43 am

    I also find it interesting that in application the YM program is focused on making things comfortable so the boys will come while the YW program is focused on forcing perfection and, in essence, driving the girls away if they don’t fit a certain mold.

    I suppose I still have a very large bone to pick with YW’s. I don’t think women and men are all that different when it comes to the potential for spirituality.

  • facethemusic May 30, 2007, 7:59 am

    while the YW program is focused on forcing perfection and, in essence, driving the girls away if they don’t fit a certain mold.

    oooooooooo….that strikes a serious nerve. The YW program is NOT a focus on forcing perfection. And it doesn’t “drive away” YW who don’t fit a particular “mold”. The only “mold” the YW prgram tries to TEACH and LEAD the YW to, is that of “righteous daughter of God”– period.
    YW who are nasty, put people down, act snooty, treat others unkindly, etc can certainly make other YW feel uncomfortable, causing them to not want to be there. And this happens in every organization, of every sort, religious and secular. It happens in schools, at places of employment, even at the playground.
    Leaders need to do what they can to squelch and heal any problems between YW, but the program itself does not try to “force perfection”, nor does it drive YW away.
    And just like some girls (who THINK they are righteous) will be snooty and push those who are visibly struggling off to side, girls who don’t live the gospel, who aren’t following church teachings, or don’t have the gospel practiced in their home because of inactive parents will often ASSUME things about the girls who DO following church teachings. They often assume that the “good girls” talk about them, look down on them, etc,when it isn’t necessarily the case. They often ostercize themselves.

  • facethemusic May 30, 2007, 8:00 am

    oops, not sure what I did wrong–I’ve done it before.. why do I keep doing that?

  • Sharilee10 May 30, 2007, 9:12 am

    Interesting thoughts to think about. I’m not involved in YM, YW right now, so I’m not sure EXACTLY what happens on a weekly basis, but the activities I have been involved in have been spiritually based for both the YM and YW; I guess technically BOTH our YM and YW get into the sports part of it because every week after the meetings ALL of the kids (including a bunch of the younger siblings) gather at the church for dodgeball and have a great time; and I feel like both my sons and daughter are extremely well-versed in the scriptures and the gospel and are learning the gospel principles. I can’t say if that is happening at home, Church on Sunday, youth activities, seminary, even YFP and PTSA and in other community settings or just in life– but I think it’s probably happening at all of them.

    I can understand the frustration at the different ways things are run. I guess all I’m saying is that it might be deeper than just the programs themselves. For example, my sons and daughter are just totally different little human beings. I don’t know if it’s gender or just personality, but both of my boys are pretty much homebodies by nature– go to school, go workout, come home and be home. My eldest became much more social this past during college, but he was still pretty much just working out with the USU team. My daughter, on the other hand, is as involved as I am or more– music, dance, PTA, YFP, YW, playing with friends, babysitting. She would NEVER be home without a group of friends if she had her choice.

    The other interesting thing this made me realize is that the ‘bonding’ I was referring to really isn’t happening during the YM activities. I guess that it is more members of the bishopric calling my boys and saying, “Hey, a bunch of us are going to the Church to the play ball. Wanna come join us?” than official YM activities. I have really appreciated that. I guess, technically, the boys spend more time outside of YM and scouts with their leaders than the girls do– and yet the girls are together all the time with each other. So I guess I don’t know. The other thing is that the situations are so different. My oldest has been the only young man in the ward since we moved here, my second oldes is one of 2 with only a few others a year younger or older. My daughter has a whole slew of girls her age. It makes the experience different and youth leaders have to work around that. For my boys it has actually had some advantages in that they get basically one on one gospel training at Church with some really incredible men. My oldest has had personalized missionary prep class with one of the neatest men in the ward.

    The one other comment I’ll make and then stop is that I have found my own teaching style has been extremely different as a Sunday School teacher than it has ever been as a R.S. teacher or as a Y.W. President. I have always gone the extra mile on making everything ‘look’ just right and have the perfect pictures and visuals and object lessons, etc. When I was called to teach Sunday School I found I wasn’t led to any of that stuff. It was really hard at first because I’m so used to it, but I always try to teach by the Spirit, and frankly, the Spirit rarely leads me to take anything besides my scriptures, manual, and maybe Jesus the Christ or Mortal Messiah. If I were planning the lesson myself I would be really kind of freaked out, but every week it works out really well. We have incredible gospel discussions and the Spirit does a better job teaching than any of my props could, so go figure. Of course I have a mixed class of men and women, so it’s not just a guy thing, but that particular group of people or that setting seems to be best served in a very different way than I have ever taught. The interesting thing is that a few months ago I was asked to teach a Relief Society lesson. I was thinking, “Good— and I don’t need all of the props anymore because I have learned to teach without them.” However, as I started preparing the lesson I was prompted to have this and that and the other and I ended up with several bags of things to carry over. It just is what it is, and I let the Spirit determine what takes place in the the various places I teach or lead. Frankly, that goes for non-church settings as well. When I work with youth in PTA or YFP or with adults in AIFL or PTC or am at Board of Trustee meetings with BHS or the Whittier Center I try to let the Spirit guide, and I hope and assume that the various youth leaders are doing the same.

    Interesting thoughts and views, everyone. It has made me take a deeper look at myself and my attitudes toward scouting and re-evaluate my own commitments

  • Alison Moore Smith May 30, 2007, 9:15 am

    I fixed it, Tracy. You are not correctly opening and *closing* your html tags. :)

    Posted By: SilverRainI also find it interesting that in application the YM program is focused on making things comfortable so the boys will come while the YW program is focused on forcing perfection and, in essence, driving the girls away if they don’t fit a certain mold.

