Tuesday, April 10, 2012


In many recent training meetings (Varsity Leaders Specific Training and multiple Varsity Huddles) I have heard "complaints" from Coaches and Assistant Coaches that Bishops are essentially binding the hands of Scout leaders in things like:
  • Fundraising
  • High Adventure
  • Where and when they go to Scout Camp
  • "Overriding" their authority when it comes to who earns what and when.
So I asked a "retired" Bishop who is (in my opinion) a younger Bishop when he served (he is about my age).  He was just released as Bishop in another part of the country and is currently serving as my Young Men's President.  I asked him the following questions and his responses are in blue.
  • What can a Bishop do to ensure the Scouting Program(s) in his Ward are quality programs?  Promote leaders getting trained.  Leaving leaders in their callings for many years if possible.
  • What does a Bishop look for in a good Scouting leader?  You want your strongest men working in scouts and Young Men's.  Returned missionaries, strong testimonies, men who are solid in the faith and good examples.  You want guys who mesh well and connect with the boys.  
  • What should a Bishop never do in relation to Scouting in his ward?  Minimize the importance of scouts through word or action.  Sometimes bishops don't catch the vision of scouting and they just try to call someone so that they can say the position is filled.
  • What should a Bishop always do in relation to Scouting in his ward?  Provide the support needed.  Allow latitude to run the program to suit the boys rather than strictly by the letter of the rules.
  • If a Scout leader ever felt like a Bishop was doing something to hinder Scouting, what should the Scout leader do?  First talk to the bishop and express concerns.  Just because the scout leader thought the bishop was hindering the program it's usually because the scout leader does not have as much understanding in relation to the bishop's perspective.   There are usually reasons why the bishop is doing what he is doing.  I always welcomed a difference of opinion.  If any leader came to me with concerns and wanted to do something different than what I had expressed or encouraged we were always able to talk if out to the satisfaction of all parties.  Usually once a bishop explains his reasons or thought process it allows the other leaders to understand the position regardless whether they agreed or not.  In the end it is the bishop who has to answer for what is done or not in the ward. 
  • What, as a Bishop, do you wish every Scout leader would know?  If we always do everything through the perspective that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father and the ultimate goal is to help His children return to him after this life.  This helps to not get so caught up in the minutiae of the steps and processes but helping that boy gain the skills and traits needed to be successful in life and in their family.
  • How would a Bishop encourage Scout leaders to get their training?  Talk it up, talk it up, talk it up.  Kind of like in the corporate world, your boss helps you set objectives each year.  A bishop could help the leaders set the dates as to when training will take place.  That what gets measured gets done!  


Eric the Half-bee said...

It's good to see this from the perspective of someone who's been there, but can look at it from a distance at the same time.

Fishgutts said...

I think after each Bishop is released they should serve in the YM. Maybe even before. They might understand the frustration and issues Scout leaders and YM Presidencies have.