    While Silver may have overstated the case, Tracy, but I think she’s spot on.

    I cannot even count the number of times I have heard–at ward councils, in planning, etc.–that the YM “just won’t come” if they have the same requirements that the YW do. They “can’t be expected” to hang out at CHURCH unless they get to play basketball. And, bishop’s quote still ringing in my ears from a decades-old BYC, “…the young men just aren’t going to do service projects.”

    So, the young women are CONSTANTLY called on to babysit for enrichment for free, to serve meals at ward parties, to reinforce their Sunday lessons on mutual night, etc. And the YM shoot hoops. Again. Because, hey, otherwise they wouldn’t come anyway.

    Did you see Michelle bring that up in the post right after my last one?

    I can’t help but think that sometimes the focus is just on keeping the boys involved in church at some level.

    Collectively, we simply do not accommodate the girls in the same way. We EXPECT them to simply buck up and be spiritually centered. No matter what the guys are doing in the next room.

    While in many ways I don’t think it’s as bad as it used to be, I can promise you that when I was a kid I felt like a HORRIBLE Mormon female. Perhaps “hopeless” is a better adjective. Do you know why? Because I didn’t like cooking, sewing, and crafts. There wasn’t just an expectation of spirituality (which I think is appropriate, at CHURCH, but that should be EVENLY expected of all genders), but of even interests and tastes. In other words, there was a “mold” that we were supposed to fit to be acceptable.

    Another blogging idea comes to mind…

  • Alison Moore Smith May 30, 2007, 9:19 am

    Actually, that thought of wildly different expectations reminds me of another thing that was drilled into us as kids in the heart of “Zion.” The YW were taught, ad naseum, that it was the woman’s job to make sure her boyfriend remained chaste. The guys just had too many hormones to be expected to withstand the temptation, so girls had to do it. Over and over and over. Ack!

    Again, girls had an ideal standard to uphold, the YM were given a pass.

    It made me absolutely insane even as a teen. I had enough trouble keeping my OWN hormones in check. There was no way I could take on someone else’s, too. Particularly someone I didn’t even have any stewardship over!

  • Sharilee10 May 30, 2007, 9:22 am

    Hmmm . . . interesting. And just last night my son went to help a family move. I guess it was just last week that my daughter helped clean up a cemetery. I guess I just hope that the youth leaders are following the spirit and doing their very best for each of my children and each of the youth in the ward, and I believe they are here in our ward.

    This new idea is a very interesting one. I can’ wait to go see the new blog. I’ll hold my thoughts . . . :-)

  • facethemusic May 30, 2007, 11:44 am

    I TOTALLY agree about YM activities and the whole basketball at every turn “otherwise they won’t come”- personally I think that’s nothing but seriously misguided leadership, and at the worst, an excuse for lazy leadership. But that’s not what I was objecting to anyway. And that doesn’t exist in every ward, though it may be pretty common. This is same point I was making before, it’s not the ‘program’ that’s faulty, it’s the leadership.
    This goes with your other points as well Ali, because I’ve been a member of a ward presidency, and have worked with a separate presidency, where they adopted the same attitude with the Young Women. “They won’t come if we do Personal Progress”, “They won’t come if we have ‘Book of Mormon Trivia’ night”. So everything was fun, fun, fun and spiritual things had virtually no place, other than an opening and closing prayer. I was completely against it, voiced my concerns, but ultimately it was the President’s decision.
    But again, this is a problem within the leadership, not the program. Just like the example you gave about being drilled into believing that it was your responsibility to make sure a young man was remaining chaste. That’s absolutely and positively absurd if it was actually worded that way. But that’s a leader teaching falsehoods, either unintentionally not being clear in what they mean, poor word choice, etc– OR– they were simply horribly wrong in their belief that men are just too stupid and moronic to control themselves and that the girl is responsible for HIS chastisty. They certainly shouldn’t have been teaching such nonsense– but that’s THEM not the program.
    Silver said that the YW program’s focus or goal was to “force perfection”, and drives YW away, both of which are completely untrue and unfounded. If a Young Woman feels like she’s being FORCED to be perfect, then it’s one of three things:
    1. The YW leader isn’t appropriately administering the program
    2. The YW leader isn’t getting the message or point of the program across effectively
    3. The girl herself is misinterpreting the program.

    But teaching girls to sew, to cook, how to effectively babysit, scrapbook, do crafts, etc is not meant to FORCE anyone into being stereotypically “girly” and fit into the mold of the stereotypically feminine woman, anymore than having them go camping in the woods for an entire week, with a bunch of ticks, snakes, and girls who haven’t bathed in a few days, or practicing volleyball or basketball for several weeks in row then playing in a tournament, is meant to FORCE them into acting like the stereotypical boy.
    Of course, the YW certainly DO participate in more of the stereotypical “girl” things than they do in athletics, camping, etc. But that doens’t mean that the program is trying to force anyone into a mold. There are girls who don’t like going camping, who hate it when basketball or volleyball season come around. But we ask them to participate. There are YM who are NOT good at sports, who aren’t very athletic and who’d rather do a service project, learn first aid, have a scripture chase, etc, who end up feeling like their activities aren’t really “geared” for them. But that doesn’t mean that the program is trying to force them into being macho athletic types. It simply reflects that the leadership needs to make sure that the activties are more equally balanced, and that the program in being implemented the way it was meant to be implemented.
    And if the programs are running the way they’re supposed to be, the YM and YW themselves are the ones who are planning the activities. The leaders aren’t the ones who are supposed to be choosing them. The youth presidency members, under the direction and guidance of the adult leaders are supposed to be choosing activities as directed in the handbook, and take into consideration the needs, strengths and weaknesses of their fellow YM and YW, and plan their activities accordingly.

  • SilverRain May 30, 2007, 12:35 pm

    Silver said that the YW program’s focus or goal was to “force perfection”, and drives YW away, both of which are completely untrue and unfounded. If a Young Woman feels like she’s being FORCED to be perfect, then it’s one of three things:
    1. The YW leader isn’t appropriately administering the program
    2. The YW leader isn’t getting the message or point of the program across effectively
    3. The girl herself is misinterpreting the program.

    Actually, it wasn’t the program itself I referred to, but the program in application, which is saying the same thing you are as far as leadership goes. Perhaps I should share a story in another discussion post to illustrate my point (since this is a definite threadjack.) Perhaps an actual article would be more in line . . . ?

  • mlinford May 30, 2007, 1:02 pm

    For what it’s worth, I feel the YM in my ward get a lot of spiritual focus in scouting and other places. My comment was not to make a collective statement about the program, but about SOME situations where leaders might either underestimate the YM or cater to a minimalist mentality. And maybe once in a while they have decided to do something like ball to reach out; each situation is probably different. I don’t think that is what is supposed to happen and to me that reflects more on leaders not getting it than on the real level of difference between young men and young women. I see our youth getting spiritual training, participating in service, etc. — both the YM and the YW. So, again, the application, as SilverRain is saying, is the problem, not the program in and of itself.

    So, as YW leaders, have any of us pushed back on the men who are taking a minimalist approach and helping them understand that if the boys don’t do more than ball, they won’t be ready for what lies ahead in life?

  • Lewis_Family May 30, 2007, 1:18 pm

    If you have, did they listen? I know it is a human nature kind of thing, but if someone tried to “tell” me how to do my calling, would I be the most receptive? And that is just me…

  • mlinford May 30, 2007, 4:12 pm

    I think that is what ward councils are for. I’m not talking about confrontationally calling someone on the carpet, but expressing concern in situations where such feedback might be appropriate. I also realize that I’m speaking in ideals and actually doing something like that and having it make a difference could be another story (I’m thinking of a situation a friend recently told me about where the responsibility for youth activities, etc. ends up resting more heavily on the women than the men and she is frustrated). Ah, the joys of working in a lay church. ;)

  • east-of-eden June 4, 2007, 3:08 pm

    I have very mixed feelings about Scouts and the scouting program in the Church. My dad is one of those fanatical Mormon scouters–he lives, eats and breaths scouts. So much so that sometimes growing up I felt that he loved the scout troop more than us. It was and still is very frustrating to my mom and to us that he will go off to scout things, and neglect his duties at home. The leadership of the ward and stake are no help either. We’ve had scout calls come on Thanksgving, Christmas and the day my mother got home from having a total knee replacment. It’s stupid that some of these men don’t get that not everyone is as excitied about the whole thing as they are!

    I can see how the principals of scoting are good–loyal, brave, honest, reverent, doing a good turn daily etc., I’ve really never seen these principles practiced in the boys of scouting age in my current ward. The leaders have a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude and it’s frustrating to see the young men run wild with little direction from the adults who are supposed to mentoring them. I think this is where I have the real problem with this program and it being “the Lord’s program for boys” I don’t see the principles put into practice. I also have a HUGE issuse with the fact that we recently had a sacrament meeting and the speakers all spoke on why it is important to donate to friends of scouting. I had to walk out of the meeting I was so bothered by it.

    As for boys doing Eagle Scout projects. The point is that they choose a project that will benefit the community and allow them to demonstrate leadership skills. If an adult did all the work this boy should not be receiving and award. I know my dad the fanatical scouter would have turned that project down in a heartbeat.

  • Rachel June 4, 2007, 5:02 pm

    You had a sacrament meeting where all the speakers spoke about donating to friends of scouting?! Holy cow!! I would have been tempted to walk out, too. I can totally see an annoucement at the beginning of the meeting, even from the bishop or another leader, encouraging members of the ward to donate. But every speaker? Yikes.

  • east-of-eden June 4, 2007, 10:52 pm

    Yes, it was Dry, um I mean, High Council Sunday, and the brother got up and said “The SP wants me to talk about friends of scouting today, and why we sould all donate.” No thanks. My very very DH kept me from throwing a hymn book at the stand before I left. I think if it’s that important then get a budget from the Church like the rest of the programs or have a fund raiser–but not in church! Anyway….I’ve got to quit on this subject or I will get mad again!

  • SilverRain June 5, 2007, 6:37 am

    Eden – that is why I hate the Scouting program. Part of my issue with it probably stems from the fact that I grew up overseas for a large section of my life. There, Boy Scouts had no relation to the Church (that I remember.) The church emphasis on Scouting is almost completely West Coast cultural. I will try not to get too passionate on the subject, as I know many disagree with me, but I feel that the Church has no place so completely and blatantly subsidizing a secular organization, especially when there is a perfectly good framework for boys within the church that is not getting enough support to function properly. I have definite issues with being hit up for money every other Sunday for a nondoctrinal program with which I disagree. I have definite issues that my perceived “activity status” in the Church is so heavily influenced by whether or not I buy into the Scouting program. I have definite issues that if I am “called” into the Scouts, I’m expected to accept that calling to be considered righteous. Quite frankly, any money that I have that can be donated is going to go into more worthwhile funds, such as fast offering, missionary or temple funds. Scouting is not salvational. It may be a “good” thing, but it is certainly not a “better” thing.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 5, 2007, 8:23 am

    Posted By: mlinfordthe responsibility for youth activities, etc. ends up resting more heavily on the women than the men

    This is a very common situation and has existed, most of the time, in every ward I’ve been in. When an activity is combined here is a regular scenario:

    YW in charge: planned activity with a particular focus, announced a few weeks ahead of time
    YM in charge: last minute some sports activity in implemented; YW leaders plan something that day because YM leaders say they forgot or didn’t plan; nothing happens

    east-of-eden, many welcomes to you!

    Posted By: east-of-edenThe leaders have a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude and it’s frustrating to see the young men run wild with little direction from the adults who are supposed to mentoring them.

    Oh, don’t even get me STARTED! Augh! I have heard countless stories about the horrors of scout camps: boys bullying in horrendous ways (depantsing (how do you spell that? I’ve never had cause to write about it) a minor example); boys urinating off the side of the tent and everywhere else; boy tying firecrackers to cats or any other animals they could catch and lighting them on fire. This is what makes men?

    I think if it’s that important then get a budget from the Church like the rest of the programs or have a fund raiser

    Yes, or have a fund-raiser LIKE THE YOUNG WOMEN HAVE TO. Or, at very least, have the stake presidency encourage everyone to DONATE to the YW and then send burly male leaders door to door collecting the “donation.”

  • east-of-eden June 5, 2007, 8:45 am

    Thanks Allison, I have just found this blog and I have read it all—love it! All of you sisters have such good perspectives and it’s been a nice read.

    My dad being the fanatical scouter has come home with horror stories from scout camp. Last year in fact one of the boys stabbed another boy and the sherrif had to come and charges had to be filed and it was messy. My own brothers also have horror stories from their times in scouts too, consequently they hate scouts, which is sad because if it’s done right it CAN be something good, but like I alluded to upthread it’s mostly WWE with an opening prayer.

    As far as money goes, I would much rather give to the temple fund or perpetual education fund too or missionary fund, I love missionary work!

    It’s funny, one night we were sitting in the foyer at the church waiting to see the bishop about something and the scouts were raging in the cultural hall. One of the leaders came out and was talking with us, and he in a somewhat joking manner commented that they needed a new Cub Scout leader and that this was why bishop wanted to see us. Well, I was not joking when I said, “Over my dead body.” He didn’t understand why I was not as fanatical about scouts as he was. If one day we have a son in the program, I I’ll be more willing to support it (just to make sure he doens’t get killed)

  • SilverRain June 5, 2007, 10:35 am

    You want a horror story – my cousin had an issue at camp. He was cooking and one of the boys came up and threw a quart jar of gunpowder into the fire. He had third-degree burns on his face and another boy died in intensive care. The kid who threw the ‘powder got off scot-free.

  • mlinford June 5, 2007, 2:30 pm

    SilverRain,

    Does it consider that we may be giving an anchor to boys who aren’t members of the Church? Once I had that (what felt to me like an aha — in talking with a former bishop of mine), it changed my whole view on the Church’s support of the program. Our prophets are not just prophets of the Church, although that is a key part of their stewardship. If scouting can help young men in the country grow up to be better men, maybe that is part of the motivation for staying with it even though we also have Duty to God. I realize it’s not a perfect program; I have struggled with it myself at times. But it seems to me if we are to trust our leaders, this might be one of those things to trust them on…maybe, just maybe there is more to it than meets the eye.

    One last thought – it’s still a choice to donate (not a requirement). :)

    SilverRain, that story is awful. I will say that one of the things about Scouts that I struggle with is the safety factor. (You don’t REALLY need to do high-risk activities to be men, do you?) Even Fathers and Sons outings scare me. (Ask me sometime about the last one where hubby almost lost son forever. Yikes.)

  • SilverRain June 5, 2007, 3:12 pm

    mlinford – If that is the reason we support Boy Scouts, my question would then be “Why don’t we support Girl Scouts?” (or something similar.) Surely there are non-LDS girls out there who could use an anchor?

    And the “support the leadership” answer is why I don’t actively speak out against Boy Scouts in my ward. The best I can do is keep my mouth shut.

  • Lewis_Family June 5, 2007, 9:25 pm

    Girl scouts allows gay leaders, boy scouts is quite strict on being “morally straight.” I know that first hand because I wasn’t allowed to be in girl scouts for that reason and also because they wouldn’t allow meetings to open and close with a prayer.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 5, 2007, 9:31 pm

    I don’t know much about the current state of the Girl Scouts, but I do know that the church discouraged participation when I was only five or six, in 1969 or so. I’m pretty sure at the time it wasn’t due to rampant lesbianism in the ranks.

  • Lewis_Family June 5, 2007, 9:32 pm

    I do agree though on the leadership, they need to worry more about safety instead of trying to be the boys’ friend. My dad went to every scout event, my mom to every yw and youth conference. We had issues with my bro because he was a bigger kid( by 14 he was 6foot 4 and about 240 lbs ), the smaller boys would want to take him on to prove something of theirselves or whatever the psychological reason might have been. I remember one time a boy kept spitting on my bro trying to pick a fight, so after my bro couldn’t get him to stop he told my dad. My dad asked him why he was doing that, the little turd answered back it was a fun thing to do. So my dad, being the unconventinal ( sp? ) teacher he is, asked the boy if it would be ok if he peed on him in the middle of the night, afterall it could be fun. The boy was like no, that would be gross, so my dad said so is spitting so knock it off before I get a bigger kid to knock you out ( that was always his threat, he would go get a bigger minor to take care of any of our bully problems, don’t worry he never had to :smile: ) So yes, it doesn’t help that leaders are busy trying to be friends, it doesn’t help that parents don’t discipline their kids and teach them manners before sending them off to scouts.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 5, 2007, 9:35 pm

    Posted By: Lewis_Family…the little turd…

    I’m sorry, I must be tired, but I couldn’t stop laughing at this.

  • Lewis_Family June 5, 2007, 9:39 pm

    Sorry, it is late here too, plus my babe has been sick last few days, so though lack of sleep here I still sit because I am to the point of too tired to sleep, if that makes sense…

  • facethemusic June 6, 2007, 7:38 am

    I’m pretty sure at the time it wasn’t due to rampant lesbianism in the ranks.

    Really? I was in Girl Scouts for awhile- and I remember when my mother pulled me out.
    The reason (that I knew of) was because it was very career focused. They talked alot about getting careers, planning for them etc, and when I said I wanted to stay home and be a mom, I got a lot of flack from my leaders about neededing to do more than just stay home and change diapers all day.

  • facethemusic June 6, 2007, 7:49 am

    Oh– I just realized you said it WASN’T due to rampant lesbianism….
    ooops, I read that wrong. I thought you said it WAS!

  • mlinford June 6, 2007, 11:21 pm

    I don’t know a lot about Girl Scouts, but I suspect there are reasons it doesn’t receive the same support. The two reasons listed seem like reasonable reasons not to support it via the Church. I think the Church’s support helps keep an organization focused on basic moral and family values intact. That’s a big deal in today’s society, esp. when it has such a potential effect on youth.

  • Sharilee10 June 9, 2007, 4:48 pm

    Such interesting comments. It’s one of those threads that breaks my heart and hits home at the same time. Go figure— I can’t help wondering what my thoughts would be if one of my current callings wasn’t Committee Chair in the Cub Scouts. Is that the only reason it breaks my heart to see such negative feelings toward it? If so, what does that say about me?

    Anyway— this is one of those that I’m going to have stick with SilverRain on and just know that since the Church leadership, right up to the prophet, is supportive and has not yet received revelation that the Church should separate from the scouting program, I will be supportive out of mere faith, if not with the passion and enthusiasm that I attack every other activity in my life with! I probably still won’t be excited about helping with the ‘Friends of Scouting’ drive . . . and after reading this blog I may struggle with it even more!! :-) Please remember that those coming to your door may feel the same way as you do, but if it’s their calling, it’s their calling! :-)

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2007, 10:01 am

    Posted By: Sharilee10I’m going to have stick with SilverRain on and just know that since the Church leadership, right up to the prophet, is supportive and has not yet received revelation that the Church should separate from the scouting program, I will be supportive out of mere faith, if not with the passion and enthusiasm that I attack every other activity in my life with!

    Why would this be seen as only being supportive of Silver? You’ll notice I did pay the “voluntary” donation. And, if the program is still in place when my boys are old enough (I’m not holding my breath on the hopes it won’t be), my boys will be there. I’m not sure how that would prevent us from discussing problems and inequities in the administration of the programs.

    But when my boys join, you can bet they won’t do the kind of Eagle project I described.

  • Sharilee10 June 10, 2007, 5:55 pm

    Sorry, Alison– I didn’t mean to insinuate you weren’t. I was just saying that my thoughts go along with Silver’s thoughts on this. I could have used different punctuation to send the message more effectively– my apologies.

    Anyway– I know you well enough to know that you are supportive of Church leadership. I am also grateful for women like you and so many us that I have seen in this blog who definitely have passion about life and aren’t afraid to talk about what we see and think and feel. Can you imagine what life would be like if no one did!?!

  • Rachel June 10, 2007, 10:48 pm

    Okay, this is kind of a departure, but as I discussed this topic with my dh, he reminded me that, in general, in the wards we’ve been in since we’ve been married, the women and girls receive more $$ (many times more) than the men and boys for activities, dinners, and other events, with the exeption of the scout camp vs. girls camp. Although I was all fired up about my frustration in the difference of the scouting program and the young women program, he reminded me that, in our ward, the young women choose their activities, actively plan what they want to do, and quite often it is crafts or fun activities or even sports (the Beehives are learning to play tennis this week), and not just service projects and spiritual activities. I was focusing on what the Bishop has been emphasizing to us as leaders, but he was only emphasizing spiritual and/or service activities (“at least once a month, sisters”) because the girls have been doing so many “fun” things.

    Feeling humble . . . and realizing that I shouldn’t complain when, really “my” girls have it so good.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 10, 2007, 11:07 pm

    Now, THAT is a local issue, eh? In my ward both the RS and the priesthood quorums have relatively close budgets. Both actually host fairly equal parties, events. But one year when I was RS president I had so much money it was stunning. The bishop who called me was put into the stake presidency and the new bishop just guessed at the amount. I ended up (one year) with about four times what any other ward RS in our stake got. Total windfall. Changed drastically the next year, but it was fun. (Sorry you missed that, Sharilee!)

    FWIW, I’ve never been in a ward where the YW got more than the YM, or even close, either.

    You bring up a good point about YW activities, but what I’m speaking to is what the general leadership has TOLD us to do. This is policy that changes, but the written expectation usually varies widely. The current stuff comes most often from the annual open houses on Temple Square. I haven’t attended in a couple of years, but the last ones I went to stressed that, YES, the YW are supposed to participate in planning them, but they weren’t just open to do whatever they wanted. They were specifically supposed to focus on personal progress at one point and then, when they made the change to make persona progress “truly personal” and more of a family endeavor, it was to be an “extension” of the Sunday lesson. If that has changed and they are officially more fellowship and activity oriented like the YM mutual night, then that’s very cool! If, on the other hand, your ward just isn’t following the current counsel (or didn’t get it or whatever), then…well, cool for you! ;D

  • Rachel June 10, 2007, 11:23 pm

    You’re right, that is more of a local “blessing,” while what we have been discussing is more of a policy issue. Still, having not had much experience outside of that, I’m feeling more humble.

  • mlinford June 11, 2007, 12:48 am

    Now, THAT is a local issue, eh? In my ward both the RS and the priesthood quorums have relatively close budgets.

    The men actually DO things? Ah, well, sister, it would be funny to lay out some of these things and see how, in the end, I suppose the averages would be about equal across the board. I am certain the RS gets looooots more moola in our ward. Either that or the men are pocketing the money personally. :)

  • mlinford June 11, 2007, 1:10 am

    Alison,
    Do you know what the YM counsel is? Do you see counsel that tells them they can just have activities and basketball and schmoozing together? I wondered if it really is that different (I haven’t been with the youth for several years.)

    So I went and read this talk at the annual open house this year for young men and you might see what I think is that difference between the doctrine and the practice, and that there isn’t some widely different standard or approach preached for the YM.

    Listen to this clip alone, that nearly gave me chills. The vision that our general leaders have for these programs is so grand, so significant. It frankly ticks me off that local leaders dont’ get it, but it’s not that the doctrine isn’t there.

    Brethren, never before in the history of the world has there been a greater need for the brethren of the priesthood of God, young and old, to stand up and take their place. It is time for men of the Church to become men of Christ; for young men of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood to stand up for what they know to be true; for the quorums of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood to be organized, vitalized, and to take seriously the stanza:

    Rise up, O men of God,
    The church for you doth wait,
    Her strength unequal to her task;
    Rise up, and make her great!

    And this came later:

    In a strong quorum, I would also expect that there would be a functioning activity program that helps young men of the Aaronic Priesthood apply the principles of the gospel taught on Sunday.

    Now you could take issue with the fact that they want scouting to help teach character and such as part of that (it takes good leaders to magnify gospel principles in the scouting program), but you can’t argue that they have different expectations for what the goals are for YM and YW. When I was a YW leader, EVERYTHING we did I wanted to be with that goal in mind. But good heavens, there are so many fun ways to do that. You don’t have to have activities with scriptures in hand to be reinforcing gospel principles. Again, I think so much will depend on the vision and understanding of the local leaders. The mandate for both YM and YW seem very, very similar, if not essentially identical.

    Heres’s a bit more:

    Brethren, it is vital that we place a priority on vitalizing the quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood….We must help develop strong, spiritual, qualified, and well-prepared young men of the Aaronic Priesthood….

    A number of months ago, I asked a young woman [aha! asking a young WOMAN for her input about what the YM should be doing!!] I know what she would suggest to help young men become strong and effective missionaries. Her answer was immediate and blunt as she said, Well, to start with, they could pull up their pants! ? I spoke with another very attractive high-school-aged young woman just a week ago and asked her a similar question focused on the issue of young men ?s dress. She said, and she has given me permission to quote her, Boys are nuts if they think it is impressive for everyone to see their underwear?and more. To me, and to all the girls I know at school, it is just gross! ? [AHA! Modesty is not just taught to young women (I know this hasn’t been brought up here but it’s a complaint I have heard about an alleged example of unfair treatment/unbalanced approaches.) He actually goes on about modesty and dress for several paragraphs.]

    OK, since I think this is a great example of the “doctrine” — the standard for YM programs, I’m gonna include a bit more.

    Next, if our young men are to rise up, they must learn to work hard. Elder Donald Keyes once told me that his father used to say, Work is doing something that you really don ?t want to do and sticking with it until it ?s finished. ? I like this definition. If these young men are to stand as strong, well-prepared missionaries, husbands, and fathers, they must learn to work hard or they will not make it.

    Will basketball and activities just for the sake of getting together accomplish this? Nope.

    And finally, and probably most importantly, we need to help these young men of the Aaronic Priesthood develop faith in the living God, to have and recognize spiritual experiences while yet in their youth, and to understand what it is to pray and then get up and work. There will be times when the rising generation, just as for all generations before, will feel so overwhelmed that they will wonder if they can go on. It is during these times that youth must have sufficient spiritual reserve so that when they have no place else to turn, they will fall on their knees and pray for divine guidance.

    In those moments when our youth feel overwhelmed and unable to accomplish their divine task, they must know to whom they can go for peace and solace and comfort. They must know how to come unto Him. They must have, deep in their souls, the faith of the ancients that has been born of many hours of humble prayer, searching scripture study, and unselfish service. (See Where Can I Turn for Peace? ? Hymns, no. 129.)

    In the midst of all of our activities designed to strengthen and retain our young men and to teach them character values and life skills, there must be priesthood purpose and spiritual enrichment. Youth must know to whom it is that they can go for forgiveness, for direction, and for peace. And they must be prepared in such a way that they, for the most part, choose the right the first time, and not spend their entire lives backtracking and making up for lost opportunities and for poor decisions made early in their lives.

    Seminary can help. Sunday School can support. But it is primarily in their homes and in the quorums of the Aaronic Priesthood that they will learn those timeless and divine principles that will keep them on the straight and narrow path and help prepare them for righteous lives of service in the mission field, as husbands and fathers, and as future leaders of the Church.

    It is my prayer that as we strive to build the greatest generation ever, that we will be focused on (1) becoming prepared, devoted leaders; (2) supporting and helping to build strong families; (3) building strong, united quorums; and (4) preparing our young men of the Aaronic Priesthood to become strong, spiritual, qualified, and well-prepared men.

    I think this is fantastic, and confirms to me that the YM program really expects a lot more than it sounds like some of us have seen. (It also tells me it’s important not to necessarily extrapolate that what we see is what should be.) So, again, I’m gonna go back to my “a lot of these things are local problems” mantra that I’ve been chanting lately. I still think we shouldn’t be surprised to see some differences between YM and YW, but I think any eggregious ones are lack of good vision and leadership at the local level, not at the general level.

    So I say, “Rise up, o youth leaders of the Church and get with the program!!!” :)

  • SilverRain June 11, 2007, 6:24 am

    That is good to hear, mlinford. If the “local problems” are prevalent, what can be done to change them? How can we surmount the cultural bias?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 11, 2007, 10:57 am

    Posted By: mlinfordThe men actually DO things?

    They didn’t when I moved here, but when Rob Durrant (very fun, enthusiastic guy) was called as HP group leader, he wanted to party. :) He asked and he received. He started by hosting ice cream socials after temple night and expanded to dinners (yes, with assignments filled by mostly women…) The next two group leaders have followed suit. We’ve hosted two or three quorum parties at our house. Last year we hosted a dutch oven cookoff and the gave prizes to the winners like dinner certificates to restaurants and movie tickets.

    This Wednesday the quorum is having the second annual Dutch Oven cookoff. It’s particularly noteworthy because with the cookoffs they actually do NOT ask/expect the WIVES to cook. :) I’m am SO there.

    Posted By: mlinfordyou can’t argue that they have different expectations for what thegoalsare for YM and YW.

    Actually I think you can. Having an activity set to reinforce a Sunday lesson, IMO, doesn’t give nearly the same flexibility as scouting. Scouting isn’t a program that teaches only or even mostly spiritual principles–as the YW Sunday lessons do. It teaches how to lash a latrine, for heaven’s sake!

    I don’t disagree with what you wrote, but I’m talking about the policy of implementation. On Sundays the YW and YM have similar spiritually-based lessons. Unless things have changed, the YM generally do scouts on mutual night. The YW do…more YW.

    So, on weekend nights, the YW are reinforcing the Sunday lesson on tithing, journals, scripture study, faith, fasting, etc. The YM are working on backpacking, archery, cinematography, fishing, art, gardening, genealogy, pioneering, skiing, stamp collecting, space exploration—with a whole slew of camps, awards, badges, etc.

    Now, when I was a YW, the personal progress program was new. We did it a lot on mutual night (not always) and it was similar to scouting (without all the fun, fancy stuff) in that it focused on creating a well-rounded YW. It had an area on cultural arts, physical fitness, education, etc. So you could do activities to support it in the same kinds of variety that you could with scouts. We didn’t get the awards and banquets, but we did get one gold-tone pendant at the end of each two-year class program if we did everything. (Whoop!) Then, at the end of six years we didn’t get a court of honor, but we did get a certificate (sometimes in sacrament meeting) with our choice of another gold-tone necklace or a “swirly girl” statuette. (I chose the latter.)

    Sometime between my graduation (1982) and the first time I was called to YW (1991), the program had added the seven values and changed the focus to include goals on the values, which are almost entirely spiritually based. But, as I said, specifically working on personal progress at mutual was discouraged about four years ago (?) and it was supposed to, as the general presidency said, “be PERSONAL progress.” (Good idea for more meaningful activities, I think.)

    Truth is, I think BOTH kinds of programs can be beneficial…the more spiritual focus and the more well-rounded focus. The problem I had (and we often encountered in trying to plan the youth activities) was that the YW didn’t want to have the more narrow focus BECAUSE the YM were, shooting hoops. (In case you’re wondering, I never, ever, in my life, expressed my personal concerns to the girls. Ever.)

    FWIW, if the YM are now supposed to reinforce their SUNDAY lessons on mutual night, instead of doing scouts, then my only…ahem…discussion point…is that the Personal Progress program is marginalized next to the Scouting program. (And, back to the article, the scouts are doing way too many” projects” that include collecting stuff from ward members and giving it to someone.)

    Good question, Silver.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 19, 2009, 12:13 pm

    Last weekend I got another note on my door, reminiscent of this thread. It’s from the ward in American Fork I live in, not the ward in Lindon I attend. Here is what it says:

    Eagle Project
    I’m collecting books, DVD’s, and games (board and card), for the Slate Canyon Youth Detention Center in Provo.
    These items will benefit kids ages 12-17.
    We will be collecting these items on Sat. May 16th and ask that you have donations on your porch by 8:30 a.m. to be picked up.

    We didn’t leave anything out (not so much on principle, but because we’ve gone regularly to DI since the move) and still the boys came to our door TWICE asking what we were going to give them.

  • heather May 19, 2009, 1:59 pm

    This thread is one that I have been itching to read and even start myself. I have four brothers (all of whom are eagle scouts). All four of them would have rather eaten wallpaper off the walls than do the “big” project. All my life I watched boys do the scouting thing. Then I married Mr. Anti-scout. In fact, when we first moved here, the first thing they did was put him in as the scout master and 2nd counselor in YM. (Anyone heard of doing both???) Anyways, when he attended a round table once, a high-ranking scout leader told all attending that scouts trumped his mission experience. (OY???) Then they had everyone in the room take turns commenting about their scouting experiences and how far they made it (can’t you just feel the arrogance in the room). When they got to my husband he sarcastically said…. “I never made it very far in scouts…. and I hope when I die, and it’s time to enter those gates I will plead and ask that all my scouting sins will be forgiven because I know it was more important than my mission that brought hundreds of people to the gospel. ” He said you could have dropped a pin and it would have broken the sound barrier.

    To this day, he still gets funny looks by those men. My little 8 year old is in scouts now….. HE LOVES LOVES LOVES it. He lights up every time you mention the word. It really is a good thing for kids who like to serve (properly) and it encourages family involvment. You have to give credit for that. It gives some boys a level of accomplishment. As far as Eagle scout projects, Do away with them, fly these boys to war-stricken countries and have them see what real self-less service is and work their fingers to the bone to help them see the real effects of their hard work. The latest project I saw was a boy helping someone install sod for a dog park. I bet there was a lot of personal growth there!!!!!

  • heather May 19, 2009, 2:38 pm

    Posted By: heatherThis thread is one that I have been itching to read and even start myself. I have four brothers (all of whom are eagle scouts). All four of them would have rather eaten wallpaper off the walls than do the “big” project. All my life I watched boys do the scouting thing. Then I married Mr. Anti-scout. In fact, when we first moved here, the first thing they did was put him in as the scout master and 2nd counselor in YM. (Anyone heard of doing both???) Anyways, when he attended a round table once, a high-ranking scout leader told all attending that scouts trumped his mission experience. (OY???) Then they had everyone in the room take turns commenting about their scouting experiences and how far they made it (can’t you just feel the arrogance in the room). When they got to my husband he sarcastically said…. “I never made it very far in scouts…. and I hope when I die, and it’s time to enter those gates I will plead and ask that all my scouting sins will be forgiven because I know it was more important than my mission that brought hundreds of people to the gospel. ” He said you could have dropped a pin and it would have broken the sound barrier.

    To this day, he still gets funny looks by those men. My little 8 year old is in scouts now….. HE LOVES LOVES LOVES it. He lights up every time you mention the word. It really is a good thing for kids who like to serve (properly) and it encourages family involvment. You have to give credit for that. It gives some boys a level of accomplishment. As far as Eagle scout projects, Do away with them, fly these boys to war-stricken countries and have them see what real self-less service is and work their fingers to the bone to help them see the real effects of their hard work. The latest project I saw was a boy helping someone install sod for a dog park. I bet there was a lot of personal growth there!!!!!

  • heather May 19, 2009, 2:39 pm

    hey! What just happened? O meant to edit not color it!

  • agardner May 19, 2009, 2:47 pm

    Heather, your post cracked me up. You’ll have to tell your husband that his comments in the scouts-are-the-best meeting brightened my day.

    BTW, I don’t think it’s all that uncommon for a counselor in YM to also be scout leader. I’ve seen that happen several times…maybe more often than not?

    Having said that, I’m very glad that your son is enjoying scouts. I think it definitely fills a need for boys, at least some boys. I do think that scouters take themselves entirely too seriously though. I mean, really, scouting trumps mission experience? Hmmm…

  • jennycherie May 19, 2009, 3:28 pm

    Posted By: heatheras the scout master and 2nd counselor in YM. (Anyone heard of doing both???)

    yes – it happens here a lot!

    Posted By: Alison Moore Smithstill the boys came to our door TWICE asking what we were going to give them.

    yikes! now that’s aggravating!

  • Alison Moore Smith May 19, 2009, 3:31 pm

    heather, I virtually kiss your husband. In a totally platonic way, of course.

    My son loves Cubs, too. Really loves it.

  • facethemusic May 19, 2009, 6:38 pm

    the first thing they did was put him in as the scout master and 2nd counselor in YM. (Anyone heard of doing both???)

    Actually, that’s normal outside of areas highly populated by LDS members. My husband was Young Men’s President AND Scoutmaster.

    fly these boys to war-stricken countries and have them see what real self-less service is and work their fingers to the bone to help them see the real effects of their hard work. The latest project I saw was a boy helping someone install sod for a dog park. I bet there was a lot of personal growth there!!!!!

    AMEN!!! It seems to me that most boys (though certainly not all) try to find the simplest, least time consuming, least effort required projects they can possibly find. They just want to be able to say they “did it”. REAL purpose and genuine intent is sorely lacking for the most part.

    Although– to be fair, I could say the same thing for most of the Young Women when it comes to Personal Progress projects.

  • heather May 19, 2009, 9:33 pm

    agardner and alison, I will send your good tidings to my hubby. I think he will be happy to know there are a few sane people out there who feel the same way he does. He’s a cute boy and pretty sharp you know but he sure has some big opinions. I sometimes worry about what he’ll say next and I’ll admit it’s all funny and serious at the same time. He’s quite entertaining. Although, he earns a lot of respect from some people for being that way. My 2 year old is that way…. oh dear!

  • Alison Moore Smith May 28, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Update: This week I got another one of these loverly fliers. For a kid who’s not in my ward and doesn’t live in my neighborhood. It says:

    Jimmy Bob’s Eagle Project!

    Who it’s for: description of the recipient.

    What we need you to do: refers to back page full of stuff I’m supposed to donate.

    Name, address, blah, blah, blah.

    Can I say again: taking stuff I buy to the organization of your choice is not an eagle project.
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